A new fight has emerged in the European Union debate, with sparring campaign groups exchanging harsh words over whether a so-called Brexit would hurt British exporters.
Britain Stronger in Europe, a pro-EU campaign, published new research today showing that the EU is the UK’s largest trading partner, taking in 50 per cent of all British goods exports and contributing £148bn to the UK economy last year alone. The campaign group also said that by including ongoing EU negotiations with Japan, Australia and the United States, the value added could rise to more than £235bn.
Former Marks & Spencer chairman Stuart Rose,the campaign’s chair, said exports would “be at risk, facing trade barriers and fees” if British voters chose to leave the EU, adding: “Those proposing leaving the EU must show how this damage can be avoided.
Andy Wigmore, a spokesperson for the eurosceptic Leave.EU campaign, responded by saying that “true pain before gain is probably worth it to regain control”. But Vote Leave, another eurosceptic group, rejected the Stronger In claims, saying that the research “contains basic inaccuracies” and relied on “using fear and falsehoods, rather than being honest”.