BLAIR, BROWN LEAD IN U.K. ‘RE­MAIN’ CAM­PAIGN

Business Mirror - - THE WORLD - Bloomberg News

SIX for­mer United King­dom Labour Party lead­ers, in­clud­ing for­mer Prime Min­is­ters Tony Blair and Gor­don Brown, on Satur­day urged the Bri­tish to vote in fa­vor of re­main­ing in the Euro­pean Union (EU) in the June 23 ref­er­en­dum.

UK mem­ber­ship in the EU has pro­vided job pro­tec­tion, lower prices and sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits for work­ing peo­ple, the lead­ers said on Satur­day in a joint state­ment.

The six, which also in­cluded Neil Kin­nock, Mar­garet Beck­ett, Har­riet Harman and Ed Miliband, spoke as the party be­gan a drive to reg­is­ter peo­ple be­fore Tues­day’s dead­line.

“Europe pro­tects peo­ple at work, stim­u­lates jobs and in­no­va­tion, keeps prices lower, leads global ac­tion against cli­mate change, makes us safer against ter­ror­ism, and mag­ni­fies Bri­tain’s voice and val­ues,” the lead­ers said. “We un­der­stand our party’s value and its peo­ple. Each are strength­ened by Bri­tain be­ing in Europe.”

Polls have sug­gested the bat­tle is tightening ahead of the vote on a so­called Brexit, or Bri­tain exit from the EU, and that warn­ings by the gov­ern­ment, led by Con­ser­va­tive Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron, about the threat to the econ­omy aren’t hav­ing an im­pact.

While the “Re­main” side has con­cen­trated on say­ing jobs will be lost if Bri­tain ex­its, the “Leave” side has fought on immigration.

Labour lead­ers will ap­pear on Sun­day at ral­lies across Bri­tain, with Kin­nock head­lin­ing an event in Lon­don.

“If Labour stays at home, Bri­tain leaves,” the lead­ers said. “And a vote to leave is a vote for a pro­found and per­ma­nent loss the whole coun­try would feel, whether through lost jobs or lost gen­er­a­tions.”

UK De­fense Sec­re­tary Michael Fal­lon on Satur­day said the prospect of with­draw­ing from the EU is caus­ing con­cerns among his coun­ter­parts in Asia, where he was tak­ing part in the 12-na­tion ShangriLa Di­a­logue in Sin­ga­pore.

“I’ve yet to meet with a fel­low de­fense min­is­ter who isn’t con­cerned at the pos­si­bil­ity of a Brexit and who doesn’t un­der­stand that that would weaken our col­lec­tive se­cu­rity,” Fal­lon told reporters on the side­lines of the se­cu­rity fo­rum.

“It would be a very odd thing for Bri­tain to start walk­ing out of in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions,” he said. “On the con­trary, I think many coun­tries still look to Bri­tain to lead, or be­hind the scenes to steer, many of th­ese group­ings.”

A leader of the Leave cam­paign, Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Michael Gove, de­fended the group’s as­ser­tions about the costs of mem­ber­ship, as he was ac­cused of run­ning “Project Lies.”

Ap­pear­ing on a Sky News tele­vi­sion spe­cial on Friday night, Gove was chal­lenged re­peat­edly about Vote Leave’s state­ment that the UK sends £350 mil­lion ($500 mil­lion) a week to the EU, with the first ques­tioner from the au­di­ence us­ing the phrase “Project Lies” fre­quently. The fig­ure has been called “mis­lead­ing” by the UK Sta­tis­tics Au­thor­ity and “ab­surd” by the In­sti­tute for Fis­cal Stud­ies.

“We give more than £350 mil­lion to Brussels,” Gove said. “Now we do get some of that money back. It’s im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge that. But the truth is that we can­not count on that re­bate. I fear that if we vote to re­main, that re­bate will only be re­duced fur­ther.”

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