Bernard Jenkin, a leading Brexit campaigner, took the extraordinary step of accusing Osborne of planning an illegal act by keeping pro-EU material up on government websites right up until the referendum.
The out campaign is outraged that government websites will continue to set out a pro-EU position during the three-week period before the poll in which the civil service is meant to remain neutral.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Jenkin said: “In my right honourable friend’s enthusiasm to bludgeon the British voter into supporting a EU they don’t really like, how can he justify planning to break the law? Is he aware the public administration committee has published three legal opinions from speaker’s counsel which make it perfectly clear it is illegal to keep pro-EU referendum up on government websites during purdah period?”
In response, Osborne urged the Brexit camp to focus on the issues rather than the process of the referendum, as so much is at stake for the UK, including the economy and security.
George Osborne has been accused by a Conservative MP of plotting to break the law in order to “bludgeon” people into voting in favour of staying in the EU.