“Weaker, less safe and worse off” – this is Britain if we leave the EU, according to the government

Government begins internal war of words as EU referendum looms

The UK will be “weaker, less safe and worse off” if Britons vote to leave the EU in June, the government has warned.

In the first state analysis of the UK’s EU membership since the referendum was announced, the assessment aims to influence voters support for the EU in the hope of growing support for the Union, which is currently split down the middle.

But the government’s analysis has already caused a rift among senior Tory MPs.

In the blue corner, Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond, who is campaigning with the government, said a victory for the Leave campaign would result in a “messy” divorce from the EU for the UK.

Launching the report today, Hammond will say: “Our special status gives us the best of both worlds: in the parts of Europe that work for us, but outside those that don’t.”

But over in the other blue corner, euro-sceptic Work and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith accused his fellow Conservative MPs of producing a “dodgy dossier”.

“We will have a settlement on our own terms - and one that will return control of our borders, and money to Britain. That’s the safer choice.

“This dodgy dossier won’t fool anyone,” he said, adding that the “real uncertainty is the future of the EU project”.

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