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Boris Johnson and Sadiq Khan
Boris Johnson and Sadiq Khan tore into each other at the BBC Big Debate Getty

Boris Johnson and Sadiq Khan went head-to-head for the Leave and Remain campaigns respectively in front of 6,000 spectators at the BBC's Big Debate on Tuesday night.

The former mayor of London said Thursday could be the UK's "independence day" while Khan dismissed the Leave campaign as built on lies.

With just two days until the EU referendum it was each side's final attempt to sway undecided voters over whether the UK is either better off in or out of the EU.

Leave relied on Johnson, Labour MP Gisela Stuart and energy minister Andrea Leadsom while Khan, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, and Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, argued for case for Remain.

That's all folks. Follow IBTimes UK for all the news and reaction for the BBC Big Debate.

Labour MP and Vote Leave campaigner John Mann has told IBTimes UK that the UK's major trade unions were backing Remain out of "loyalty to what they perceive to be the TUC position".

"What [Unite chief] Len McCluskey did yesterday was catch up with the reality of what's happened within the undercutting of wages with mass migration.

"Tony Blair said to us 30,000 to 40,000 will come from Eastern Europe, he was wrong."

Asked how Labour, which is officially backing Remain, would reconcile itself with its voters who back Leave on 23 June after the referendum, he added:

"We need to see what the results are – we will see that from constituencies. If it is that Labour heartlands have voted Leave and it remains Remain, Labour has to move very, very quickly."

Government tsar and Remain supporter Lord Sugar seems to have put his foot in it with a tweet about Labour MP Gisela Stuart:

Jamie Vardy and Tim Farron

Tim Farron: I'm Remain's Jamie Vardy

Speaking to IBTimes UK, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron urged UK voters to not blame migrants. "First of all, public services are funded by the British government, the British government is funded by taxes and we know EU migrants contribute £20bn to our economy."

"So if our government is not spending their taxes properly on schools and health, stop blaming migrants for things that are the Toy government's fault.

"Secondly, I can be really flippant but blunt, I disagree with Ruth Davidson – I think Vote Leave do have a plan to tackle migration. It's to take us out of the EU, crash the economy and no one will want to come here."

Asked whether he felt frustrated that he hadn't had a bigger role in the Remain campaign ahead of the 23 June vote.

"I'm a team player and I'm confident that if I'd been on the stage I would have played a blinder, but I had to play the Jamie Vardy role and stay on the bench and score a couple of headers."

Ian Silvera

Handbags in the Spin Room!

Will Straw, the executive director of Britain Stronger In Europe and son of former foreign secretary Jack Straw, has clashed with Leave's Michael Gove.

Straw claimed his opponent was part of "project hate" and called "lies" claims that Turkey would join the EU and Britain sent £350m a week to Brussels.

Chuka Umunna

Labour MP Chuka Umunna is now on the BBC. He told the broadcaster:

"[On Turkey membership] You have to have all 28 members agreeing and I don't see that happening.

"The idea you deal with migration by crashing economy is ludicrous proposition.

"Leave has absolutely no plan really on what they want to do re. immigration."

Michael Gove

Speaking on the BBC, Michael Gove said the campaign "absolutely did not" go over the top.

He goes on to say we cannot control migration in the EU and says Leave is investigating how a former BNP member contributed £600,000 to the campaign.

Gove adds Leave peddled "hopeful and optimistic" arguments

Looks like journalists in the Spin Room didn't hear much of those closing remarks:

Summing up


I have not heard enough to be confident they have the answers.

The EU is not perfect but benefits far outweigh costs.

We refuse to dismiss experts.

You are better off in. There is nothing more positive than a strong economy supporting jobs.


There is a clear choice between fear and hope.

They say we can't do, we say we can. They say we have no choice but to bow down to Brussels.

Thursday can be our country's 'Independence Day'.

David Cameron and Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson "demolishes" Leave security arguments...says Remain:

"The other side have said throughout this debate that they don't like experts but when it comes to keeping our country safe and secure I want to listen to the experts. So when the head of GCHQ says we are safer in the EU I listen.

"When five former NATO chiefs say we are safer in the EU I listen. When the head of Europol who is a Brit says we are safer in the EU I listen.

"When the head of MI5 and MI6 says we are safer in the EU I listen. When all of our major allies, Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand, say we are safer in the EU I listen.

"And if it comes to a choice to listening to all of these people, even if they are experts or listening to these three about who keeps my family safe, I'm going to vote for them every single day of the week and twice on a Sunday. Don't risk it."

Supreme Court
The UK Supreme Court Chris Ratcliffe/Getty

Leave campaign argues 60% of laws in the UK are made by the EU.

The House of Commons library actually says it has made between 13% and 65% of UK law.

