Opinion in Portsmouth divided over government’s £9.3m pro-EU leaflet campaign

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A POLITICAL argument has broken out over the government’s plans to spend £9.3m of taxpayers’ cash on a pro-EU publicity drive.

The Government has said that it will be sending out leaflets, backed up by an online campaign, to every home in the UK.

It will give information on the case for staying in the EU, as it is ‘crucial that the public have clear and accessible information’.

The Tory and Lib Dem groups in Portsmouth are divided over the move.

Portsmouth Lib Dem leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon­-Jackson, believes it’s the best way to inform everyone about the upcoming in/out referendum.

He said: ‘It is a factual piece of information to help people make up their minds.

‘Sending out these leaflets is presumably going to help the public understand the situation.’

Downing Street said the move was a response to polling which showed 85 per cent of the public wanted more information from the government to help them make an informed choice on June 23.

Tory deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Luke Stubbs, said that the money shouldn’t be used to promote one side of the EU argument.

He said: ‘There ought to be a level playing field. They’ve used public money that should be available to be used to finance both pro and anti­-EU sides.’

Other opponents have said that it was a waste of public money that has unfairly skewed the debate.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the document was ‘jammed full of lies and inaccuracies’ and was legally questionable and morally wrong and London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has branded it ‘very biased and hysterical’.