The Labour Party head of the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union (EU) has admitted he is “worried” about losing the referendum and recognises it will be a “tough battle” for his side to win.
In an interview with Parliament’s House magazine, former Cabinet minister Alan Johnson said the ‘Remain’ campaign was struggling to find “simple phrases” that would resonate with voters.
He also revealed that former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown was set to make a “major intervention” in a bid to bolster the pro-EU side’s fortunes.
This will inevitably draw comparisons with the Scottish independence referendum, where Mr Brown was brought out when there were fears the faltering ‘No’ campaign was on the brink of losing.
“We can’t find the simple phrases,” Mr Johnson said. “I have faith in the British people that they’re going to be looking for more than soundbites and a bit of patriotic posturing.”
Speaking about the planned intervention by the former Prime Minister, who was also Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997 to 2007, Mr Johnson added:
“Gordon’s the man who kept us out of the single currency more than anyone else, so we want to deploy him somewhere in the UK rather than just in Scotland.
“We think that powerful intervention from a Chancellor who kept us out the single currency would be really good.”
Earlier this week, Mr Johnson’s Labour colleague Andy Burnham criticised the EU as remote, arrogant and anti-democratic, saying there was a very real possibility that Britain will vote to leave.
“If I was to lay money on it now, tonight, I would bet that Brexit is going to win, and I don’t like saying that, but I feel that from talking to people in my own constituency,” he said.
A poll has also predicted a Brexit victory as, although both sides are statistically tied, ‘Out’ supporters are more motivated to turn out and vote.