On security


Of course we cooperate with the EU and we will continue to do so

UK security rests on Nato cooperation, not the EU

Leadership of the Americans brought post-war peace, not the EU

We have one last chance to keep our democracy and make sure in the future you can sack government


We should be building bridges not walls


EU is wrong to evolve into United States of Europe

EU was mandated to resolve Balkans crisis - about one million people died

EU telling home secretary she cannot deport serious criminals


Allies are saying we are safer together

They other side has lost debate on it's lies and scaremongering

We can veto any plans for closer union


Why are you a quitter [to Stuart]?

There is a danger in remaining


All of those people currently charged with our protection say we are safer in the EU

On sovereignty and democracy...


If we chose to remain we are part of single market with one set of rules we help make

You are not less British if you are in the EU


EU has utterly outgrown its roots

There is a failing currency and they have to sort their problems

Do not be this inward trading block

We will become increasingly insignificant with 28 members, plus more to come


We have vetoes over nations joining...we lose control by not being at the table


60% of rules and regulations come from the EU

The truth is there are five presidents of the EU and can anyone name them? You can't vote for them and you can't kick them out


Where you have a fantastic market, then you must have fair rules you have to play by

I'll be honest - I'm proud of being British but there is nothing about putting jobs at risk


We have heard enough of project fear over the last couple of weeks

European Court of Justice is acquiring more adjudicates in divorce laws, nothing to do with the single market

Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas, Green Party (Remain)

You are more likely to be treated by an EU national working in the NHS

Migration goes two ways live, study and work in 28 countries ourselves

Lets ringfence migrants' taxes and spend them on new leisure centres and libraries

The question was what migration numbers should be...


We need to look at the skills we want to bring in here

We should not discount the contribution migrants make

My big issue is you don't fund schools and hospitals and control migration by crashing the economy


We would have a £10bn dividend to spend on priorities if we left the EU

This country will do incredibly well if we take back control


Migration is a concern for many people but leaving the EU is not the answer

How is having more control if there is double the immigration under the Aussie-style points system?


Jeremy Corbyn said there was no way of controlling immigration if we are in the EU


I think the Leave campaign is selling a big con - they are pretending to reduce the numbers [of migrants]

More from the Spin Room:

"Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, says there's no chance of Turkey joining the EU and accuses Vote Leave of "scaremongering" over the issue.

"But Boris Johnson points out that it's the government policy to support Turkey's accession to the 28-nation-bloc.

"Meanwhile, Ruth Davidson quotes an LBC Radio interview of Johnson two months ago, when the Vote Leave campaigner apparently said "it was not on the cards".

"David Cameron, who's not in attendance, has previously stressed that the UK would have a veto on the question of Turkey joining the EU."

Next up, immigration:


The first thing we should do is celebrate immigration.

We need to look at numbers and pressure large scale immigration is causing on NHS, wages.

We want Aussie-style points system so we get workers for all our services.

184,000 net from the EU, 77,000 without a job - it is obvious we need to take back control.


Of course we need immigration policy.

You won't hear me say this often but David Cameron deserves credit for the deal he secured with the EU - you can't take benefits until you pay tax.

Boris, you are scaring people to vote Leave. You are telling lies. You used taxpayer money to say Turkey is joining the EU.

Turkey is not about to join - that is a big fat lie. At this rate it will take year 3000 for Turkey to accede.


I am an immigrant, mother and grandmother - if we have uncontrolled immigration we will have situations like 50,000 missing school places in West Midlands.

We are spending £1.9bn of your money to speed up accession of Turkey.


There would be staffing crisis if we lost thousands of EU/non-EU workers from the NHS.


Free movement does not allow us to even ask if people have criminal records - it is creating enormous problems.

Uncontrolled immigration means we discriminate against 92% of the world.

We are required to allow people to come here from the EU whether they are trained or not.


Leave does not have alternative plan. They want points system but Migration Watch says that will lead to higher migration.

Turkey accession is not on the cards - that's what Boris said two months ago.

Tim Farron

Tim Farron, Lib Dem leader:

9/10 experts say we should remain

Michael Gove said we had enough of experts perhaps that explains why he was such a dreadful education secretary - when I take my children to school I want them to be taught by experts, not the man from the pub.

Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoons: Apart from John Lewis, no one pays a bigger bonuses than us.

Justin King, former Sainsbury's boss: We are going to see prices go up, poorer economy if we leave.

More than 250 tweets have been sent between the Stronger In and Leave campaign Twitter accounts in 30 minutes...

Second question is about employment and social rights:


Can Leave promise us today that you will protect each and every right we won through EU?


Euro is a broken promise - you are going to pay for bailout after bailout.


The worst thing for workers is businesses going out of business.

The Eurozone is growing faster than our economy and that of the US.

Size matters - bigger the size the more clout you have.

If you are company in US or China you can have offices in London and have gateway to 500m customers in EU.


The EU is, I'm afraid, is a job destroying machine.

Tata Steel - we are told we cannot cut energy costs to protect Port Talbot because Brussels says no.

