Alan Johnson to lead Labour campaign to keep Britain in the European Union

Alan Johnson, the popular former Home Secretary, will lead Labour's campaign to stay in the European Union.

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Alan Johnson, the popular former Labour Cabinet minister, will head up that party's campaign to stay in the European Union in the coming referendum. An anti-European grouping, Labour for Britain, has already been established.

Johnson, who was Labour's last Home Secretary and was sounded out as an alternative to Ed Miliband in the autumn before the general election, described the referendum as "the most profound political decision of my lifetime", saying it had implications for "our national prosperity and Britain's position in the world". Britain, Johnson said, must seek to "effect change" in Europe, "not lurk in the departure lounge". 

Harriet Harman, Labour's acting leader, confirmed the appointment, saying there "was no better person than Alan" to keep Britain in the European Union.

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics. He also co-hosts the New Statesman podcast.

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