PULLING out of the European Union would be “seriously damaging” to Oxfordshire’s economy, the Business Secretary Vince Cable told the Oxford Mail yesterday.

Speaking before addressing students at Lady Margaret Hall, the Liberal Democrat MP said: “An ‘out’ vote would be seriously damaging indeed.

“I don’t think it’s likely that it will happen and all three party leaders have to varying degrees shown their support for staying in, but the mere risk of an out vote would be bad news for Britain, and for Oxfordshire.

“If there was one, it would cause massive insecurity and instability.”

He played down concerns that European firms like BMW and Siemens, both of which have major operations in Oxfordshire, felt uncomfortable about anti-EU sentiment in Britain.

He said: “I think most people discount it. It’s always the way that people are, pro or anti, it’s how democracy works.”

But he added: “If a no vote was to happen it would be disruptive for firms like BMW, which would worry if the single market was going to remain intact.”

Mr Cable also met students at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College and business leaders in Abingdon and called in at Oxford Brookes University’s Wheatley campus, where he visited the engineering department and talked to the team behind the Isis 12 racing car.

Mr Cable, second left, is pictured talking to driver George Simmons, second right.