We cannot export haggis to America!


Leave won't tell us how many jobs will go and what will replace single market.

If we come out we go back to the queue.


80% of world's economy is not in the single market.

Many countries do more business with the EU than the UK does.

28 member states cannot sort a takeaway countries.

Some early analysis from the Spin Room by Ian Silvera:

"Boris Johnson, the chief Vote Leave campaigner and former Mayor of London, attempted to outflank the Remain team from the left.

"The top Conservative said he was unhappy with the UK's current pay differentials between FTSE 100 chiefs and employees.

"His argument isn't one too different to ones made by Frances O'Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress and Remain panellist."


We are spending billions are year that go into a big black hole.

The EU has done a terrible job negotiating trade deals for us.


All the experts say leaving the EU would cause problems.

What is your plan? How would you make sure terms of trade are better than they are now?


Remain are back to project fear within minutes of this debate.

Sadiq Khan said immigration has driven down wages.

The differentials in income in our country is wrong - it would be a fine thing if low income workers got a pay rise on the back of voting Leave.


Gove said it will inevitably lead to bumps in the road.

Johnson said there might or might not be job losses.


Workers in this country have already been through a rough time after bankers crashed the economy.

In the long run because economy would be hit, jobs at BMW would be replaced by ones at Sports Direct and Wetherspoon.


Big companies lobby Brussels to have their rules imposed and small business owners are left to comply.

Sir Stuart Rose, chair of Britain Stronger in Europe, said wages will go up.

Frances O'Grady, TUC:

The Leave side roll out JCB but that's one company - experts say economy would take a big hit.

If you don't believe businesses, listen to the shop floor - manufacturers are saying we cannot afford to take this gamble.


I genuinely believe our future will be so much brighter if we leave.

If we remain in we are one of biggest contributors and we will be paying forever.


It was extraordinary to hear we would have tariffs imposed on us - do you seriously suppose Germany would impose tariffs?

Businesses large and small want to passionately come out of single market.

JCB wants to come out, James Dyson wants to come out and he tells the papers that staying in would cause economic self harm.

Ruth Davidson:

Small businesses are the backbone of economy.

EU provides level playing field.

8/10 CBI small business members want to remain.

We would sacrifice seat at table if we left and be at mercy of taxes and tariffs.

First up is a question on the economy...

Joe Twyman, head of political research at YouGov, tells IBTimes UK that immigration and the economy have been the two main issues during the EU referendum campaign but he explained it depended on who you support.

"If you support Leave, then sovereignty and immigration are top and if you support Remain, it's the economy."

"That doesn't mean immigration isn't important to people who wish to Remain or that the economy isn't important for people who want to Leave, it's just about priorities and it's those priorities that might shift in the final days.

"But we won't know until polling day itself."

Here's Sadiq Khan (Remain - to big cheer):

You and your family will be better off and safer.

Jobs will be secure and wages higher.

The evidence is undeniable - we are stronger, safer and better off in the EU.

Remember - we would be out for good.

Make a positive and patriotic choice and vote Remain.

First up, Gisela Stuart (Leave):

EU failed, it has turned into a nightmare.

50% of young people in Greece do not have a job.

Lose billions of pounds a year in the EU - it does not have to be like this.

We can take back control of border and immigration.

Take back control and vote Leave.

David Dimbleby

Oh, just look at David Dimbleby's tie!

In the build up to the debate BBC Two aired Great Continental Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo - pro-EU bias by the BBC? Never...

The panel is here, let's get going:

IBTimes UK senior politics reporter Ian Silvera has caught up with the organiser of a choir serenading those at the SSE Arena.

Iain Keith, a Remain campaigner, organised choristers of pro-EU voters to sing the Beatles' "All You Need is Love". He said he was trying to bring a little "light and love" to the referendum campaign.

"The last few weeks have been awful. The tone in the debate has been grounded in fear and division, and we felt it is important to remind voters, particularly young voters, the value of the EU and there is not so much that separates us."

Leave meanwhile picked up on Lord Heseltine telling LBC that Britain will join the Euro...

Stronger In really has been wheeling out the celebrities today. Just take a look at this below. A footballer, explorer, darts player and JAMES BOND!

BBC director of news and current affairs James Harding has taken to the stage at the SSE Arena to inform the 6,000 spectators they are the biggest debate of this "historic campaign".

IBTimes UK columnist Alastair Campbell appears to have grown tired by Leave's trio...

BBC Big Debate

This is where the two sides will do battle this evening at the SSE Arena in Wembley. Both sides will draw straws to decide which side the campaigns will stand on.

Here's a quick summary of what happened on Tuesday:

Hello and welcome to coverage of the BBC's Big Debate. With less than 48-hours until voting begins this is one of the final chances Leave and Remain will have to stamp their mark on the campaign.

The debate will last two hours and as well as the six main participants there will also be contributions from Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King (Remain) and Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin (Brexit).