UK
09/10/2015 04:30 BST | Updated 09/10/2015 04:59 BST

European Referendum: Vote Leave Campaign Launched, Bankrolled By Three Of Britain's Biggest Political Donors

A new cross-party campaign group calling for Britain to quit the European Union has been launched, with three of Britain's biggest political donors bankrolling it.

Millionaire donors to the Conservatives, Labour and UK Independence Party have been named as its treasurers.

Former Tory treasurer and banker Peter Cruddas, Labour donor and mail-order millionaire John Mills and spread betting tycoon Stuart Wheeler - who contributed large sums to the Conservatives before becoming Ukip treasurer - are expected to give significant financial backing to the Vote Leave campaign.

This is the second eurosceptic campaign to launch ahead of a referendum, which is due no later than 2017.

Former environment secretary Owen Paterson is one of the MPs backing the campaign.

owen paterson

Owen Paterson is one of the group's supporters

JML founder Mills said: "If we vote to leave the EU we will be able to trade freely with the EU and have friendly co-operation. The UK will regain legal control of things like trade, tax, economic regulation and energy.

"We will be able to vote for people who will be able to make our own trade deals and control our own public services. I would urge everyone to get behind the Vote Leave campaign and make the case for Britain outside the EU," The Press Association reports.

MPs from the Conservatives, Labour and Ukip, have joined the group, as well as prominent business people including another ex-Tory treasurer, the former Dixons chairman Lord Kalms, and former Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson.

Author Frederick Forsyth, Green Party peer Baroness Jones, historian Andrew Roberts and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lord Trimble are also among the group's supporters.

Vote Leave is being supported by campaign groups Business for Britain, Labour Leave and Conservatives for Britain (CfB), and will seek designation from the Electoral Commission as the official voice of the "Out" campaign.

SEE ALSO:

Co-chairman of the Labour Leave campaign Kate Hoey said: "We must end the supremacy of EU law over UK law. If we vote to leave, then the £350 million we send to Brussels every week can be spent on our priorities like the NHS.

"I want to see a campaign which brings together those from all parts of the UK who want to take back control of our countries' laws to the British parliament."

CfB co-chairman and Conservative MP Steve Baker said: "Conservatives for Britain supports the Prime Minister's attempt to negotiate a fundamentally different relationship with the EU.

"But we also support the creation of a professional cross-party campaign that can fight the referendum if the EU does not give the PM fundamental change.

"Such a campaign cannot be built in a few weeks. Work must start now. I personally support the Vote Leave campaign. I will be voting to leave unless, at the very least, the Prime Minister secures the end of the supremacy of EU law."

douglas carswell

Ukip MP Douglas Carswell is backing the campaign to leave the EU

Douglas Carswell, Ukip's only MP, said: "I will vote to leave so that we can end the supremacy of EU law and the British public can take back control. That is the safer choice - safer for our democracy and our economy.

"I look forward to building a campaign that has no interest in party loyalties and is focused on what is best for Britain and our friends in Europe."

Other business backers of Vote Leave include entrepreneur John Caudwell, Reebok founder Joe Foster, Michael Freeman of the Argent Group Foyles and Noved chairman Christopher Foyle, Numis Securities CEO Oliver Hemsley, C Hoare & Co managing partner Alexander Hoare and Crispin Odey, the founding partner of Odey Asset Management. 

The separate Ukip-backed campaign group Leave.EU welcomed the launch of the Vote Leave organisation.

Leave.EU co-chairman Richard Tice said; "We look forward to supporting their push to persuade business across the UK to support an EU exit.

"The team at B4B have already provided a powerful argument to business groups and we will make sure we encourage them, as we have with all 'Out' groups from across the political spectrum, to help achieve our collective aim, a vote to leave at the EU referendum".