The intensity of the EU Referendum debate has shown no signs of subsiding this week, with national debates and a major technical fault in the Government’s voter registration system resulting in another turbulent week for the Pound against the Euro.
For the most part, the Pound Sterling to Euro exchange rate has actually remained fairly consistent, with the lowest starting value of 1.2675 being countered by a weekly high of 1.2842.
Observer Poll Put the Pound (GBP) on Unstable Ground against the Euro (EUR) on Monday
As with Tuesday of the previous week, the Pound was brought to its knees in exchange rates by further EU Referendum polling that seemed to indicate a high level of support for an instability-linked ‘Leave’ vote.
In this case, the poll in question came from the Observer/Opinium and appeared to show that 43% were in favour of a ‘Brexit’, against 40% for a ‘Remain’ vote.
In addition, Sunday also brought an early dose of polling blues, with the news that 69% of around 19,000 Telegraph subscribers stating that they would be voting for ‘Out’.
Interestingly, the next YouGov’s poll actually showed ‘Remain’ as leading by one point, although the collapse of the Pound showed that investors paid the news little attention.
In calmer news at the start of the week, it was revealed that the Bank of England (BoE) was taking steps to set up contingency plans in the event of a ‘Brexit’, while former Prime Minister John Major colourfully described the NHS as a hamster threatened by a python should prominent ‘Brexiteers’ rise to power after a UK exit from the EU.
The Prime Minister and Boris Johnson argued over UK/EU fishing, with the former highlighting the rising value of UK fisheries and the latter arguing that EU laws have damaged the UK’s fleets and operations.
The arguments heated up again when, alongside rival party leaders Tim Farron and Natalie Bennett, the PM declared that a ‘Brexit’ would put an economic bomb under the UK’s economy and that ‘we’ would have lit the fuse.
Chancellor George Osborne also weighed in, stating that if the ‘Out’ vote won, there would be greater checks and border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic itself.
In other miscellaneous referendum news, the Vote Leave website came under fire when it was discovered that people registering were not officially put on the electoral roll, but were instead being signed up as supporters of the ‘Leave’ campaign. Elsewhere, Fed Chair Janet Yellen warned that a ‘Brexit’ could damage the US economy.
Boris Johnson closed off the day’s debating with the now-established claim that an uncontrollably expanding population via rising immigration was inevitable if the UK remained within the EU.
Calm before the Storm for GBP/EUR on Tuesday as ITV Debate and Last-Minute Plea from PM Caused Online Chaos
The Pound managed to stage a miraculous recovery against the Euro on Tuesday, thanks in part to polling data once again putting the ‘In’ vote as the more likely to occur.
Outside of this news, the day was relatively quiet; Conservative MP Dominic Raab made his debut into the debate by claiming that 50 dangerous foreign criminals could not be deported due to EU laws, while the Chairman of Hitachi, Hiroaki Nakanishi warned that he could be forced to cut jobs and reduce investment in the UK if it left the EU.
Ahead of his Q&A session against the PM in the evening, UKIP leader Nigel Farage induced the wrath of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby when the UKIP head claimed that Cologne-style sex attacks could take place in the UK if it did not take control of immigration via a ‘Brexit’.
Ahead of his evening appearance on ITV, the PM implored young people to both back the ‘Remain’ campaign and also register to vote, if they were not currently signed up.
Pound to Euro Wavered as Overload of Registration Site Raised Unprecedented Issue for EU Referendum Campaigns on Wednesday
Although the Pound advanced on Tuesday, it fell once again on Wednesday on the news that the Government website to register voters had crashed on Tuesday evening due to an overwhelming number of applicants.
The response to extend the voting deadline to midnight on Thursday provoked a storm of complaints from the ‘Leave’ side, due to assumptions that most last-minute registrants had been young people, who have been linked to voting ‘In’. It remains uncertain whether some allowance or negation will be made in the final vote count, based on the potential swing from late applicants.
The catalyst for this rush to register was apparently Tuesday’s evening ITV ‘debate’ with David Cameron and Nigel Farage, although the two men actually spoke one after another without directly interacting.
As was expected, Farage based his argument on immigration, while the PM made the economic case for remaining in the EU.
The economy was also the subject of a WTO argument, with Director General Roberto Azevedo stating that a post-‘Brexit’ UK would not be able to negotiate trade as easily as if it remained in the EU.
Another poll released on Wednesday show that most Scots were expected to vote for ‘Remain’, while in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil, George Osborne stated that the Referendum was a ‘fight for [the] UK’s soul’.
GBP/EUR Recovered on Warnings of Potential Benefit Cuts after ‘Brexit’ and Defection to ‘Remain’ Camp on Thursday
Yesterday brought a rich day of Referendum developments, with the opening news being that Lord Bamford, Chairman of JCB, was backing an ‘Out’ vote.
The other major development concerned a defection from the ‘Leave’ group, when Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston moved from ‘Out’ to ‘In’ over the apparent inaccuracy of the ‘Brexiteer’ claim that around £350m a week could be spent on the NHS if the UK left the EU.
In other news, ‘Leave’ donor Arron Banks threatened a legal challenge over the Government’s decision to extend the registration deadline , while a National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) report claimed that low-income households could lose over -£5500 in tax credits and benefits in the event of a ‘Brexit’.
Elsewhere, John Major and Tony Blair both warned that an ‘Out’ vote could threaten the stability of the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland, while Osborne hammered home the point by claiming that Scotland’s economy would be hit to the tune of -£4.5bn if the ‘Out’ campaign won.
Wrapping up yesterday’s news was the analysis that undecided voters thought they would lose -£71 a week after a ‘Brexit’, while billionaire investor George Soros predicted that the Eurozone as a whole could disintegrate in the wake of a ‘Brexit’.
Pound Sterling Softens as TV ‘Boris Bashing’ Analysed and Labour Issues Emergency Budget Warnings
Today’s EU Referendum news so far has focused on the aftermath of last night’s EU Referendum debate between ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ figureheads, where the most notable feature was the repeated ‘Remain’ attempts to discredit Boris Johnson by pointing to his ambitions for the Conservative Party leadership.
In other news, Labour has estimated that an emergency budget would have to be held in the event of ‘Brexit’, while German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble has blasted ‘Leave’ claims that the UK could easily access the single market after a ‘Brexit’.
The next scheduled debate in the Referendum will come over the course of the afternoon, with notable figures on both sides of the argument being quizzed in the #EURef Town Hall Live event.
That’s it for the UK Referendum roundup this week, but we’ll be back next week with all the latest UK-EU news to keep you up to speed with the debate as it progresses.
The Pound Sterling to Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate was trending in the region of 1.2781 and the Euro to Pound Sterling (EUR/GBP) exchange rate was trending in the region of 0.7825 today.