- David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Sir John Major unite to say Britain is stronger in Europe.
- An unprecedented coalition of people from all sectors and all walks of life support Britain remaining in the European Union.
- Overwhelming numbers of academics and scientists, economic experts, health and medical professions, the leads of NGOs and charities, businesspeople, environmentalists, senior military and security figures, trades unions, farmers and faith leaders all support Britain remaining in.
On the day that the British people vote in the most important decision for a generation, Britain Stronger In Europe unveils the most overwhelming coalition of support behind a campaign in British political history.
Political leaders from all parties, former Prime Ministers, and experts and campaigners from every sector and walk of life, have united to say that Britain is stronger, safer and better off in Europe, while leaving would be an irreversible leap in the dark.
And they urge voters to go to the polls today to keep Britain a decent, tolerant nation, rejecting the false promises and divisive rhetoric of the Leave campaign.
David Cameron said:
"Britain will have a stronger, brighter and more secure future in the European Union.
"Today we have assembled the biggest coalition of support in history - from businesses, to trade unions to expert economists and across political parties - for a vote to remain.
"Quitting Europe is a risk to your family's future because a vote to leave on Thursday means there is no going back on Friday. Vote Remain."
Gordon Brown said:
“If we want to create more jobs, better-paid jobs and higher-quality jobs, and if we want to keep protecting the rights of British workers, there is no road to the future that does not go through Europe.”
“But the vote tomorrow is about more than that. It is a momentous, generation-defining decision about what kind of country we are and what kind of future we offer our children.
“Britain should be leading in Europe, not leaving it.”
Tony Blair said:
“Britain faces a historic choice between prosperity, influence and security as part of Europe, or a reckless leap in the dark and years of damaging uncertainty.
“If we vote to leave, there is no going back.
“Voting Remain will secure Britain’s place as a proud, influential country with a strong economy and a bright future.”
Sir John Major said:
“Our international prestige, our security and wellbeing are all enhanced inside Europe.
“It is patriotic to work with others to ensure our security, improve our economic wellbeing and carry British influence around Europe and the world.
“Tomorrow – millions of our fellow citizens can save our country from a mistake we would live to regret for a very long time to come.”
Carwyn Jones, Labour First Minister of Wales, and Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru, said:
“Labour and Plaid Cymru firmly agree that it is better for Wales to play an active part in Europe, rather than sitting on the sidelines. European funding is playing key role in regenerating our communities and funding future projects - as well as supporting training and opportunities for our young people. We should not put that at risk.
“The Wales that we believe in, is a Wales that is outward-looking and confident. We totally reject the scaremongering and fear being whipped up by the Leave campaign and urge voters to give our children and grandchildren the best chance for a secure, prosperous future inside the EU.”
Mona Siddiqui, Chair of Scotland Stronger In Europe, said:
"Scotland is better for being in the European Union - it helps us create more jobs, a stronger economy, and guarantees vital rights for working people and citizens. A vote for Remain is for economic security, social justice and going forward as an outward looking nation."
Tom Kelly, Chair of Northern Ireland Stronger In Europe, said:
“We have a choice on Thursday –we can either be confident, inclusive and together or isolated, divided and insular. I know the future I want for the next generation and it’s not one behind borders and barriers -mental or physical between countries or people.
“Here in Northern Ireland we have seen the benefits of what can be achieved when people work together and I believe we have a positive role to play and a bright future -working together in the European Union.”
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“This vote is the biggest decision of a generation and the evidence clearly shows we should be voting to remain.
“By staying in Europe we secure a chance to make the EU work better for British people, defend hard won protections at work and continue to play a part in the fight against climate change.
“By leaving we take a gamble with the economy – and put people at risk.
“Britain is fairer, safe and greener in Europe.”
Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:
"Tomorrow is about the future of Britain as an outstanding, outward-looking and tolerant nation.
"This is the biggest decision of a generation.
"Our children and grandchildren will have to live with its consequences - for their jobs, hopes and
future prospects. For all their sakes we are Stronger In."
Stuart Rose, Chairman of Britain Stronger In Europe, said:
“From businesses to trade unions, and academics to farmers, representatives from every part of our society are united in saying that British families are better off in Europe.
“Leaving would be a one-way ticket to a poorer and diminished Britain.
“Vote Remain for more jobs, lower prices, workers’ rights, stronger public services and a decent, tolerant United Kingdom.”
Trevor Phillips, former Chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, said:
“Britain has always been at its best not on its own, but as the leader of an alliance of diverse nations and peoples working together.
“The Leave campaign are asking us to take a step backwards into being more isolated, inward-looking and insular country.
“A vote to remain will secure our place as a beacon of tolerance, freedom and equality in the world.”
Brendan Barber, former General-Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said:
“This is a once in a generation choice and workers’ rights, jobs and wages are all on the line.
“A vote to Remain will mean a brighter future for working people across Britain, with more jobs created and vital rights at work protected.”
