FARMING in Wales would collapse if the UK voted to leave the EU and it is "absolutely essential" for the economy that we stay in Europe, the Welsh first minister said today.

Carwyn Jones AM said during first minister's questions at the Senedd that a UK exit could trigger a constitutional crisis, adding: "Not being part of a larger market would be exceptionally difficult for the welsh economy to cope with."

He said Wales would stand to lose at least £150 million a year in spending power and around 150,000 jobs which depend on free access to European markets would be affected.

"Farming of course gets £200 million a year from the EU without which farming in Wales would collapse - it would not exist."

Last week an extra £2 billion of EU investment in Wales until 2020 was announced, targeting the most deprived communities.

Mr Jones AM said one of the main questions he was asked on a recent visit to India was regarding UK membership of the EU.

Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru, said: "It would be wholly unacceptable for Wales to be dragged out of the EU against the will of the people."

She suggested legislation requiring a majority vote in each of the UK's four nations before any possible exit should be introduced.

Mr Jones added: "I don't think the UK will leave the EU. When people are not sure of something they tend to stick with the status quo."

But he said if it happened on the basis of English votes, it would prompt "a constitutional crisis the likes of which we have never seen. I think in Scotland it would lead to demands for another referendum because one of the issues causing people to vote no was uncertainty over EU membership."

He added that the EU had been an important part of the Northern Irish peace process.

But he deflected calls for a cross-party response, saying: "We have to see if there will be a referendum."