David Cameron and Boris Johnson take EU referendum battle to Countryfile


The Prime Minister and Boris Johnson will take their rivalry over Europe to the green fields of Countryfile in the coming weeks as they battle to win the rural vote. 

Remain campaigner David Cameron and the outgoing pro-Brexit London mayor will appear on the Sunday night show ahead of the European Union referendum on June 23. 

A BBC spokesman said: "Both the Prime Minister and Boris Johnson will be appearing on Countryfile in the coming weeks to discuss issues surrounding the impact of the EU referendum on rural Britain.

"Countryfile tackles hard news issues affecting the countryside, considering all sides of the story."

The two will appear on separate shows, with the BBC rural affairs programme set to air interviews in "rural settings" with regular presenter Tom Heap.

Downing Street confirmed Mr Cameron had already completed filming. 

The two Conservative politicians will each have an opportunity to try to win round Countryfile's audience, which averaged six million in 2015.

Mr Cameron last appeared on Countryfile in 2012, when he pledged to protect rural areas from urban sprawl.

He told presenter John Craven he would protect England's countryside as if it were his "own family".

"I care deeply about our countryside and environment. Our vision is one where we give communities much more say, much more control," he said.

The farming community is split over whether to remain in the EU - but the National Farmers' Union has concluded that their members' interests are best served by remaining in Europe.

The organisation, which represents farmers across England and Wales, said in March it would not be actively campaigning in the referendum and would not tell its 55,000 members how to vote.

But a resolution passed by the NFU council has said that "on the balance of existing evidence available to us at present, the interests of farmers are best served by our continuing membership of the European Union".

The future for British farmers is heavily influenced by what the UK Government would do about subsidies currently paid through the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and worth around £2.4 billion a year.

Brexit supporters insist support to UK farmers would continue in the event there is a vote to quit the EU, but farmers have raised concerns whether this would happen as the Government previously argued against direct payments through the CAP.