All six former leaders of the Labour Party have come together to say that Britain is stronger in Europe, and that the EU stands for the same values that Labour represents.
In an unprecedented intervention, the six – Neil Kinnock, Margaret Beckett, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband – have united to give a joint statement “urging every person who seeks a progressive future for Britain to Vote Remain on June 23rd.”
They argue that the EU has delivered significant benefits for working people, including more jobs, protections at work, and lower prices. If we remain in Europe, these benefits will continue to pay dividends for British people. If we leave, they say: “Labour communities would suffer most: from spending cuts, neglect for the needy and a bonfire of workers’ rights”.
It comes as Labour join the other political parties in urging people to register to vote in the referendum before the deadline on Tuesday. Labour politicians will take place in rallies across Britain, with Neil Kinnock speaking at the main event in London tomorrow.
The full text of the letter reads:
“Labour's values are inherent to Europe's virtues.
“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 in the world.
“By strengthening working people's wellbeing through common endeavour, our Party's founding purpose is aligned with Europe.
“But make no mistake: this would be lost if we leave. Labour communities would face a double threat: the return of recession, led by a Tory Government with an emboldened right wing.
“In such circumstances Labour communities would suffer most: from spending cuts, neglect for the needy and a bonfire of workers' rights.
“Those Labour seeks to represent - the hardworking, ambitious majority - have the most to lose if we leave. But also the most to gain if we Remain.
“A Britain stronger in Europe can be our future: leading and shaping our world; spreading opportunities by being in the world's largest trading market; investing in our children; protecting our identity but pursuing our interests and ideas in equal measure in a globalised world.
“This should be our future. But we need to vote for it. If Labour stays at home, Britain leaves. 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. Only Labour can save Britain from Brexit.
“We have each seen the benefits of Europe. More importantly, as those who have led Labour, we understand our party's values and its people. Each are strengthened by Britain being in Europe.
“That’s why we join with our present Leadership in urging every person who seeks a progressive future for Britain to Vote Remain on June 23rd”.