In a surprise move, the Mail on Sunday has backed the Remain campaign in the fast-approaching EU referendum, while the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Times have come out in favour of a Brexit from the EU.
In a two-page editorial, the Mail On Sunday warned it is “not the time to risk the peace and prosperity” of the UK, and said that “by any calculation” Britain would inevitably to face higher tariffs, turmoil in the financial markets and a period of uncertainty if it was to leave the EU on June 23.
It said in Britain we “no longer have the power or the wealth which once allowed us to live in splendid isolation” and accused Brexit campaigners who believed the UK would prosper outside of the EU as “selling a dangerous illusion”.
It was a move that surprised many considering the paper’s largely pro-Brexit coverage of the referendum, most notably by its sister paper the Daily Mail. The Daily Mail has yet to declare for either side in the referendum.
The Observer also published an editorial in favour of remaining in the EU, in article headlined: “For an international, liberal and open Britain, we need to be part of the EU.”
The editorial read: “Despite its many flaws, this paper believes the EU has, without question, been a force for good.
“Remaining in the EU will not magically eliminate the challenges Britain faces in the years to come. But if we choose to do so, it will keep Britain at the heart of reforming the European project so that the nations of Europe are together better equipped to face them.”
Meanwhile the Sunday Times has come out for Brexit, opposing its daily counterpart The Times, which yesterday came out as backing Remain. It comes in the same week as sister newspaper the Sun declared its support for Leave campaigners.
The Sunday Telegraph has also come out in favour of Brexit, declaring that the EU “belongs to the past”.
In an editorial it said: “On balance, however, we believe the Leave campaign has articulated an ambitious vision for Britain as an independent nation, once again free to make its own decisions. Remain, by contrast, has resorted to grim pessimism.
“Without the EU, they imply, the UK would be diminished and a diplomatic pariah, scrabbling to put together trade agreements while our economy flounders.”
It added: “There is a world beyond Europe that the Remain camp simply ignores. A world that offers enormous opportunities for Britain to be a global player once more.
“The case for leaving is not negative and jingoistic. It is optimistic and hopeful. It is the case for a strong, independent and outward-looking Britain.”