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by Sebastian Whale
11 May 2016
Gordon Brown says leaving EU 'would not be in tune with the Churchillian spirit'

Gordon Brown says leaving EU 'would not be in tune with the Churchillian spirit'

Gordon Brown has made his first major intervention in the EU referendum, with the former Prime Minister arguing 'it’s not British to retreat to Europe’s sidelines’.

The former Labour leader said: “I think most people would agree that it’s not British or in tune with the Churchillian spirit, to simply disengage”.

Brown urged that instead of leaving the EU the UK should take the lead on Europe’s response to terrorism, immigration and climate change.


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Writing in the Mirror ahead of a speech at the London School of Economics, Brown said: "Let's face it. Across half a century we have become reluctant Europeans. We didn't understand there was a new world in the making where influence mattered.

"Surely in a world that is getting smaller, being in Europe enables us to play a part in shaping something bigger than ourselves."

Brown writes: “I think most people would agree that it’s not British or in tune with the Churchillian spirit, to simply disengage when Ukraine is in turmoil, Russia is the aggressor and Europe’s eastern border is in chaos”.

“It’s not British – in the spirit of a country that defeated fascism on the continent of Europe – to retreat to Europe’s sidelines when there is a common fight against illegal immigration and terrorism.

“It’s certainly not British, if we are to follow the lead of our wartime heroes, to allow ourselves to be on the periphery when important defence and security decisions are made, not only in Nato but in the European Union.”

He added: “Where it is right to lead in Europe – in Britain’s interests – we should absolutely do so. And history shows us that we should be guided by the very values on which we in Britain helped build European co-operation after the Second World War.”

A spokesman for lead Brexit campaign Vote Leave said: "Gordon Brown was in a government that gave away part of our rebate and opened our borders across the EU. Lessons on the patriotic case for the EU will ring hollow from a prime minister with such a disastrous record in Europe."

Today former mayor of London Boris Johnson will begin a UK-wide bus tour in the south west of England as he looks to garner support for the campaign to leave the European Union.

The Electoral Commission will also today shed light on who is funding the respective Leave and Remain campaigns.

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