Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including Stuart Rose launching Britain Stronger in Europe, the campaign to remain in the EU
If you can’t watch the Britain Stronger in Europe promo video where you are (or perhaps you just don’t want to), here’s some of the things said by the campaign’s biggest-hitters, referencing business, sport and crime.
Sir Richard Branson:
Being part of Europe means we are part of one of the biggest trading blocs in the world. So the bottom line is that we are much stronger being a part of Europe than being an island to ourselves.
Lady (Karren) Brady, West Ham’s vice-charman:
Whether on the pitch or in the boardroom, people are stronger when they work together.
Sir Hugh Orde, former president of the Association of Chief Police Officers:
Crime crosses boundaries. It does not respect individual countries. We will keep citizens in our countries far safer by remaining within Europe
Also in the FT (subscription) Alex Barker has an excellent article on how David Cameron EU renegotiation tactics, and his reluctance to identify specific demands, is causing confusion in Brussels. Here’s an extract.
Not a word is put to paper. There are negotiators, countless meetings but not one specific demand. Asking for what you want is definitely banned. And a wishlist can only emerge once everyone agrees to fulfil the wishes. Welcome to the surreal phase of Britain’s EU renegotiation …
Behind the British tactics is a cold calculation about the campaign for the country’s forthcoming referendum on EU membership. Should formal UK demands leak, the Out campaign will brand them worthless. Even worse, David Cameron, prime minister, may not secure all the “worthless” changes he sought. By this measure, Europe would remain unreformed.
This has convinced Downing Street that the traditional Brussels approach — to aim high and haggle — is not open to them. “We cannot ask for five cakes and come back with three,” said one senior British government figure.
When Denmark faced a similar pre-referendum dilemma in the 1990s, it opted to drown critics in detail, with a doorstopper of a position paper on EU reform. Britain is instead attempting the EU equivalent of immaculate conception: a deal without formal demands or leaks.
I’m now off to the Britain Stronger in Europe launch, which is in a brewery in East London. I won’t be posting until about 10.45am, but if anything big happens in the meantime, a colleague will step in.
The Financial Times (subscription) says Number 10 has changed its stance on businesses speaking out in favour of Europe. Here’s an extract from its story.
The launch [of Britain Stronger in Europe] comes amid claims Downing Street has changed its advice to business leaders, urging them to speak out in favour of Britain remaining “in a reformed EU”. A few months ago, No 10 was encouraging business to remain silent while David Cameron attempted to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership of the bloc.
Mr Cameron’s allies deny he ever tried to deter business leaders from speaking out in favour of EU membership. “It’s a matter for businesses to decide where their interests lie,” said one. “They don’t need us to tell them what to do.”
But pro-EU business leaders said there had been a definite relaxation of the government’s position since Sajid Javid, business secretary, lectured a CBI audience against speaking out while the negotiation was still going on.
But Vote Leave, one of the two main out campaigns, is flagging up this video on Twitter, highlighting the point Douglas Carswell made (see 9.43am) about many pro-Europeans being in favour of Britain joining the euro 15 years ago.
Here’s the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign video.
Douglas Carswell, the Ukip MP, says Britain Stronger in Europe is reminiscent of the campaign for Britain to join the euro launched when Tony Blair was prime minister.
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, has released a statement explaining why she is on the board of Britain Stronger in Europe.
I’ve joined the board of the ‘In’ campaign because I believe we are stronger when we work across borders on the challenges we face …
Though I don’t see eye to eye with every member on the board on every issue we all share a commitment to Britain remaining in the EU. I will make a truly progressive case for a more democratic and accountable European Union.
A different kind of EU is possible: one where power is held locally whenever it can be, where citizens have a real say in decisions made in Brussels and where corporate lobbyists are banished from the halls of power.
This referendum campaign is a chance to reimagine what democracy looks like, reshape what having a say really means and reinvigorate our politics.
Will Straw, the executive director of the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, was on Sky News this morning. He said there were three arguments at the heart of the case for staying in the EU.
The importance of our membership of the European Union is three-fold. First it makes a strong economy, the benefit we get from trade and investment, the jobs that are created in the UK because of our free trade with Europe and the consumer benefits, the lower prices, whether it’s foreign holidays with low air fares, or the cheaper roaming charges when you’re abroad.
Secondly, the stronger security that we get in a very uncertain world, the aggression in Russia, the rising threat of terrorism, climate change, cross-border crime, all issues best dealt with in cooperation with our European neighbours. And then finally the strength that we get from our leadership in the world. Britain is a country that’s always been outward looking, it doesn’t turn in on itself and we can project our leadership through our strong membership of the European Union leading at the table.
Britain Stronger in Europe – Full list of its board members
Yesterday Britain Stronger in Europe released a full list of the members of its 16-strong board. I can’t find it online, so here is the full list, with biographical notes taken from the news release.
Stuart Rose (Chair) was chief executive of Marks & Spencer from 2004-11, and chairman from 2008-11. After starting his career with M&S in 1971, Stuart was chief executive of Argos, Booker and Arcadia. He is currently chairman of Ocado, FatFace and Oasis Dental Care. In 2008 he was knighted for services to the retail industry and corporate social responsibility. In 2014 he became a Conservative member of the House of Lords, and wrote a report on the management of the National Health Service.
Danny Alexander was Liberal Democrat MP for Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey from 2005-15. In the Coalition government, he served as Scottish Secretary and Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Before becoming an MP, Danny worked for the Cairngorms National Park Authority.
Brendan Barber was general secretary of the Trades Union Congress from 2003-12. Since leaving the TUC he has become Chairman of the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas ) the organisation that supports employers and employees develop positive employment relations and helps resolve disputes.
