TONY Blair (pictured) is to mount a staunch defence of Britain's membership of the EU this week, insisting that it is vital to the future economic prosperity of the UK.
The former PM, in a speech in London organised by the pro-European group Business for New Europe, will outline why Britain needs to be at the "top table" in summit talks, or risk being consigned to the sidelines.
Mr Blair's intervention comes amid growing Euroscepticism in the UK; a poll last week showed six out of 10 voters would consider leaving the EU. It will also be seen as a veiled swipe at David Cameron's handling of EU budget negotiations last week.
Mr Blair will show the importance of Europe to Britain, including that 47pc of UK exports go to EU states, and that 50pc of foreign direct investment to the UK comes from the EU.