Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, are the latest big names to throw their support behind a Remain vote at the EU referendum. They both made the interventions in a special edition of the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, edited by former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown.

Annan, who led the UN between 1997 and 2006, praised the EU project as a "triumph". The Ghanaian diplomat pleaded with the British electorate: "We live in an increasingly interdependent and globalised world. No nation can afford to be too isolated. Despite some shortcomings, the EU project has been a triumph and all the member states should strive to strengthen rather than weaken it."

Berners-Lee, one of the UK's best-known computer scientists, also revealed he was backing Remain.

He argued: "The logical reason is that we need structures of all scales to manage this planet, and there a good many things that are best done at the scale of Europe. The EU level, though, is essential for us...My heart and wallet are at one, Britain should remain in Europe."

The support will boost the Remain campaign, with just two weeks to go before the 23 June vote, but may risk stoking anti-establishment sentiments among undecided voters following other anti-Brexit interventions from the likes of US President Barack Obama and the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The latest opinion poll from YouGov, of more than 2,000 people between 5 and 6 June, put Remain one point ahead of Leave (43% versus 42%), with 11% of respondents undecided. Vote Leave had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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