Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith Getty

Iain Duncan Smith said David Cameron and George Osborne believe Britain is "too small, too little, toon inconsequential" to succeed outside the European Union. The work and pensions secretary said the "In" campaign relied on pessimistic forecasts of life outside the EU and that a Brexit would be actually be a "stride into the light".

Duncan Smith stands alongside John Whittingdale, Theresa Villiers, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling, and Priti Patel - as well as Boris Johnson - in wanting to leave the EU. Speaking on the Andrew Marr show he said the prime minister and chancellor had downplayed Britain's aspirations.

"I have never heard such a lot of pessimistic, downsizing of Britain's aspects," Duncan Smith said. "Britain is a phenomenal country, the fifth largest in the world. It has stood alone and fought for freedom. It has traded it has been global trader, it can yet again be a global trader.

"Why would we have such a low opinion of the British people that we go out a talk about leaping into he dark? We talk about profound shocks we talk about them not being capable, that we're too small. I have a different view. Britain is a great country. The people here are inventive, innovative, and they will find a way with us to have a real deal that gives Britain access to the world and Europe.

Cameron has warned the country would be heading into the unknown if Britain left the union while Osborne said last week that it would be an "enormous gamble".

IDS, however, took a different view: "For all those people who say it is a leap into the dark I say it is a stride into the light. I think it is about hope versus pessimism and I think people will vote for that."

He said the European Union would be "desperate" to trade with Britain even if it walked away from the EU. The Eurosceptic said the continent has a "distinct desire" to trade with Britain. "That's a fact of life it does not matter in or out, we are going to trade with the European Union," he told the show.

Europeans believe in the EU "project", Duncan Smith said, while Britons did not and levers of power on migration would be in the nation's hands, he added, not the EU's.

"The prime minister says there is a challenge to what life outside looks like, my answer to this challenge is very simple: we do a deal with the European Union. That is a trade deal. It is about access to our markets, access to theirs. Part of our red lines will be about us being able to control borders as we want. We want migration but we want it as controlled migration so that we can cope with it and that deal is very doable."