A new report from business leaders is giving momentum to an increasingly well-organised group of Eurosceptics who stand to vote “no” - in favour of the UK leaving the European Union – in an in/out referendum.
“Change, or go,” a new report from the Eurosceptic Business for Britain campaign group, argues that the UK “could prosper and gain influence outside an unreformed European Union.”
The 1,000-page report, which is being serialised in the Daily Telegraph, counts Risk Capital Partners chairman Luke Johnson, Newton Investment Management chief executive Helena Morrissey and Institute of Economic Affairs director general Mark Littlewood among its authors, comes as the “no” campaign takes shape.
In recent weeks, MPs from both sides of the chamber have drummed up support, with Steve Baker setting up Conservatives for Britain and Labour MP Kate Hoey recruiting anti-EU members of her own party. A cross-party committee has been also been set up with input from former government adviser Dominic Cummings, while Ukip donor Arron Banks has said that he will set up his own non-party campaign group in the autumn.
It is understood that one group will eventually take on the role of the official “no” campaign and receive public money in the run-up to a vote.
WHO IS BEHIND THE “NO” CAMPAIGN FOR BREXIT?
The Business for Britain chief executive is a seasoned campaigner, having founded the TaxPayers’ Alliance and led the “No to AV” campaign in the last parliament.
Hoey set up Labour for Britain with fellow MPs Graham Stringer and Kelvin Hopkins. With backing from donor John Mills, they are pushing for radical reform of the UK’s EU membership.
The eurosceptic Tory backbencher has been a driving force behind Conservatives for Britain, a new group of more than 100 MPs “preparing the ground” for an “out” campaign.
DOMINIC CUMMINGS FORMER GOVERNMENT ADVISER
The former adviser to Michael Gove is participating in meetings of a cross-party group of MPs – including Baker and Hoey – who want to help form the eventual “No” campaign.
Banks, a major Ukip donor, is spearheading his own eurosceptic campaign, due to launch in September. He is reportedly going after sports stars to join the group.
Despite being shunned as of late by other eurosceptics, embattled Ukip leader Nigel Farage says he would be “prepared” to lead the “No” campaign if given the chance.