A vote to leave the European Union could spell "the end of Britain as we know it" with the potential for the break-up of the United Kingdom, former Labour frontbencher Tristram Hunt has warned.

The ex-shadow education secretary accused the Brexit camp of being "cavalier with the future of our country", stressing how a second Scottish independence referendum would be certain to follow a Leave vote on June 23.

The Staffordshire MP joins a number of senior politicians, including Sir John Major, Tony Blair, William Hague and Nick Clegg, to warn of the potential constitutional consequences of a Brexit vote.

Earlier this month while campaigning in Suffolk, David Cameron, for the first time, flagged up the suggestion that a vote to leave the EU could put the Union “under question again”, noting: “If, like me, you care about keeping our United Kingdom together, that is yet another reason to vote for staying in a reformed EU, rather than having uncertainty and instability in the relationships inside the United Kingdom."

In an article for the left-wing New Statesman magazine, Mr Hunt wrote: "In this age of volatile political fragmentation our own Union is itself under pretty severe stress.

"So I am staggered that anyone would choose to be so cavalier with the future of our country. If English votes pull Britain out of the EU against the settled will of the Welsh and Scottish people, this is the end of Britain as we know it. Another Scottish referendum would be called as surely as night follows day."

He argued that even when the United Kingdom itself faced an uncertain future, there was a need to stand up and renew the ties that bind.

“To walk away from Europe in its latest hour of need would be an entirely self-defeating dereliction of duty and history; a betrayal of our traditional role as a force for peace, security and the proper balance of powers,” insisted Mr Hunt in the article, written in response to Justice Secretary Michael Gove's reasoning behind his support for Brexit.

Describing the desire for Britain to leave the EU as the politics of defeat and the philosophy of decline, the Stoke MP added: “We must resist those siren voices and lead both ourselves and the continent towards a more open, liberal, democratic, freer, fairer and stronger future."