U.K. Labour Begins Anti-`Brexit' Campaign With Video Appeal

  • `We cannot leave Britain isolated,' Alan Johnson says
  • Ex-minister says arguments for membership are same as in 1975

Britain’s opposition Labour Party started its official campaign to keep Britain in the European Union with a video featuring former U.K. Home Secretary Alan Johnson, who’s heading the effort.

“We cannot leave Britain isolated,” Johnson said in the 90-second video released Tuesday. “We can’t put jobs, businesses, our future at risk. That’s why I’m in for Britain. And that’s why Labour is in for Britain.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has set out four demands for a renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership terms ahead of a referendum that he’s pledged to hold by the end of 2017. The bloc’s leaders are due to have a first substantive discussion at a Brussels summit later this month.

Cameron has said he wants to stay in the EU but won’t rule anything out if he doesn’t achieve his demands, which include greater controls on migration. Most recent opinion polls have shown a slight lead for those seeking to stay in the EU over those demanding “Brexit,” a British withdrawal.

“It’s about British jobs, jobs that put food on the table for millions of families whose livelihoods depend on EU membership,” Johnson said in the video. “It’s about British businesses, businesses that rely on Europe for exports worth 227 billion pounds a year; and it’s about Britain’s global influence; in this increasingly interdependent world we can achieve more by working with Europe than we can alone.”

He said the arguments hadn’t changed since 1975, when he worked as a postman delivering campaign leaflets for both sides in the only previous popular vote on the U.K.’s EU membership.

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