Gordon Brown: Young Must Vote Against Brexit

Gordon Brown
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the London School of Economics, Britain, May 11, 2016. Brown is to urge young voters to support Britain's continued EU membership. Paul Hackett/Reuters

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to issue a plea to young voters to cast a ballot in Britain's EU membership referendum, citing research that warns as many as half may not vote.

Speaking at the Fabian Society conference in central London on Saturday, Brown is expected to say: "I am speaking today directly to young people who may not yet have registered to vote, to mothers who will vote based on the future prospects for their children and to millions of people who believe that globalisation, supported by the European Union, has sadly been a one way street to job losses.

"I am publishing the findings of a poll by Hope Not Hate showing that, by a margin of four to one (62 percent to 15 percent with 23 percent not known), young Labour supporters aged 18-30 want to stay in the European Union.

"But it is feared as many as half of Britain's young people may not vote.

"Thirty percent of young people—twice the national average—are not registered to vote and many students registered at their college address risk losing the right to vote as they will not be there when ballot papers get sent out. I urge all voters to register to vote by the June 7 deadline."

Brown is set to speak directly to Labour voters about what he sees as the benefits of the EU for working people, including a claim that up to 500,000 jobs in Britain will be created by the expansion of the single market and an appeal to its history of delivering workers' rights.

"The way forward lies in Britain leading in Europe not leaving," in order to deliver progressive change, Brown is expected to argue.

Ensuring younger supporters turn out to vote is likely to be crucial to the success or failure of the Remain campaign in the referendum, scheduled for June 23. Polls consistently show that younger voters are more likely to support Britain's continued membership of the EU, but older voters are generally more likely to vote.