The battle to remain in the European Union lacks emotional punch, according to one of the “in” campaign’s top donors.
Sir Anthony Bailey, who was a fundraiser and donor to Labour until Ed Miliband became leader in 2010, is trying to raise £1m to produce a series of reports showing why the UK would be harmed by voting for Brexit. He is likely to put around £100,000 of his own money into the work, which will start with a report into the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland, which could include a new hard border with the Republic.
Sir Anthony, who is seen as an international fixer, advising prominent figures around the world, said he was “nervous” about the referendum: “I have never come across, certainly in the last year, one single head of state, or head of government, or senior parliamentarian, or lawyer who has said to me that this [the referendum] is actually a good thing that Britain is doing. I think there is great concern shared by many across the world that if Britain was to vote out, then Britain would be greatly diminished.”
He added: “This referendum is not just about the European Union; this referendum is also about the future of the United Kingdom as a country. If the UK were to leave then Scotland’s First Minister [Nicola Sturgeon] has been pretty clear that there would be another [independence] referendum.
“There’s been a lot of talk about facts and figures. What I want to talk about in these reports is the emotional argument about Europe, because I think that is lacking in much of the discussions at the moment. It’s not just a question of Britain in Europe. I think the future of the UK is the invisible question in the referendum.
“There are certainly a good number of people who don’t want to go down the emotional route.”Reuse content