EU Referendum

EU referendum: Voters face 'lies and scaremongering'

Benjamin Zephaniah
Image caption Benjamin Zephaniah said there were half-truths, lies and scaremongering in the EU debate

Poet Benjamin Zephaniah says he's being "battered by scaremongering" on both sides of the EU discussion.

He was speaking during a BBC debate about the forthcoming EU referendum filmed at the University of Lincoln.

"I'm a neutral, but I'm being battered on both sides by half-truths, lies and scaremongering," he said.

Also on the panel, to be aired on Sunday, were UKIP MEP Jane Collins, for Leave, Labour MP Melanie Onn, for Remain, and journalist Robin Limb.

One of the topics the panel focused on was the NHS and how it fits into the EU.

Yorkshire and Humber MEP Ms Collins said: "We pay in £675m a year into the EU, which goes into other countries health schemes, we only get £49m back and that's an atrocity - we must leave to get the NHS back on its feet."

She added it should be "easier for nurses to qualify in this country" and all NHS workers should get "a reasonable pay for a reasonable day's work".

Ms Onn, MP for Great Grimsby, argued: "You are far more likely to be treated by somebody from another country working in the NHS than you are to see somebody receiving treatment from another country in the NHS.

"Our NHS wouldn't survive without those 50,000 EU nationals who are caring for us and doing huge amounts of important work within our public services."

Image caption The audience featured those favouring Remain, those favouring Leave and a number of undecided people

Mr Zephaniah said he recently had an emergency where his "life was saved" and "none of the team who saved me were born in England".

The writer and poet said he had visited Pilgrim Hospital, in Boston, as part of TV filming and was told the maternity ward "would have closed without new immigrants".

EU referendum issues guide: Explore the arguments

A referendum on 23 June will decide whether Britain should leave or remain.

  • Better In or Out? A BBC Look North Referendum Special will be shown at 22.35 on BBC One in East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

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