The UK faces an “existential choice” in the EU referendum from which there would be “no turning back”, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
Mr Cameron said choosing to leave the EU in Thursday’s vote would be a “big mistake” and lead to” “debilitating uncertainty” for up to a decade.
However, Member of Parliament, Michael Gove said the UK could become a “progressive beacon” by leaving the EU.
The Leave campaigner urged people to “vote for democracy”.
Mr Cameron said the EU vote was the “ultimate democracy” and represented what Labour MP Jo Cox, who was killed on Thursday in her West Yorkshire constituency, had stood for.
Reports said Mr Cameron, who is campaigning for Remain, said Mrs Cox had “embodied Britain at her best – a country that is decent and compassionate”.
The “irreversible” referendum was a “watershed moment” for the UK and a question “about the kind of country we want to be”, he said.
“Are we going to choose Nigel Farage’s vision – one which takes Britain backwards; divides rather than unites; and questions the motives of anyone who takes a different view,” Mr Cameron stated.
“Or will we, instead, choose the tolerant, liberal Britain; a country that doesn’t blame its problems on other groups of people; one that doesn’t pine for the past, but looks to the future with hope, optimism and confidence? I think the answer will determine what our country feels like for a very long time.”
The PM said the economy “hangs in the balance”, with trade and investment set to suffer in the event of a vote for Leave and a “probable recession” that would leave Britain “permanently poorer”.
“Debilitating uncertainty perhaps for a decade until things were sorted. Higher prices, lower wages, fewer jobs, fewer opportunities for young people… How could we knowingly vote for that? I say: don’t risk it,” he stated.
Leaving the EU would also be a “one-off and permanent diminution in Britain’s standing in the world; an abject and self-imposed humiliation,” he argued.
Mr Cameron also said he understood “concerns about immigration” but said leaving the EU would be the “wrong way” to deal with the issue.
Mr Gove appealed for confidence in a future country wholly run by elected MPs.
“People should vote for democracy and Britain should vote for hope,” he said.
He also rejected the suggestion leaving the EU would cause a recession: “There are economic risks if we leave, economic risks if we remain,” he told the paper.
“My argument is that whatever happens in the future, an independent Britain will be better able to cope with those strains.”