Gordon Brown steps up for Labour fightback against Brexit
Ahead of his big speech, the ex-Labour leader went to Coventry cathedral to eulogise about 'a Europe at peace'.
Gordon Brown is making the case later for Britain "leading, not leaving" the European Union, as Labour voices make a fresh push to take centre stage in the Remain campaign.
Brown’s speech today has been heavily endorsed by Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Tom Watson and Alan Johnson.
It has been described by party sources - and by the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign - as the first part of a "Labour fightback" against Brexit, amid concerns that the party’s supporters will not vote in sufficient numbers for Remain.
In his speech, the former prime minister says: “From now until 10pm on 23 June, we will not rest and I will not stop explaining why nine million Labour voters have most to gain from remaining in the EU.
“Today I am setting out a positive agenda for Labour voters - reasons why Labour voters should vote Remain and the patriotic case for remaining in Europe.
“Voting to Remain is about a positive, stronger future and is the alternative to a Tory Brexit. It is stronger for jobs, for rights at work and maintaining a British voice on the world stage.
“But we shouldn’t just be a member of the European Union. We must be the leader of the European Union.
“Europe has been responsible for the social chapter which has guaranteed maternity pay, holiday pay, a maximum working week, rights of consultation for workers and rights to be transferred when the company you work for is taken over.”
The former prime minister has also filmed a video in the ruins of Coventry cathedral, which was bombed by Nazi warplanes 75 years ago but has since been restored.
He states: “For a 1,00 years and more, the nations of Europe at war with each other, murdering and maiming each other. In every century but this one, the nations of Europe vying for supremacy. In generation nation but this one, our people dying.
“And now a Europe at peace. A Europe where decisions are made by dialogue, discussion and debate. A Europe where the only battle is the battle of ideas. A Europe where we fight with arguments and not with armaments.
“A Europe that is at peace because of what Britain did to establish freedom across the whole of the continent.”
Also today, Hillary Benn declared that the referendum is reaching its “defining moment”. The shadow foreign secretary said: “The Brexit train is threatening to pull away from the station with Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in charge, taking us down a track that can only lead to disaster.”
But rivals have dismissed the latest efforts. Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who is part of Vote Leave, said: “Labour voters have seen through the spin of the Government which is why they are rejecting the IN campaign and no amount of hastily cobbled together relaunches will change that.
“As my own experience with the EU constitution taught me, Brussels only heads in one direction seizing more power and money from member states at every opportunity."