David Cameron was confronted by an English literature student during Thursday night’s Sky News EU referendum debate after she accused him of “waffling” about the risks posed by Turkey’s links with Islamic extremists. Soraya Bouazzaoui said she wanted to vote for the UK to stay in the union, but said the remain campaign had been “nothing but scaremongering”.
The recently Southampton Solent university graduate questioned the prime minister about Turkey’s drive for ever closer union with the EU.
Cameron began to reel off the “positive case for staying” before moving on to Turkey, at which point Bouazzaoui interrupted him. “Let me finish now, because I’ve seen you interrupt many people beforehand. Let me finish now,” she said. “I know waffling when I see it, OK?”
Bouazzaoui continued: “I’m sorry, but you have not answered my question. How can you reassure the people who do want to vote out – because I have many friends who want to vote out – that we are safe from extremism when we are willing to work with a government like Turkey who want to be part of the EU?”
The prime minister said: “[There is] no prospect of Turkey joining in the EU in decades. They applied in 1987. They have to complete 35 chapters. One has been completed so far. At this rate, they’ll join in the year 3000.
“There are lots of reasons to vote one way or vote the other way. Turkey is not going to join the EU any time soon. Every country, every parliament has a veto, so I think there are lots of things to worry about in this referendum campaign. I absolutely think that is not a prospect, it’s not going to happen.”
Bouazzaoui said after the debate that Cameron had been “dishonest, untruthful, brushing a lot of things under the rug”. “For someone to finally call him out on it was necessary.” The politically active student, who comes from a family of Moroccan migrants in Romford, east London, has criticised the Tory leader on social media in the past and supported pro-Palestine campaigns.
Many on Twitter praised the way Bouazzaoui tackled Cameron:
However, others criticised her for being too aggressive and repeatedly interrupting the prime minister.
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