Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday urged Britons not to "roll a dice" by leaving the EU in his first television grilling of the referendum campaign, three weeks before the tight vote.
Facing an often hostile audience at Sky News, Cameron argued that, while the European Union sometimes "drives me crazy", it would be an act of "economic self-harm" for Britain to vote out on June 23.
With opinion polls finely balanced and some suggesting a recent increase in support for the "Leave" campaign, Cameron, who is leading the case for "Remain", entered the studio under pressure.
"As we go home, as we wake up in the morning, we look at our children and our grandchildren in the eyeâ¦ let us not roll a dice on their future," he told the audience at the end of the show.
"Britain doesn't succeed when we quit, we succeed when we get stuck in, we work to improve these organisations and we safeguard the prosperity and the security of our great country."
Earlier, he faced repeated heckles from angry audience members including one who told him: "I'm an English literature student, I know waffling when I see it".
The "Remain" camp currently has 51 percent support compared to 49 percent for the "Leave" side, according to an average of the last six opinion polls by the What UK Thinks academic project.
On Tuesday, two ICM polls for the Guardian newspaper put the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union in the lead.
Those findings surprised many commentators because most recent polls have given "Remain" a narrow lead.
There will be eight main television interviews and hustings between now and the vote. Cameron is only appearing in three and will not go head-to-head against the "Leave" camp in any of them.
The Sky News programme saw him face questions from the channel's political editor Faisal Islam which focused on immigration issues, followed by questions from the studio audience.
The same channel will host a similar programme Friday featuring Michael Gove, a Cabinet minister and former close political ally of Cameron, arguing the case for "Leave".
On Tuesday, Cameron and Nigel Farage, leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party, will answer questions from a studio audience in an ITV programme but will not debate with each other.
-London (AFP) -