By Jonathan Davies

It would be a "disaster" for both parties if the UK decided to leave the European Union, according to an EU commissioner.

When asked if it would be a disaster if the UK left the EU, EU Trade Commissioner Cecila Malmstroem said: "Yes. For us and for you."

The Conservative party has promised to hold an in-out referendum on the UK's membership with the European Union, if it wins the general election in May. The referendum would only take place once David Cameron had tried to re-negotiate the terms of the UK's membership.

Ms Malstroem's comments come as a surprise to many, given that EU commissioners are usually very coy on the issue. They normally say 'it is matter for the British people' and not much else.

The commissioner is the in the UK to brief ministers on the progress on the EU-US trade deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Ahead of the meeting, Business Secretary Vince Cable said he disliked "the level of secrecy that has surrounded the transatlantic trade deal so far".

He added: "I will be working to ensure all British interests are protected and that the deal can be properly scrutinised."

"We must also clearly demonstrate that the NHS and our public services are protected as a priority. The EU has recently given us very strong assurances that TTIP would not in any way endanger them. I want to see that reflected in the treaty drafting."

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