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Political foes unite to campaign for Brexit

Published 23/01/2016

UKIP leader Nigel Farage is backing Grassroots Out
UKIP leader Nigel Farage is backing Grassroots Out

A cross-party campaign for Britain to exit the European Union is being launched that will bring together "political foes" for the "common good".

Conservative, Labour, Ukip and DUP MPs are behind Grassroots Out (GO), which will set up taskforces to knock on doors during the referendum campaign on the UK's membership of the 28-strong bloc.

The group is being formed in response to frustrations with other anti-Brussels campaigns that are too focused on "party politics" and are "not really leaving London", according to organisers.

Around 2,000 people are expected to attend the launch event in Northamptonshire that is being backed by Conservative Tom Pursglove (Corby and East Northamptonshire), Labour's Kate Hoey (Vauxhall), DUP MP Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) and Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Mr Pursglove said: "This launch will be an historic event, bringing together political foes, who are willing to put aside their differences for the common good. We are all united in our commitment to work at grassroots level to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union."

Established campaigns Vote Leave and Leave.EU have spent months battling it out to win the designation of the Electoral Commission as the official ''out'' voice in the referendum on Britain's EU membership.

Vote Leave has the backing of some of the biggest political donors in the country as well as prominent figures from the world of business and MPs across the political spectrum while Leave.EU was launched by wealthy Ukip backer Arron Banks.

Whichever group comes out on top will enjoy significant advantages including higher spending limits, campaign broadcasts, free mail shots and public funding of up to £600,000.

James McGrory, chief campaign spokesman of Britain Stronger In Europe, said: "It's a damning indictment of Vote Leave and Leave.EU that yet another campaign has had to be set up with the specific aim of reaching out to voters.

"It shows how much the constant bickering and 'friendly fire' has distracted them from properly engaging in this important debate about Britain's future.

"Meanwhile, we're focusing on talking to voters up and down the country about how Britain is stronger, safer and better off in Europe."

It comes after David Cameron raised the possibility of Britain getting an "emergency brake" on high EU migration levels during talks in the Czech Republic on Friday.

The Czech government has played down prospects of the UK securing its proposal of a four-year ban on migrants getting in-work benefits but suggested the Prime Minister was on course to secure a deal on the renegotiation of Britain's relationship with Brussels next month.

Tomas Prouza, the Czech secretary of state for European affairs, said the UK "does have a case to apply the emergency brake" because of the number of migrants that move to Britain.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "From our point of view and based on the discussions between the prime ministers yesterday, for us we see a very good approach to close the deal in mid February at the European Council and I think we must do that because Europe would be much weaker without the UK."

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