Sir Richard Branson said:
“As an entrepreneur I have been known for taking risks throughout my career, but leaving the European Union is not one of the risks I would want the UK to take – not as an investor, not as a father and not as a grandfather. I am deeply concerned about the impact of leaving.
“We must vote to remain in the European Union and avoid becoming Little England again.”
Shami Chakrabarti, former director of Liberty, said:
“Tomorrow we all face a stark and irreversible choice about what kind of country we want to be.
“This is our chance to reject division, isolationism and blame, and choose an open, tolerant United Kingdom at the heart of Europe.”
Sir Hugh Orde, former President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said:
“For Britain’s security, this is the biggest decision our country has had to make for a generation.
“As part of Europe, our country is better protected against crime and terrorism, as we can quickly and simply share intelligence with our European allies, co-operate with them in joint operations, and easily extradite suspects across the continent.
“Leaving is an irreversible step that would throw these crucial tools away. We shouldn’t risk it.”
Sir Nicholas Soames, Conservative MP for Mid Sussex, said:
“My grandfather, Sir Winston Churchill, knew we could not cut ourselves off from Europe. To do so would be always to lessen our influence and heighten the risk of conflict and instability amongst our near neighbours in our world.
“Britain is a great nation, and to cut ourselves off from the world would be a betrayal of our long history. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, I urge the nation to vote to remain in Europe.”
Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, said:
“We live in a world where we need international agreements to confront international crises and challenges – political, environmental, economic, humanitarian. If the EU didn’t exist (imperfect as it may be), we’d have to invent it: our problems in the UK are not just ours, and we are not and should not be insulated from the problems of the rest of the continent and the world.”
June Sarpong, member of the Britain Stronger In Europe board, said:
“Our culture and society are all enriched by being part of Europe.
“This decision is not about Britain’s past, it’s about our future.
“A vote to remain will mean more opportunities, more jobs and a brighter future for people across the UK.”
Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth, said:
“The EU has been good for our environment; leading to cleaner beaches, water and air, and the protection of some of our most precious wildlife.
“This generation faces huge challenges, from climate change to air pollution, which cannot be dealt with by one country alone.
“The best way to protect our environment for future generations is to work together across Europe.”
Sir Peter Kendall, former President of the National Farmers Union, said:
“This is a crucial moment for the future of British farming and those looking to build a career in agriculture.
"Having access to the single market - our home market of 500 million customers - is critical to the long term prosperity of farmers across the country.
“I believe Britain's farmers are stronger, safer and better off in the EU."
Britain Stronger In Europe has received unprecedented support from all sectors and all walks of life:
Academics, Scientists and Students:
As soon as the referendum date was announced, 100 academics led by Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, President, Universities UK, and the Vice Chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge wrote to the Times to highlight “vital role the EU plays in supporting our world-class universities”
This was followed by a letter from 150 members of the Royal Society, including Prof Stephen Hawking, said leaving the EU would be “a disaster for UK science”
1,161 academics have joined “Academics For Britain in Europe” formed of academics from across disciplines including history, classics, economics and languages, and have written an open letter saying that remaining in Europe is in “the interests of British universities and the knowledge economy they represent”. Prominent academics involved include Professor Tim Whitmarsh, Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University, Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford and Andrew Knapp, Emeritus Professor of European Studies at the University of Reading
Earlier letter by leading historians (now part of Academics for Britain in Europe):http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article4677939.ece
Separately many scientists have joined Scientists for EU. The group organized a letter by leading scientists including Lord Rees of Ludlow, Astronomer Royal and Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine to say “UK science and innovation is best served by the UK’s continued membership of the EU” and another signed by over 5,500 scientists backing remain.
26 current and former presidents of the NUS wrote to the Guardian to say “Remaining in Europe is the right choice for students and young people”
Health and Medical Professionals:
Healthier In the EU organised a letter by 201 health professionals for across the sector including two former chief executives of the NHS, two former Chief Medical Officers (Scotland and Wales), and several current and many former Presidents of Royal Colleges, as well as medical students, GPs and nurses. They made it clear that “Brexit should carry a health warning.”
Over 70 former Presidents and Chairs of the UK’s Medical Royal Colleges and in the British Medical Association wrote to the Times to “set out why we should remain in the EU if we care about our health and the future of the NHS.” They made it clear that “It is Brexit that is the threat to the NHS, not our membership of the EU.”
NGO and Charity Sector:
24 NGO and charity figures, including key figures in some of the biggest UK aid charities like Oxfam, Action Aid, the World Wildlife Fund, Save the Children and Christian Aid, wrote a letter to The Guardian to say “withdrawing from the EU would diminish the UK’s role in the world and set back our efforts to end global poverty.”
There has been an overwhelming response from businesses of all sizes urging Britain to remain in the EU, and appealing to their employees to remain in particular. The culmination of this has been an unprecedented letter signed by 1,285 companies, employing 1.75 million people, from companies large, medium and small, to The Times to say that Britain’s economy is better off in Europe. This includes 51 FTSE 100 companies, and around 900 SMEs. They include some of Britian’s most iconic businesspeople like Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson, Sir Charles Dunstone, of Carphone Warehouse, Jacqueline Gold, of Anne Summers, and Cobra beer baron Lord Bilimoria, as well as salt makers in Anglesey and dairy farmers in Devon to printers in Antrim and whisky distilleries in the Scottish Highlands.