Janet Beer is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool and the Vice-President of Universities UK. She is a leading authority on North American literature and is widely respected in the higher education sector for the national leadership roles she has undertaken.
Karren Brady spent her business career in sport. She was managing director of Birmingham City and is now vice-chair of West Ham United. She is a passionate advocate of women in business, and is one of Lord Alan Sugar’s advisers on The Apprentice. In 2014, she became a Conservative member of the House of Lords, and became the government’s ambassador for small business.
Megan Dunn is a leading youth campaigner, she has been president of the National Union of Students since April 2015. Before this, she served as the vice-president for education, and the president, of Aberdeen University Students’ Association.
Damian Green has been Conservative MP for Ashford since 1997. He was a minister in the Coalition government, with responsibility for immigration and policing. In opposition, he served in key positions, including Shadow Education and Shadow Transport Secretary. Before entering parliament, he worked as an adviser to Sir John Major and he is chairman of the Conservative European Mainstream group of MPs.
Jenny Halpern Prince is the founder and chief executive of Halpern, a PR and communications agency. She is the founder and co-chair of Access Inspiration, a charity which has secured over 800 aspirational work placements for children from state and Academy schools. She created a charity called Save the Day for Great Ormond Street children’s’ hospital having been on the Corporate board for 6 years. Gynaecoligical Cancer Fund was also co set up by Jenny to raise funds into research into ovarian cancer. She sits on the Corporate board of the Tate and mentors people having set up their own businesses through Expert Impact.
Jude Kelly is the artistic director of the Southbank Centre in London, Britain’s largest cultural institution. She founded Metal, artistic laboratory spaces in Liverpool and Southend. Before this, Jude spent 12 years in charge of the West Yorkshire Playhouse and was artistic director of the Battersea Arts Centre.
Caroline Lucas has been the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion since 2010, and was the Green Party’s leader from 2008-12. Caroline is a leading voice on sustainable economies, climate change and human rights.
Peter Mandelson was Labour MP for Hartlepool 1992-2004, serving in the Blair government as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Northern Ireland Secretary. He then served for four years as the European Commissioner for trade. In 2008, he entered the House of Lords and became Business Secretary and First Secretary of State in the Brown government. Peter is now the chairman of Global Counsel, a strategic advisory company. Before entering politics, he worked as a television producer. He lives in London with his partner.
Trevor Phillips is a writer and broadcaster, a leading campaigner on international migration and diversity, and the elected President of the John Lewis Partnership Council. He was the first Chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and was previously Chair of the London Assembly and head of current affairs for London Weekend Television.
Richard Reed is the co-founder and co-CEO of Innocent Drinks, the smoothie and drinks brand. The company, set up in 1999 from a market stall now sells in over 17 countries across Europe and is valued at over $500m. Richard also helped set up the Innocent Foundation, which gives money to charities around the world. He is co-founder of Jam Jar, an investment company supporting start-up businesses in the UK.
Roland Rudd founded Finsbury, a global leader in strategic communications, in 1994. He is also the founding chair of the pro-European business campaign Business for New Europe, and of Legacy10, which aims to increase charitable giving. Roland is a trustee of the Speakers for Schools programme and a member of the advisory board of the Centre for European Reform.
June Sarpong is a television presenter on ITV’s Loose Women. She was previously the presenter of T4, Channel 4’s programme aimed at young people. June is also the founder of the women’s summit, WIE (Women: Inspiration & Enterprise). Her latest venture is Ldny.com, a fashion social enterprise that partners with the UN. June is a director of the Lunchbox Fund, which provides meals to schoolchildren in poor areas of South Africa.
Peter Wall retired as Chief of the British Army in 2014 after a 40-year career. Commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1974 he has served all over the globe, and on operations in Rhodesia, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is President of Combat Stress and Chairman of the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Sir Mike Rake, the BT chairman and former president of the CBI, will be the co-treasurer of Britain Stronger in Europe, according to the BBC’s Today. This morning he told the programme why he was confident that David Cameron’s EU renegotiation would succeed.
If you look at all the CBIs across Europe, we all practically have the same agenda for reform of the European Union: in other words, complete the single market, deal with services, introduce the digital single market, deal with regulation that does not help, adopt the European principle of subsidiarity, only deal with those things at a European level that are necessary and leave national states to get on. That’s a view held right across Europe.
Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, has now taken to Twitter to respond to Lord Rose.
Britain Stronger in Europe, the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU, is officially launching this morning. As Patrick Wintour reports, Lord Rose, the campaign’s chairman, “will try to defuse the claim that pro-Europeans are unpatriotic by launching the campaign to keep Britain inside the EU with the claim that true patriots do not withdraw, retreat and become inward-looking.” Rose will say:
Those of you who know me will know that I am not an uncritical fan of the European Union. Far from it. That’s why I signed a letter arranged by Business for Britain calling for reform of the EU. Wanting reform, however, is not the same as wanting to leave.
To claim that the patriotic course for Britain is to retreat, withdraw and become inward-looking is to misunderstand who we are as a nation. In this ever-changing and very uncertain world we need to engage with strength.
I will not allow anyone to tell me I’m any less British because I believe in the strongest possible Britain for business, for our security and our society.
Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, has responded this morning. He issued a statement saying:
It is not patriotic to give away control of our country to overseas bureaucrats, it is a surrender.
I will be covering the launch in detail, and the reaction to it.
Here is the agenda for the day.
11am: Lord Rose launches the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign.
2.30pm: Theresa May, the home secretary, takes questions in the Commons.
4.05pm: David Lidington, the Europe minister, is questioned by the Lords EU committee.
As usual, I will also be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I will post a summary at lunchtime and another in the afternoon.
If you want to follow me or contact me on Twitter, I’m on@AndrewSparrow.