Published: 00:00, 12 June 2016
| Updated: 09:35, 12 June 2016
The Archbishop of Canterbury has sensationally thrown his weight behind the campaign to remain in the EU.
Admitting that he is likely to face a backlash for taking sides, the head of the Church of England has announced he will vote to stay in on June 23.
The Most Reverend Justin Welby today warns against “succumbing to our worst instincts” over immigration.
Britain should be a “country for the world,” he writes in the Mail on Sunday, with a “vision of peace and reconciliation, of being builders of bridges, not barriers”.
"It is not said with the desire to tell others how to vote," he says.
"In no sense do I have some divine hotline to the right answer. We each have to make up our own minds.
"But for my part, based on what I have said and on what I have experienced I shall vote to remain.”
The cleric hit the headlines last week when he clashed publicly with Ukip leader Nigel Farage, accusing him of deliberate attempts to fuel racism.
Farage had retaliated, calling him a “bad archbishop” who “turned a blind eye” to immigration.
Mr Welby admits the migration issue is “a major concern for very many people” in today’s article.
"But we must not succumb to our worst instincts,” he writes.
“The language in the campaign has been very blunt, but this is the question of a generation, and merits passionate campaigning."
He also concedes that the EU needs "renewed vision" and "major reforms”.
But the institution remains partly responsible for the maintenance of peace in Europe since the conclusion of the Second world War, he says.
“The most probable economic effect of leaving would be negative in the short to medium term”, he adds.
"Prosperity should not be the final aim for us, but the lack of it affects what we can do as a nation, how we are able to care for those in need here and elsewhere."
He also says: "To be a country for the world is part of the calling of being British.
"Economics are massively important, so is migration, but they are not every-thing, although they are the signs of the values we have."
More by this authorChris Pragnell