EU referendum: Wages would rise in the event of a Brexit, Lord Rose admits during heated exchange with Andrew Tyrie's Treasury select committee

Catherine Neilan
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Stuart Rose Launches The Stronger In Europe Campaign
Businesses might not like it, but workers will (Source: Getty)

He might be campaigning to keep Britain in the European Union, but Lord Rose might have inadvertently scored an own goal when he admitted yesterday that a Brexit would result in higher wages for domestic workers.

The former head of Marks & Spencer, who is leading the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, told MPs yesterday that if the country quit the trading bloc then "the price of labour will, frankly, go up".

"That is not necessarily a good thing," he added.

But the Leave.EU campaign has seized on Rose's remarks, telling the BBC it showed how "Brussels' cheerleaders" wanted to "protect vested interests, not the public interest".

During a heated session in front of the Treasury select committee, Rose accused chair Andrew Tyrie of "impugning my reputation" after he was accused of fudging statistics.

Tyrie claimed the pro-EU organisation was presenting CBI figures that estimate the benefits of being in the EU are worth £3,000 a year to the average UK household as fact, when the data was just an "inference".

"You're leading the campaign with this number - it's one of the most important components to your case," he said.

"Economists have told us it is intellectually dishonest to persist with these claims. Don't you think you should take this back - and see if for the next four months we can have a campaigned based on something more reliable? Don't you think we owe the public something more reliable?"

Rose insisted he stood by the figures.

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