British official: Staying in EU ‘exposes UK to terror risk’

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A British official said staying in the European Union makes the UK vulnerable to terror attacks, a direct contradiction of comments made by Prime Minister David Cameron.

“I think the present status of the open border we have right now many of us feel does actually leave that door open (to Paris-style terror attacks) and we need to see that resolved,” Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith told the BBC.

Iain Duncan Smith. /Dave Thompson/PA
Iain Duncan Smith. /Dave Thompson/PA

Cameron has insisted that the UK is “safer and stronger” in the EU and that leaving the union would “be a leap in the dark.”

“This open border does not allow us to check and control people that may come and spend time,” Duncan Smith said.

“We’ve seen what happened in Paris where they spent ages planning and plotting so who’s to say it’s not beyond the wit of man that those might already be thinking about that.”

Duncan Smith also said proposals for an “emergency brake” on migrants’ benefits would do little to curb the number of people coming to the UK.

Benefit payments were a “small” pull factor but control of the UK’s borders was more significant and a “glaring area” that needed addressing, he said.

Cameron has appealed to senior Conservative MP and London mayor Boris Johnson, who is expected to that he will vote to leave the EU, to back the campaign to stay.

Meanwhile, Tory London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith said he would campaign for exit in the June 23 referendum.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said a vote to leave the EU would mean the UK was “in charge of our own country.”