EU referendum: Is former M&S boss Stuart Rose a blessing or a curse as leader of the campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union?

Baroness Karen Brady and Lord Stuart Rose, the chairman of the 'Britain Stronger in Europe' campaign (Source: Getty)

Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London, says Yes

Brits in general do not do the vision thing, especially when it comes to Europe.

Sure, we want to get on reasonably well with the neighbours, as long as we’re not continually told by them what to do.

But in the end, for most of us anyway, what counts is what works – and if it ain’t broke, we don’t generally bother trying to fix it.

For all these reasons, the relatively low-key Stuart Rose seems like a pretty good choice to lead the campaign to persuade us to remain in the EU.

He’s a Tory – enough of one to impress some Tory voters, perhaps, but not so much so that it’ll put off supporters of other parties and none.

They’ll be more impressed that a hard-headed businessman, rather than a smooth-talking politician, is making the case to stay.

He seems to realise that involves reminding people of the rewards of membership as well as the risks of leaving.

All those years of involvement in customer-facing commercial enterprises clearly haven’t gone to waste.

Brendan Chilton, general secretary of Labour Leave, says No

The appointment of Stuart Rose will deter many Labour and trade union members from voting to remain in the EU.

A “big business representative” is a demonstration that the campaign does not hold the protection of employment and social rights as a high priority.

And we believe the decision to appoint Rose is one it will live to regret.

The In campaign is led by the establishment in the interests of the establishment.

It is a strongly held view that the referendum will be won or lost by the centre-left vote, and it is hard to see how those voters can support a campaign led by Rose.

At its annual conference, Labour opposed working with any campaign or individual who supported diminishing workers’ rights.

Rose is a businessman who supported lower wages for migrant workers, dismissing the public’s worries about free movement.

All those concerned with protecting employment and social rights need to back the safer choice and vote to leave the EU.

Related articles