29/03/2016 16:36 BST | Updated 29/03/2016 16:38 BST

Nicky Morgan Says Young People Should Vote To Stay In EU For The 'Inter-Railing And Backpacking'

Education Secretary earns comparisons to The Thick of It's Nicola Murray

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has risked the wrath of satirists by claiming young people should vote to stay in the European Union so they can go “inter-railing, backpacking or city hopping” hassle-free.

The Cabinet minister’s intervention in the EU referendum debate prompted comparisons to The Thick Of It’s Nicola Murray after essaying how travelling around the continent is a “rite of passage before they settle down into adult life”.

The centrepiece of her argument is that a vote for “Brexit” would prompt a “lost generation” thanks to denting job prospects once no longer part of the 28-bloc union - a claim hotly-disputed by eurosceptics.

While also arguing young people could have as big an influence on the outcome of the EU referendum as they did over the same-sex-marriage vote in Ireland, some questioned whether she was over-reaching herself.

During one section of the speech at the Fashion Retail Academy in London, she argued the case for remaining in the EU based on not having to apply for a “myriad of visas and entry requirements” and the European Health Insurance Card providing free healthcare.

Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan gives a speech on 'Young people's opportunities and Europe' at the Fashion Retail Academy in London

She said: “Then there are the opportunities to travel.

“For many young people travelling around the continent is a rite of passage before they settle down into adult life.

“Whether it’s inter-railing, backpacking or city hopping.”

Being in the EU “makes it easier and safer to travel around the countries of Europe”, she said.

The minister further claimed EU membership made travel cheaper - again disputed - and pointed to the cost of flights falling 40% and mobile roaming charges being scrapped completely in the next year.

“Meaning there’s no excuse not to make that call home,” she concluded.