Ukip, Labour and Tory MPs unite to launch campaign to pull Britain out of the EU

Former Tory Cabinet minister Owen Paterson is among seven MPs determined to ensure the Out campaign is properly organised and coordinated

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MPs from Ukip, Labour and the Conservatives have united to kick-start the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

The cross-party group of seven eurosceptic MPs, which includes former Tory Cabinet minister Owen Paterson, has been formed in order to ensure the Out campaign in the referendum is properly organised and co-ordinated.

Calling itself the "exploratory committee for the EU referendum," it will aim to "provide resources for crucial thinking" and follows the news that the Out campaign will deploy small firms to counter the pro-EU views of big business.

Tory MP Owen Paterson is a leading eurosceptic figure

The group includes three veteran Labour MPs - Kate Hoey, Kelvin Hopkins and Graham Stringer, while Ukip's only MP Douglas Carswell is also a member.

Making up the Tory members are Bernard Jenkin, a veteran eurosceptic, and Steve Baker, chairman of the Conservatives for Britain group, which claims to include more than 100 Conservative MPs who say they are ready to leave the EU unless David Cameron secures wide-ranging reforms to the UK's relationship with the 28-state bloc.

A mirror Labour for Britain group has also formed and is backed by influential donor John Mills, who donated £1.6 million worth of shares to Labour last year.

The cross party group has met in secret each week since the election. It is backed by a number of cross-party donors, including major Ukip donor Stuart Wheeler, while Michael Gove's former adviser Dominic Cummings has been drafted in to oversee the committee.

It says it is "urgently" looking to "promote co-operation amongst those who might contribute to an Out campaign".

Launching the group, the MPs said they could see no hope for Mr Cameron to succeed in delivering the fundamental reform of Britain's relationship with the EU.

"There must be reform of the EU and fundamental change in our relationship with the EU," the group said in a statement.

“The prime minister set this objective when he described the renegotiation in his Commons statement of March 23 as ‘an opportunity to reform the EU and fundamentally change Britain’s relationship with it’. However, there is little if any indication that the government is even asking for significant reform or fundamental change.

“In particular, there is no sign of any proposals either to end the supremacy of EU law over UK law on ever wider matters, or to resolve the question of what should be the relationship between the eurozone and non-eurozone states.”