PUBLIC SECTOR: BiE pledges grassroots euro 'yes' campaign

Campaigning group Britain in Europe this week vowed to favour trade unionists and 'ordinary people' above politicians as it bids to woo Britons to back a euro referendum 'yes' campaign.

BiE also plans to increase its focus on gaining regional and local media coverage, according to head of campaign information Adrian McMenamin, who said: 'The national papers are in deeply entrenched positions (on Britain's possible euro membership), which are unlikely to change.'

McMenamin - who headed the Labour's 'attack taskforce' in the lead up to its victorious 1997 general election campaign - said: 'There won't be a central line that people have to be on-message.'

McMenamin pledged that BiE would shun what he termed the 'ya-boo, sucks' exchanges of Westminster in a 'grassroots' campaign, but added: 'To say we'll be shunning politicians is going too far, after all we had Ken Clarke on the platform last week.'

The Government will decide whether Britain has met the five economic tests for membership of the single currency by 7 June, which could be the trigger for a referendum campaign.

BiE is currently recruiting campaign directors for both its south-east England and London regional teams.

'Our opponents have put a lot of effort into working the London media scene - we have a more organic regional operation,' said McMenamin.

He said BiE was not overly concerned by potential voter apathy in any referendum: 'Because the campaign cuts across political parties, it will be much more exciting than a general election campaign.'

The Government's 7 June deadline for assessment of the five economic tests resulted from a pre-election pledge that it would decide within two years of being re-elected.

BiE is creating a media centre with capacity for 150 journalists at the organisation's headquarters in London.

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