Iain Duncan Smith accuses Remain campaign of using ‘spin, smears and threats’ to ‘bully’ Britons to stay in EU

'The Remain campaign’s case seems almost wholly based on what they describe as the nightmare of leaving'

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Indy Politics

Iain Duncan Smith has accused the Remain campaign of using “spin, smears and threats” in order to “bully” the British people into believing their jobs are at risk if they vote for Brexit.

The Work and Pensions Secretary, who in February warned the UK will be more exposed to Paris-style terror attacks if Britain stays in the EU, warned that those making “desperate and unsubstantiated claims” could see their integrity damaged. 

He urged for the debate on the referendum to be conducted with respect, warning rivals not to “indulge in scaremongering”.

The former Conservative leader, who is one of five Cabinet ministers supporting the campaign to leave the EU, also criticised the pro-EU camp’s case for being largely supported by a “nightmare” image of Britain’s chances outside the EU, with “biblical consequences” resulting from a vote to leave.

He wrote: “The Remain campaign’s case seems almost wholly based on what they describe as the nightmare of leaving.

“This case has in whole or in part become characterised by spin, smears and threats ... In the last fortnight we have had a series of highly questionable dossiers – threatening almost biblical consequences if we dare to consider a future outside of the European Union.

“We’ve seen a series of stunts, whereby big businesses, big banks, and powerful politicians from other EU member states seek to bully the British people into believing their jobs and security are at risk.”

Mr Duncan Smith made his comments in the Daily Mail after the French President, François Hollande, said Brexit would inevitably have some impact on his country’s willingness to stop illegal migrants from crossing the English Channel. 

The German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, argued that Brexit would make the whole of Europe “less stable and more volatile”, adding that Britain would be shut out of the single market if it left the EU.

Mr Duncan Smith added: “The acrimonious manner in which all this has been conducted is troubling, and will I fear have consequences long beyond June 23.

“After all, such desperate and unsubstantiated claims are now being made that they begin to damage the very integrity of those who make them in the eyes of the public.”

Meanwhile, his colleague in the Department for Work and Pensions, Priti Patel, also campaigning to leave, compared the European Union to Titanic heading towards a huge iceberg as she set out the case for Brexit.

Additional reporting by Press Association