EU Referendum

EU referendum: Labour figures seeks to 'reform' Remain agenda

Gordon Brown Image copyright PA
Image caption Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is set to take centre stage for the Remain campaign

Privately, Labour In are calling it a relaunch. The cross party Britain Stronger in Europe say it's a "Labour fightback". One insider even called it "a pivot".

But whatever term you use, it is clear that the tone of the Remain campaign will look and sound different this week.

Look different - because research from Loughborough University suggests that David Cameron and Boris Johnson have had more coverage than any other politicians so far, and this week more senior Labour figures, past and present, will be evident.

Sound different - because while warnings about the risk of Brexit have had some impact, Labour's own focus groups suggest that some potential Remain voters want more positive reasons for casting their ballot.

As one insider put it: "Project Fear was in danger of turning into Project Failure" and "some people just won't be scared into the polling booth".

Strategists say that it was the leader of Labour's distinctive In campaign - Alan Johnson - who asked the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to draw up a "positive British reform agenda".

'Convince the waverers'

In truth, Mr Brown has spoken before about the many issues he highlights in a "positive" document that he will release today:

How EU nations working together, and prodded by a UK presidency in 2017, can push for more jobs, lower energy bills, better environmental protection and enhanced security co-operation.

Labour election agents have been picking up greater (though still minority) support for Brexit among the party's voters than previously anticipated.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is said to have been in talks with former PM Gordon Brown over their strategy

Labour In also says as many as a third of their voters still have not made up their minds.

So there is likely to be a greater show of unity than at any time since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader to convince waverers that the vast majority of Labour's politicians want to remain in the EU.

"We need to bring the Labour family together in the last 10 days of the campaign," a senior shadow cabinet aide said.

So it's been stressed that the former Labour leader is talking to the current Labour leader about his approach.

And it's possible that the current shadow Chancellor John McDonnell - who tried to challenge Gordon Brown for the party leadership in 2007 - may even share a platform with the former Labour prime minister in the closing days of the campaign.

It's said the two men have discussed not just a positive agenda but the use of the more negative term "Tory Brexit".

This is to instil in Labour supporters' minds the impression that if Britain were to leave the EU, the Conservative Party would move to the right, cut public services further, and reduce workers' rights.

In the words of one strategist, the overall approach will be to try to convince Labour's traditional supporters "they have the most to gain from staying in the EU, and the most to lose from pulling out".

There will also be a show of Labour movement unity when the entire shadow cabinet will meet union leaders to call for Britain to remain in the EU.

But the Labour MP Gisela Stuart - who chairs the Vote Leave campaign - has called this "a cobbled-together relaunch" which won't dissuade increasing numbers of the party's supporters from backing Brexit.

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