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Former Marks &Spencer chief Stuart Rose to head Britain's 'stay in EU' campaign

Stuart Rose, campaign chairman for the Britain Stronger in Europe group, makes a speech during the launch a campaign to promote close ties with Europe, at Brick Lane in London, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015.  A referendum is expected to be held in the UK before the end of 2017 on whether Britain should remain part of the European Union. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Stuart Rose, campaign chairman for the Britain Stronger in Europe group, makes a speech during the launch a campaign to promote close ties with Europe, at Brick Lane in London, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. A referendum is expected to be held in the UK before the end of 2017 on whether Britain should remain part of the European Union. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)  (The Associated Press)

The former chief executive of retail chain Marks & Spencer is heading a campaign to persuade Britons to remain part of the European Union.

Stuart Rose leads the Britain Stronger in Europe group, which launched Monday and will brand those who want to leave the EU "quitters." The campaign is backed by former prime ministers John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Britain will hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether to leave the 28-nation EU. Prime Minister David Cameron says he will argue to stay in as long as he can negotiate looser ties with the bloc.

Two pro-Brexit campaign groups have been formed. Vote Leave includes politicians from the Conservative, Labour and U.K. Independence parties, while Leave.EU is funded by a wealthy UKIP donor.