UK Politics

The people hoping to persuade UK to vote to stay in the EU

Britain Stronger in Europe billboard Image copyright PA
Image caption The campaign will be able to spend a maximum of £7m

Meet the men and women who have been given the job of persuading Britain to stay in the EU in 23 June's referendum.

David Cameron - leading from the front

David Cameron called the referendum and, with many commentators speculating that his political future rests on the outcome, he has already taken on the role of figurehead of the campaign to remain in the EU.

The prime minister has promised to devote two or three days a week to take his pro-EU message around the country and to defend the concessions he won from other EU leaders during his recent renegotiation.

He has angered many in his own party with his outspoken stance and tactics, accusing Leave supporters of spreading "scare stories" and backing a controversial £9m pro-EU leaflet drop to every UK household.

It is not clear if the prime minister will take part in any of the planned TV debates. He has insisted that he will remain in Downing Street whatever the result.

What is Britain Stronger in Europe?

Britain Stronger in Europe has been chosen as the official lead campaign to make the case for the UK remaining in the European Union.

It draws its support from across the political spectrum, including key figures from the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the former leader of the Green Party.

The cross-party umbrella group was the only organisation to apply to the Electoral Commission for the status of flag bearer for the Remain side, which confers special financial benefits.

It will be able to spend up to £7m during the campaign, including a £600,000 public grant for a free public mailshot and TV broadcasts. There are a number of other groups backing the Remain campaign but they will have a spending limit of £700,000.

What does it do?

Britain Stronger in Europe will play a crucial role in shaping the referendum debate and taking on the arguments of its rival Vote Leave.

It is expected to focus on the economic benefits of the UK remaining in the EU, the enhanced global influence that membership brings for Britain and the uncertainty that will be caused by a vote to leave.

It is a Westminster-based group, which has the support of a plethora of pro-EU campaign groups, including the European Movement, Open Europe and the Centre for European Reform.

It is seeking to broaden its appeal, particularly to younger and BME voters. Its board members include Megan Dunn, the president of the National Union of Students, theatre director Jude Kelly and former Channel 4 presenter June Sarpong.

Who funds it?

Details of who is bankrolling the campaign have so far been sketchy but expect significant contributions from the City, which is worried about the implications for cross-border finance of a UK exit.

Investment banks Goldman Sachs and Citi have said they will support the campaign with six-figure sums while hedge fund boss David Harding is on the board of the organisation.

The group's biggest donor so far is reported to be Lord Sainsbury, the former supermarket magnate who was a science minister during the last Labour government. Other key figures could include Sir Richard Branson and Richard Reed, the founder of Innocent Drinks.

The key players

Image copyright PA
Image caption Stuart Rose put forward a business case for remaining in the EU

Lord Rose - former chair of Marks and Spencer

One of the UK's best-known business figures, the former chief executive of Burton Group, Argos and Arcadia Group is chair of the campaign. He was knighted in 2008 for "services to the retail industry", and became a Tory peer in 2014.

Launching the campaign, he said the EU was not perfect, but said staying in was the "patriotic course for Britain".

The peer will be playing a largely figurehead role, using his credentials to court business support. But critics have questioned whether such an establishment figure is what is needed to win over undecided voters.

And his sure-footedness and command of detail came under scrutiny when he appeared before MPs last month.

Will Straw - executive director

Will Straw is a pivotal figure in the campaign who will be appearing a lot on our TV screens in the coming weeks.

The son of former Labour home secretary Jack Straw, he is active in the Labour Party. The Oxford graduate and former head of the National Union of Students worked for the IPPR think tank and as a Treasury adviser under Alistair Darling.

But his attempt to enter Parliament last year failed as he lost the Rossendale and Darwin seat in Lancashire by 5,654 votes. He has often fielded tough questions on policy and brings cross-party appeal.

Roland Rudd - Treasurer

Image copyright PA
Image caption Roland Rudd (centre) is a key figure in the campaign

The founder and chairman of financial PR firm Finsbury, he is a City networker with impeccable political contacts - one of his sisters is the Climate Change and Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, while he has numerous friends in New Labour circles.

He started his career working for the former SDP leader David Owen. During a successful career in journalism, he worked for the Financial Times among others before moving into PR and selling his business in 2001 - netting him a reported £41m.

He founded Business for a New Europe in 2006 to speak up on behalf of the benefits of EU membership but was on the losing side in the 2011 referendum on the voting system, when he backed the Alternative Vote.

Lucy Thomas - deputy director

A regular presence putting the Remain case on TV and radio, Lucy Thomas is a former BBC producer and Lib Dem press officer who held a variety of senior roles, including campaign director, for Business for New Europe before joining Britain Stronger in Europe.

James McGrory - Chief spokesman

He was at Nick Clegg's side for more than five years as the Lib Dem leader's spin doctor during the turbulent coalition years. He left his job as a special adviser after the party's disastrous election result. A popular figure with the press pack, the keen Arsenal fan will be devising the campaign's all important media strategy.

Brendan Barber - former TUC boss

The former head of the Trade Union Congress is one of a dozen other figures on the organisation's board, including politicians, businessmen, entrepreneurs and broadcasters.

Mr Barber will be expected to liaise with the trade union movement, which is largely in support of EU membership and whose contribution will be vital if the In campaign is to be successful.

With Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn so far having taken a back seat in the campaign, there are concerns about whose is going to enthuse and mobilise the blue collar vote.

Mr Barber was general secretary of the TUC for nine years between 2003 and 2012, working for the organisation for more than thirty years. The Everton fan is now chair of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Council

Other key Remain figures

Image caption Alan Johnson is leading Labour's In campaign

There are a plethora of other groups linked to political parties supporting EU membership.

The Labour In For Britain campaign is being fronted by ex-Home Secretary Alan Johnson, who promises to "put the country's future above party machinations". The Liberal Democrats say staying in the EU will keep the UK "prosperous, secure and relevant".

The Green Party says the UK will "flourish when we work together on the shared challenges we face", including the environment. Launching the SNP's campaign, Nicola Sturgeon warned David Cameron against fighting a "miserable, negative, fear-based" campaign.

The Conservative Party is neutral on the issue of the referendum. More than 100 Tory MPs, including four Cabinet members, take the opposite view to Mr Cameron and want the UK to leave. Those that back Remain camp have their own Conservatives IN campaign.

We can expect interventions from other high-profile figures, including former prime ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and John Major.

What about Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour leader has taken a softly-softly approach to the issue so far.

Although he attended the launch of Labour's Remain in EU campaign, he has not raised the issue at Prime Minister's Questions and will make his first substantive speech backing EU membership on Thursday.

Mr Corbyn, who is more Eurosceptic than his predecessors, is under pressure to do more to make the case for EU membership in his own terms. Many of his allies are backing a separate campaign, Another Europe is Possible, accentuating the social benefits of being in the EU.

Referendum on the UK's future in the European Union

Image copyright Reuters

The UK is to have a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether to remain a member of the European Union or to leave. The vote is being proceeded by a process of negotiations in which the Conservative government is seeking to secure a new deal for the UK.

Guide: All you need to know about the referendum

More: BBC News EU referendum special report

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