David Cameron has issued a personal plea to readers of a regional daily after polls in the newspaper revealed most will vote for the UK to leave the European Union.
His comments come in the wake of a series of readers’ polls that saw around 80pc of nearly 50,000 people say they intend to vote leave.
The Express & Star itself has taken a neutral position ahead of the referendum.
Mr Cameron said: “I understand that readers are frustrated about the EU and there are some things about it that they don’t like.
“It’s been too bureaucratic, it has been too interventionalist. People are frustrated with it. But my plea to Express & Star readers would be that just because the EU isn’t perfect, it doesn’t mean we should quit it.
“When I think of the Black Country, I think of the vast amount of industry and trade that takes place in this part of the country.
“The biggest customer for the West Midlands is the EU. Around 40pc of what we make and sell goes there. Think of Jaguar and the number of cars that go to the European market.
He continued: “If we leave the single market of 500 million consumers, we will inevitably have worse trade terms in the future. That will affect jobs and livelihoods in the West Midlands and make our economy smaller.
“I hope everybody comes to realise that although this organisation is far from perfect, it is good for our economy, it keeps us safe – because we co-operate over security and crime – and actually it allows Britain to get its way in the world because we are part of an organisation that represents our values.
“I hope Express & Star readers will think very carefully, do what I think is the right thing and vote to stay in.”
Elsewhere, Bournemouth Echo editor Andy Martin has accused the political establishment of treating the public with “utter contempt” during the referendum campaign.
In his weekend column, Andy wrote those leading both sides of the debate had been, by and large, a “lousy bunch, after meeting prominent Leave campaigner Boris Johnson during a visit to the Echo’s patch.
He continued: “Europe is much too important an issue in both sides of the argument to play fast and loose with the truth, which is what has happened. They would never have been able to get away with all this in the general election.
“The complete fabrications. The hyperbole. The ridiculous and unfounded assertions. The total nonsense. The desperate spin and half truths.
“The political establishment has treated the electorate with utter contempt. The conduct of the campaign has been an absolute disgrace.
“A plague on all their houses. A plague that will undoubtedly last way beyond the referendum campaign.”