Gordon Brown has waded into the European Union referendum debate, calling on the remain camp to make a more positive case for staying in.
Implicitly criticising the negative tone of those campaigning to keep Britain in the EU, the former Labour prime minister and MP said he wanted to make a “positive, principled, patriotic case” for a continuation of Britain’s 43-year-old links with the bloc.
Brown said Britain should be leading in Europem not leaving it, and added that his intervention at a Centre for European Reform event in London on Thursday evening would be the first of a series over the coming weeks. He played a key role in increasing support for a no vote in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.
“I intend to make the positive, principled, patriotic case with all the passion I can for Britain being part of the European Union,” Brown said. “This is particularly important to win over the Labour and non-Conservative vote who are unhappy with the status quo.”
Labour voters are seen as vital if the knife-edge referendum on 23 June is to be won by the remain side.
Brown made it clear that he was uneasy with the way in which the argument had been framed in terms of warnings about the economic consequences of leaving the EU.
“While it is, of course, our duty to point out the risks from leaving, voters need positive reasons showing how Europe can improve their livelihoods, their environment and their children’s future prospects,” he said.
The former prime minister added that his speeches over coming weeks will put positive arguments and make the case for the benefits of cooperation for jobs, fairness in tax and security.
The chancellor, George Osborne, claimed this week that, based on an analysis by the Treasury, the British government would lose out on tens of billions of pounds in tax receipts and the economy would be more than 6% smaller in the event of a vote to leave the EU.
This article was written by Larry Elliott, for theguardian.com on Thursday 21st April 2016 19.07 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010