Leaving the EU would be 'a big mistake', say Cameron and Osborne

David Cameron and George Osborne have issued an impassioned appeal for a vote to Remain in Thursday's EU referendum, warning that leaving the single market would be "a big mistake" and put Britain's prosperity at risk.

With campaigning in the referendum set to resume on Sunday following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox on Thursday, Mr Osborne - who will appear on Peston on Sunday later, along with Nigel Farage and David Cameron's former adviser Steve Hilton - said he hoped the debate could be conducted in a "less divisive tone" in the final days before polling.

A tribute to murdered MP Jo Cox Credit: PA

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, he said: "Let's have less inflammatory rhetoric and baseless assertion, and more facts and reasoned argument."

The Chancellor said it was "deeply troubling" that the Leave camp continued to ignore the warnings of independent experts like the IMF about the threat to the economy, but pro-Brexit Justice Secretary Michael Gove insisted Britain would thrive outside the EU.

His comments were in sharp contrast to Mr Cameron who warned that the country was facing an "an existential choice" from which there would be "no turning back".

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said the economy "hangs in the balance", with trade and investment set to suffer, in the event of a vote for Leave, a "probable recession" that would leave Britain "permanently poorer".

In an interview with the Sunday Times he criticised Mr Gove and Boris Johnson for urging voters to ignore the advice of economic experts.

Michael Gove (left) and Boris Johnson (right) are campaigning for Britain to Leave the EU. Credit: PA

His warning was echoed by Mr Osborne who pointed to the latest warning from the IMF that 440,000 jobs could be lost if Britain made "the most terrible mistake" of withdrawing from the EU.

"I say to people weighing up how to vote on Thursday. Stop and think. If there's any doubt in your mind, don't take the risk with an irreversible vote to Leave," he wrote.

While Mr Gove acknowledged there were risks in leaving the EU, he insisted he did not believe a vote for Out on Thursday would plunge the country into recession.