Winston Churchill has been evoked many times in the Brexit debate ahead of the referendum to be held on 23 June 2016. Both the Remain and Leave camps have declared Churchill would have supported their position. However, as a BBC article noted, “Churchill, it is important to say, died 51 years ago and would have had to have lived to the age 141 to be able to vote in next month’s referendum.”
In his speech at the British Museum on Monday Prime Minister David Cameron referenced Churchill in his argument to stay in the European Union saying of him that, “In the postwar period he argued passionately for Western Europe to come together, to promote free trade, and to build institutions which would endure so that our continent would never again see such bloodshed.” The Conservative member of parliament Nicholas Soames, Churchill’s grandson and a Remain supporter, this week said Churchill would have supported continued EU membership. He remarked, “The last thing on earth Churchill would have been would have been an isolationist – to want to stand apart from Europe right now at a difficult time. There is something awfully un-British, in my view, about wanting to leave. I think we stay. I think ‘Non’ he would not think it is a good thing to leave. ‘Oui’, I think he would have wanted to stay.” David Davis, MP disagrees about Churchill’s position on Europe saying, “It is in defiance of history. Winston Churchill saw a very good argument for some sort of a United States of Europe. But he never wanted us to be a part of it. That’s the key point.” Reports on the comments by Cameron, Soames, and Davis are available from the BBC News and Bloomberg.