Environmentalists for Europe is a broad coalition to stand up for Britain’s place in Europe in support of European protections for the UK’s beaches, air and whole environment. It includes leading environmental figures like Bill Oddie, Stanley Johnson, Caroline Lucas MP and Craig Bennett, CEO of Friends of the Earth.
Military / security:
11 former senior generals wrote to the Telegraph to say the UK was safer in the EU, including Field Marshal Lord Erwin Bramall, a former Chief of Defence Staff who took part in the Normandy landing in the Second World War
5 former Secretaries General of NATO, including both British Secretaries General Lord Carrington and Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, wrote to the Telegraph to say “Brexit would undoubtedly lead to a loss of British influence, undermine Nato and give succour to the West’s enemies”, while 4 former Supreme Allied Commanders wrote to “register our hope that the European Union will continue to have the United Kingdom as an active and often decisive voice”. They were backed up by 13 former US secretaries of Defence and State, who said that the UK’s EU membership contributed to the US-UK relationship.
Former heads of Mi5 Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller and Sir Jonathan Evans, and the former head of MI6 Sir John Sawers, have all said Britain was safer in the EU, and Camarthen born Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol, said leaving the EU meant the UK would risk losing access to a vital European security database used by British police every day.
Numerous WWII veterans have appealed to the UK to remember the terrible conflicts that the EU was set up to avoid and reiterated that the UK’s membership reinforced British values.
Lord Bramall, Harry Smith, David Meylan, Patrick Churchill:http://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2016/may/09/second-world-war-veterans-urge-britain-stay-in-eu-video
John Ainsworth: https://twitter.com/uklabour/status/736814339613589504
Franklin Medhurst: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/16/franklin-medhurst-96-war-veteran-pro-eu-letter
Unison, Unite, GMB, Usdaw, Community, FBU, Musicians' Union, TSSA, CWU, Ucatt, Equity and the Royal College of Midwives, who between them represent over 4 million working people.
Farmers for In
42 leading figures from the UK farming industry including Dir Peter Kendall, former President of the NFU, Lord Plumb DL, former President of the NFU and former President of the European Parliament; Rt. Hon. Sir Jim Paice, former Minister for Agriculture and Food; George Lyon, former President of the NFU Scotland; and Jilly Greed, co-founder of Ladies in Beef.
Almost forty religious leaders from all of the UK’s main faith communities have said the EU is vital to preserving peace across Europe. Signatories include Rt Rev and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury; Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Principal Rabbi, Movement for Reform Judaism; Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Inter-Religious Studies and Assistant Principal Religion and Society, University of Edinburgh; and Bharti Tailor, Executive Director, Hindu Forum in Europe.
Archbishop of Canterbury will be voting remain -http://www.christiantoday.com/article/archbishop.of.canterbury.will.vote.to.remain.in.eu/88137.htm
282 of the world’s biggest creative industries names – including Benedict Cumberbatch, Carol Ann Duffy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dame Kristin Scott Thomas, Dame Vivienne Westwood, John le Carré, Keira Knightley, Sir Anish Kapoor, Sir Patrick Stewart, Steve McQueen and members of the band Franz Ferdinand – have signed a letter to support keeping Britain in the EU.
Further artists and creative industry figures who back Remain include:
Frieze artists including Damien Hirst (link)
Sportspeople and sports personalities
Sportspeople and sports personalities who want the UK to remain in the EU include:
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson
All the UK’s international allies have said they want us to remain in the EU, because we will be a more valuable and influential partner for them that way, and better able to help keep us all safe.
Serving leaders who have said they would like us to remain in the EU include those of:
- All the other members of our Five Eyes intelligence arrangement – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US
- All Commonwealth states whose leaders have expressed a view, including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Cyprus, India, Malta and New Zealand, plus the Commonwealth Secretary-General
- The G7 group of the world’s biggest economies – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US (G7 Leaders’ Declaration, 27 May 2016, http://www.mofa.go.jp/files/000160266.pdf)
- All European states whose leaders have expressed a view, in and out of the EU, including Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Spain and Sweden
- The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar
The Vatican’s foreign minister has said that the UK leaving “is not going to make a stronger Europe”.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has backed a Remain vote, saying: “We live in an increasingly interdependent and globalised world. No nation can afford to be too isolated. … all the member states should strive to strengthen [the EU] rather than to weaken it.”
The leaders of England’s eight largest city economies plus Glasgow and Cardiff said that leaving Europe would put Britain’s great cities in “serious economic danger”. The cities are the Core Cities group of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Other civil society leaders who want the UK to remain in the EU include Shami Chakrabarti, the former Director of Liberty, and Baroness Lawrence, the anti-racism campaigner.