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Leaving EU would liberate UK, Gove says

Justice Secretary Michael Gove

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Mr Gove will warn of further powers being lost to European institutions

Quitting the EU would be an act of liberation and patriotic renewal, Michael Gove is to say, as the war of the words in the debate intensifies.

The justice secretary, who backs EU exit, will accuse those who want to stay of treating voters “like children who can be frightened into obedience”.

It follows Treasury forecasts an exit could cost households £4,300 a year.

Mr Gove will warn of a further loss of powers to Europe in areas such as tax and asylum if the UK stays in the EU.

He is expected to use a speech in London later to set out his vision of what the country would look like in the event of a Leave vote.

‘Empowering moment’

He will describe a vote to leave as a “galvanising, liberating, empowering moment of patriotic renewal”.

In contrast, he will suggest a vote to remain would effectively maroon the UK within the EU, where it would have to accept further political and financial integration.

The Leave campaign’s backers include Mayor of London Boris Johnson and UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

In the run-up to the 23 June referendum, it is making the case for what it says is the greater democratic control and enhanced sovereignty that leaving the EU would bring.

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Leave campaigners have urged supporters to show “common cause”

In a show of unity on the Leave side, Mr Farage shared a platform with Conservative cabinet minister Chris Grayling at a Grassroots Out rally on Monday evening.

Mr Grayling urged Leave campaigners to put aside party differences and show “common cause”.

The Remain campaign, which is backed by the government, is continuing to focus on the economic risks of leaving, in what BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said was a no holds-barred effort to appeal to the wallets of undecided voters.

Analysis by the Treasury released on Monday, warning that the UK economy could be 6% smaller by 2030 by leaving the EU rather than staying, has driven a further wedge between the Remain and Leave camps.

Media captionGeorge Osborne: ‘Britain poorer outside the EU’

Chancellor George Osborne has said exiting the EU could leave an estimated £36bn hole in the public finances – equivalent to an 8p rise in the basic rate of income tax.

Speaking on ITV’s The Agenda he said: “Let’s be clear, Britain would be poorer. Don’t pretend that the economy won’t suffer.”

But Leave campaigners say the projections are based on assumptions that net migration to Britain – currently more than 300,000 a year – would remain unchanged in the coming years at levels which they say are unsustainable.

In his speech, Mr Gove is expected to add: “If we vote to remain, the EU’s bosses and bureaucrats will take that as carte blanche to continue taking more power and money away from Britain.

‘Shut up’

“We’ll be told by Brussels to ‘shut up and suck up’.”

He will say that, in the face of a “permanent and unstoppable majority” of Eurozone countries, the concessions secured for the UK by David Cameron – such as an opt-out from ever-closer union and safeguards for countries outside the single currency – will do little to protect the country.

The Remain campaign has been branded “Project Fantasy” by its opponents for its alleged lack of economic clarity but Mr Gove will hit back, accusing opponents of “wanting us to believe that Britain is broken and beaten”.

Media captionBoris Johnson: Treasury estimate is ‘wrong’

“It treats people like mere children, capable of being frightened into obedience by conjuring up new bogeymen every night.”

The Remain campaign received a boost on Monday evening when the National Farmers Union said it was in the “best interests” of its members for the UK to remain in the EU – although it said there were diverging views and it would not actively campaign in the referendum.

MPs on the Commons Environmental Audit Committee have also signalled that EU membership has benefited environmental protection in the UK, helping improve air and water quality although former Conservative minister Peter Lilley has said their report is flawed.

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