EU referendum: 5 things we learned today


Here are some things we have learned about the European Union referendum today...

1. Bees need the EU.

a bee gathering pollen (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Albert Einstein famously warned that if bees disappeared off the face of the globe, human life would be wiped out within four years. Well that terrifying prospect could move a step closer if there is a vote for Brexit ... according to Friends of the Earth.

Campaigner Sam Lowe said the EU had been responsible for protecting the fields and meadows where bees thrive, as well as banning those nasty neonicotinoid pesticides which threatened to kill them off.

Vote for Leave, he warned, and there could be "devastating consequences for the whole food chain". And to think that all we had had to worry about till now was imminent economic collapse and the outbreak of World War III.

2. Bpop bites the dust.

nigel farage at an event (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Leave.EU - the Out campaign group favoured by Nigel Farage - has finally conceded defeat in its bid to stage its BpopLive "Last Night of the Brexit Proms" musical extravaganza in Birmingham. Organisers blamed the "spiteful" killjoys at the Electoral Commission for pulling the plug on the event at which concert goers were to be treated to rousing speeches from Nige and other Leave luminaries between musical interludes.

Others, less sympathetic, have pointed to a string of high profile cancellations by artistes such as East 17 and Sister Sledge, apparently unaware they had been booked for a political event. Robert Oxley, head of media at Vote Leave, the official Out campaign, tweeted: "The ticket holder will be gutted." Miaow.

3. The wives are falling out (again).

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez speaks at an event (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A few weeks back Samantha Cameron and her erstwhile bestie - Michael Gove's missus, Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine - were reportedly at daggers drawn over their husbands' rival positions on Brexit. Well now Nick Clegg's other half, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, has entered the fray.

At a Fortune magazine Most Powerful Women event, she laid into the PM's "Mickey Mouse" EU renegotiation, bewailing that Britain was "sleep walking" towards a disaster that could engulf the whole world. Those happy days of Dave and Nick together in the Downing Street rose garden feel an awfully long time ago.

4. Don't call Arron fat.

Arron Banks speaks to press (Ben Birchall/PA)

Perhaps he was still sore at the cancellation of Bpop, but Leave.EU co-chairman Arron Banks was not amused when Jeremy Corbyn had a go at the "millionaire funder", accusing him of wanting to privatise the NHS. "Fat cat my arse," he fumed. "I started my business with nothing but a desk and two phones, and I've never worn a fur coat or owned a Bentley," he went on, a reference to Jez's infamous appearance on Channel 4´s The Last Leg.

"Winning the Labour leadership has seen him transform from muesli-eating old Trot to champagne socialist in record time. Even his own brother thinks he'll be casting his personal vote for Brexit once he's in the privacy of the polling booth." Ouch.

5. The punters are deserting Remain.

Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A clutch of opinion polls putting Leave ahead has seen a rush of money on Out, with the spread betting company Sporting Index reporting that just one in ten of the Brexit bets it has taken in the past two days being for Remain.

Spokesman Ed Fulton said: "Our political trading team has seen a level of activity that usually only occurs on polling day for a general election, and to say it's been one-way traffic is an understatement."