A U.K. exit from the European Union would kill the recovery “stone dead,” Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said today as he sought to drum up support for his Liberal Democrats ahead of EU elections.
“Pulling out of the EU is the very last thing our country needs,” he said in a speech in London, according to extracts released by his office. “All the progress that has been built on the hard work of millions of people and hundreds of thousands of British companies would be squandered. We will be left isolated in the margins and our future prosperity will be limited for generations.”
His remarks reflect the growing threat to the main political parties from the U.K. Independence Party, which advocates withdrawal from the EU. Polls suggest UKIP will win European Parliament elections on May 22 after leader Nigel Farage won two successive debates on EU membership against Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat party leader.
Alexander cited TheCityUK research showing Britain’s exit would lead to higher prices, higher unemployment, lower growth and lower real wages. He also cited support from business leaders who say Britain’s membership is one of the main reasons for investing in the country.
He attacked UKIP and the anti-EU members of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party as the “worst kind of snake oil salesmen” who are “peddling a false cure” by advocating an EU exit.
“It means being in work,” said Alexander, whose party governs in coalition with the Conservatives. “Being in work is a pre-requisite for us to build the stronger economy and fairer society that Britain deserves.’
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