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Major British media divided over EU Referendum

By Angus McNeice in London ( Updated: 2016-06-21 01:07

Major British media divided over EU Referendum

Left: Cover of The Economist. Right: Cover of The Spectator. [Photo/Agencies]

British newspapers and magazines are divided over the European Union referendum questions, as the heavyweight Sunday papers expressed their views, joining a host of leading daily newspapers and magazines that weighed in with their take on Brexit in editorials published last week.

Much like the opinion polls leading up to Thursday's historic vote, media outlets are split roughly down the middle as to whether Britain should remain in the European Union. Many publications came out with predictable stances given their respective political leanings and well-documented opinions on the EU, though there were some surprises.

Both The Sunday Times and The Mail on Sunday ran contrary to their daily sister papers — The Times and The Daily Mail respectively.

Opposing sibling publication the Daily Mail's pro-Brexit stance, The Mail on Sunday came out in support of the Remain camp.

"Britain would be compelled to stand and fight alone for its existence in a hard, globalised world where those who cannot survive on their wits quickly fall behind," the paper said in an editorial on Sunday. "The single-minded leaders of the Leave campaign contend that the issue is not, in the end, economic, but that they value independence so highly they are ready to pay any price for it."

The Sunday Times meanwhile backed the Leave campaign, expressing concerns over sovereignty, security and the EU's sluggish economic recovery post-recession.

"In the event of Brexit, Brussels may pursue a 'global security strategy,' perhaps including an EU army without a UK veto," the editorial read on Sunday. "We must keep out. It is NATO that guarantees our security."

This view was at odds with associated publication The Times, which urged readers on Friday to vote "In" due to the "unknown and alarming consequences" a Brexit may entail.

The Times and Sunday Times are owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, and the media magnate is reported to support Leave campaign. Times editor John Witherow's decision to run the editorial is alleged to have followed several heated staff meetings.

On Tuesday last week The Sun, the paper with the widest print circulation in the UK that also falls under the News Corp umbrella, wrote that its support of Brexit was consistent with its "relentless" campaign "against the ever-expanding superstate."

The Observer — the Guardian's associated Sunday paper — predictably threw itself behind the Remain vote, saying that the EU was a force for good "despite its many flaws."

The Daily Telegraph, a consistent critic of the EU, is in favour of leaving and counts leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson amongst its regular columnists.

Weekly magazine The Spectator ran a blistering critique of the European Union on Saturday, while The Economist and the The New Statesman both backed Remain, the latter stating that: "Almost all economists forecast that Britain would suffer an immediate shock, and reduced growth and living standards in the long term."

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