UK print media bombards readers on EU referendum day

Updated: 2016-06-23 22:03

By Angus McNiece in London(

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British newspapers released daily editions packed with EU referendum coverage Thursday, as voters head to polls around a stormy United Kingdom to vote on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.

Having publishded editorials over the past fortnight expressing their publications' views on whether Britain would be better in or out of Europe, most broadsheets chose to focus on the narrow polls leading into the vote as well as provide analysis of the final day of campaign activities Wednesday. The majority of tabloids, meanwhile, used Thursday's papers as a final chance to convince their readers one way or the other on voting day.

UK print media bombards readers on EU referendum day

On what it called the "day of reckoning," The Times lead story focused on a YouGov poll which had Remain at 51 percent and Leave at 49 percent Leave going into voting day — leaving the vote on a "knife's edge" and within the margin of error. In this poll undecided voters were forced to pick a side.

The Guardian asked readers "Who do we want to be?" following "the most bitter political campaign in living memory." The paper's lead story focused on Prime Minister David Cameron's final campaign drive Wednesday and his "last-ditch push to stay in Europe."

Next to an image of the iconic clock face of St Stephen's Tower on the Houses of Parliament, the Daily Telegraph ran the headline "The Time Has Come." The paper published a feature interview with Leave campaign leader Boris Johnson in which he called the vote a "turning point in the story of our country."

UK print media bombards readers on EU referendum day

When asked if a vote to Remain would end the former London mayor's life in politics, he responded "Fine by me," explaining that "This vote is more important than my political career."

The Financial Times said banks were conducting "war games" to stress-test systems as London's financial centre braced itself ahead of the vote. The news paper said City of London workers were flocking to foreign exchange dealerships to change their pounds to dollars or euros, in scenes similar to the lines that formed outside Northern Rock branches prior to the bank's collapse in 2007.

Tabloid paper The Sun — Britain's most widely circulated print publication — continued with its vocal support of the Leave campaign, calling June 23 "Independence Day" and claiming a win for Leave would remove the UK from under the "crushing might of the Brussels machine."

UK print media bombards readers on EU referendum day

Labour-leaning tabloid The Daily Mirror ran a letter from its editor imploring readers to vote to remain in the EU, saying that British finance ministers past and present "violently agree that Leave would be a disaster for prosperity." The newspaper's front page alluded to the anti-Brexit "leap into the dark" metaphor popular among Remain campaigners.

Middle-market tabloid Daily Express ran a comment piece on its front page urging readers to "vote Leave," while the Daily Mail went with a cover feature that claimed to have discredited several of the Remain camp's central arguments.

UK print media bombards readers on EU referendum day

Both free sheet Metro and the "i" newspaper focused on last-minute polls that had both Remain and Leave votes neck and neck, suggesting the vote was headed for a "photo finish."

Outside the UK, the Wall Street Journal stated that global stocks, bonds and currencies were set for a "wild ride" in the event of a Leave vote, while the International New York Times ran joint front-page stories on the EU referendum: one on the latest polls showing a "dead heat" and the other explaining how the UK's potential disengagement for Europe would "drag on for years."

Polls close at 10 p.m. UK time and the result on the referendum is expected in the early hours of Friday morning.

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