People arguing to leave the EU are being 'simplistic', Labour Remain campaign chief Alan Johnson says

He said the arguments for staying in the EU were more 'complex'

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Indy Politics

The campaign to leave the European Union is being “simplistic” about a complicated topic, the head of Labour’s campaign to stay in the EU has said.

Alan Johnson, who was announced as the campaign leader over the summer by interim leader Harriet Harman, suggested the arguments in favour of remaining in the EU took more thought.

“For the Leave side they’ve got these simplistic ‘let’s regain our borders, let’s regain our sovereignty’ [slogans],” he told the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme.

“It’s quite a complex argument to say actually, we have got the best of both worlds now and, yes, we do pool some sovereignty into Europe, but that gives us influence over 27 other member states and gives us a louder voice and a more powerful voice in the rest of the world.”

Mr Johnson’s claim comes the same morning as Iain Duncan Smith argued that Britain would be able to negotiate a full free trade deal with the EU that still allowed it to control its borders.

Such a deal has never been granted by the bloc, which gives access to the single market to Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland but with membership of the Schengen passport-free area intact. 

“The trade deal is very simple: that we would want them to be able to access out market freely without special and extra tariffs, we would want to be able to access their marketplace,” he said.

He went on to describe such a deal as “very doable”.

The Britain Stronger In Europe campaign group launched a new dossier this morning which it says purports to show disagreement between eurosceptics about what the UK leaving the EU would look like.

David Cameron this weekend argued that leaving the EU would be a “leap in the dark” while George Osborne said Brexit would cause “profound economic shocks”.

Mr Duncan Smith criticised those arguments as reflecting a “low opinion of the British people”.

The in-out referendum on EU membership is set to take place on 23 June.