Britain's biggest selling newspapers back Brexit

Newspaper editors clash in Brexit debate
Newspaper editors clash in Brexit debate

Britain's most popular newspapers are urging U.K. readers to vote to leave the European Union in Thursday's historic referendum.

Most newspapers have taken sides over whether the country should leave the 28-country union, with some backing a British exit (Brexit), and others calling for a vote to remain.

The latest opinion polls suggest the result is too close to call, with roughly a 50-50 split between the two sides.

The Daily Mail on Wednesday carried a large front page headline saying, "If you believe in Britain vote Leave."

The paper has the second largest print circulation in the country, selling just above 1.5 million copies. It also boasts the most popular U.K. newspaper website, reaching about 14 million global readers each day.

Its bigger rival, The Sun, came out last week calling on people to back Brexit.

"This is our chance to make Britain even greater, to recapture our democracy, to preserve the values and culture we are rightly proud of," the paper said on its front page last Tuesday.

the sun brexit beleave newspaper

The Sun's sister publication, The Sun on Sunday, echoed those calls at the weekend.

The weekly, which is the nation's third biggest selling newspaper, called the European Union a "superstate ... [that] has grown into a monster engulfing our democracy."

Related: Business makes last ditch appeal against Brexit

But there are big newspapers in the remain camp too, including the London Evening Standard and the Daily Mirror.

The Guardian, which has a relatively small print circulation but a big online presence, urged people to vote to remain in the EU.

"Keep connected and inclusive, not angry and isolated," it said Monday.

Business publications such as the Financial Times and the weekly magazine, The Economist, are also firmly against Brexit.

"A vote to quit the European Union... would do grave and lasting harm to the politics and economy of Britain," The Economist said in its latest cover story.

the economist brexit cover
There's no mistaking the message from The Economist.

The deep divisions running through the country are reflected within newspaper groups. The Mail on Sunday told readers to vote to stay in the EU, while sister publication The Daily Mail is backing Brexit.

Other publications under the same ownership are also calling for different votes, including The Times (remain) and The Sunday Times (leave). Both are owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (NWS), along with The Sun.

--CNN's Louise McLoughlin contributed to this report.


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