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Remain side ratcheting up warnings on EU exit

By Gavin Cordon

Published 03/03/2016

The Government is stepping up its warnings over the dangers of leaving the EU, with a fresh analysis by officials concluding that any of the alternative arrangements for relations with Europe would leave Britain worse off.

The paper - which looks at arrangements adopted by Norway, Switzerland and Canada as well as the option of falling back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules - is expected to say each would carry serious risks if they were adopted by the UK.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the "hard-headed analysis" showed working people would pay the price - with lost jobs and higher prices - if the country votes "out" on June 23.

But the report was immediately dismissed as another "dodgy dossier" by the pro-Brexit Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who said it showed the Remain camp was "in denial" about the risks of staying in the EU.

The publication of the report indicates David Cameron is undeterred by accusations he his running an unrelentingly negative campaign - dubbed Project Fear by critics - as he leads the fight to keep Britain in. It follows hard on the heels of another Government paper earlier this week warning the country would face a "decade or more of uncertainty" if it chose to leave as it painstakingly negotiated new trade deals.

The latest paper examines the arrangements other countries outside the EU have adopted - and finds none offers the advantages of continued membership.

Mr Hammond commented: "Hard-headed analysis shows that every alternative to remaining in a reformed EU would leave Britain weaker, less safe and worse off.

"Working people would pay the price with fewer jobs and rising prices."

But in a further deepening of Conservative divisions, Mr Duncan Smith said the "real uncertainty" lay with the EU "project".

"As each day passes we see yet another example - from the utter failure to cope with the migrant crisis, to the increasing disaster of the euro," he said.

"This dodgy dossier won't fool anyone, and is proof that Remain are in denial about the risks of remaining in a crisis-ridden EU."

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