Gove calls for ‘atmosphere of respect’ at second referendum event in our Norwich office
- Credit: Steve Adams
Michael Gove called for an 'atmosphere of respect' whatever the result of Thursday's vote on Britain's membership of the European Union as he addressed our readers in Norwich.
The Conservative cabinet minister, who has been a prominent figure in official Vote Leave referendum campaign, urged voters to put scare stories and exaggerations aside as they made up their mind about whether to stay or leave.
He took questions in the second and final of our referendum events, following the prime minister's visit to our newsroom last week. Mr Gove was questioned on a range of topics, from the economy to human rights. He was also asked about the 'rabble-rousing' tone used by some of those campaigning to leave around immigration.
But Mr Gove said he thought the official Vote Leave campaign had been 'fair and reasonable'.
'I am in favour of migration and when I have had on opportunity do so, I have also on television and in parliament taken great pride in the fact that Britain is a multicultural success story.'
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'If we voted to leave we could have an Australian style points system which would mean we would be able to welcome people here who contribute to our economy and have skills that we need, and we could welcome them on a nondiscriminatory basis.
'If we do vote to leave and take control, we will also be able to remove migration and immigration from political contention,' he added.
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In a wide-ranging to and fro, the Conservative Lord Chancellor also made it clear that he would like prime minister David Cameron to stay on after Thursday's referendum.
'I think that you have an election to decide your government and you have a referendum to give it instructions in the same way you employ a particular organisation because you trust them and you give them instructions as to how you might want your money invested.' Mr Gove opened the debate telling the audience: 'I respect and admire many people on the remain side of the debate and it is important to stress that the principle arguments that have been put forward with fluency by people who sincerely believe and that atmosphere of respect should continue whatever the result. If indeed the public choose to remain in the European Union, I will respect that judgement.' But he said the single most important thing to him was democracy. He said people could say 'you're fired, we want to change direction' to the prime minister at an election. 'At the moment so many of our laws are made at European Union level in a way we can't change, which is why I think we should vote leave and take back control.'