The Archbishop of Canterbury has thrown his weight behind the campaign to remain in the EU, saying Britain should be "a country for the world".

Warning against "succumbing to our worst instincts" over immigration, t he Most Rev Justin Welby said he would vote to stay in on June 23 to avert economic damage that could harm the poorest.

The head of the Church of England, writing in the Mail on Sunday, said he had no "divine hotline" and that he expected to receive abuse for taking a position in the fraught national debate.

But he said " a vision of peace and reconciliation, of being builders of bridges, not barriers" was one of the principles at the heart of the country's Christian heritage.

"It is not said with the desire to tell others how to vote," he wrote.

"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.

"I hope and pray that the result will be reached with the aim of a good Britain in a good Europe, whether as part of the EU or not. I pray that each person's vote will be based on generosity, hope, confidence.

"I pray that we will then reunite with immense determination to be a gift to the world of today and to future generations.

The cleric has clashed publicly with Nigel Farage over what he says are the Ukip leader's deliberate attempts to stir up racism - leading the politician to call him a "bad archbishop" who "turned a blind eye" to threats from migrants.

In his article, Mr Welby recognised the issue was " a major concern for very many people" that had to be addressed.

"But we must not succumb to our worst instincts. The language in the campaign has been very blunt, but this is the question of a generation, and merits passionate campaigning."

He insisted he had "huge respect for politicians on both sides as they seek to put their case, a case in which they genuinely believe, and which they know matters hugely".

The EU " needs renewed vision; major reforms", he conceded, but remained in part responsible for the maintenance of peace on the continent since 1945 which was "the greatest cause for thankfulness that we can imagine".

He said it " seems likely that the most probable economic effect of leav