Six figure prize for best plan on UK exit from EU

WINNINGS of €100,000 (£86,400) for the best plan on how the UK could leave the European Union have been offered by Westminster think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

The Brexit competition is based on the concept of a plan of exit from the EU if a referendum approves it. Lord Lawson, the former chancellor of the exchequer, chairs the judging panel, which also includes historian David Starkey, and Gisela Stuart, a Labour Party MP.

Under the Lisbon Treaty’s Article 50, any member state can leave the EU and negotiate the terms of its withdrawal with Brussels. The IEA has asked for initial submissions to be around 2,000 words in length, after which a select group will be asked to present more detailed proposals.

Mark Littlewood, director general of the IEA, commented: “It is time for the EU debate to be dominated by serious thought rather than bluster”.

Lord Lawson added similar thoughts: “To date much of this debate has generated more heat than light. It is crucial that we should look into the policy framework that would be needed if Britain decides to leave the EU”.

The IEA welcomes submissions from individuals, academics or business groups, as well as other think tanks.

British Influence, a new pro-EU pressure group also released its manifesto yesterday, laying out a programme of support for the UK’s membership of the European Union.

The campaigners suggest that there is no easy way in which the UK could leave the EU.

The group is a cross-party campaign, fronted by co-presidents, Kenneth Clarke, Danny Alexander and Lord Mandelson, of the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour party respectively.

David Cameron has recently endorsed a bill which would clear a path for an EU referendum in 2017. The bill passed through its first reading with 304 votes in favour and none against, as most Labour and Lib Dem MPs boycotted the vote.