Winner of IEA Brexit Prize Bolsters Eurosceptic Position

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Last night the Institute of Economic Affairs announced Iain Mansfield as the winner of the prestigious IEA Brexit Prize. The Rt. Hon Lord Lawson awarded Iain the €100,000 prize for his winning entry, which outlines a blueprint for Britain after the EU.  Iain is Director of Trade and Investment at the UK’s embassy in the Philippines and has previously worked for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.  His entry was in a personal capacity and does not represent the formal position of the British Embassy in Manila, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or Her Majesty’s Government.

Applicants were asked to formulate an EU exit strategy and what measures the British government would need to take to ensure a free and prosperous future for our country.

Ian’s winning entry calls for the UK to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and pursue free trade agreements with key international players such as China, the US, Australia, Canada and Latin America.  He also calls for the introduction of a ‘Great Repeal Bill’ to bring about a comprehensive review and, where appropriate, repeal of EU regulations. These measures would prevent economic shocks in trade and would reduce the bureaucratic burden on British business, unshackling the wider economy.

It concludes a ‘Brexit’ must ultimately be a political rather than an economic decision, yet calculates that if it occurred, the UK economy would experience a £1.3bn increase in GDP. Significantly fewer regulations, coupled with greater trade with emerging economies, could provide an overwhelmingly positive future outlook for an independent Britain.

Iain’s submission A Blueprint for Britain: Openness not Isolation, argues that the single highest economic priority in the event of a ‘NO’ vote would be to ensure the maintenance of zero tariffs on trade between the UK and the EU in all areas apart from agriculture. It also strongly makes the case for the importance of an exit from the Single Market. Staying in would mean retaining almost all of the most onerous and controversial aspects of EU membership.

Mansfield writes: “In the event of an exit, there exists a scenario for an open, prosperous and globally engaged UK that is eminently achievable.” This comes as a refreshing and reassuring voice for all of us who have been saying this for years. Chairman of the judging panel Lord Lawson re-iterates this point in The Telegraph: “As for access to the European market proper, we would continue to enjoy that in a globalised world, in or out of the EU, just as the rest of the world does.”

We at Get Britain Out fully support Mansfield’s bravery and acumen on his EU exit strategy. Mansfield points out how nonsensical it is that Britain pays ridiculous sums of money to Brussels on a daily basis when unemployment is still a serious issue.

Mansfield’s position is in clear opposition to the Europhilic and backwards stance of our current Coalition government. This is therefore a controversial stance to take – especially since Mansfield has a governmental job.  However his anti-EU arguments are watertight and reasoned. The panel of judges, for example, praised his ideas on how British trade would not suffer in the slightest if we left the EU. Get Britain Out have been spreading this message since day one.

The submission does not make compromises – Brussels is inherently flawed and any attempts of reformation are doomed to fail. David Cameron is a career politician; he has no experience in trade and is not in a position of authority to claim a renegotiation with the EU is better for Britain than a divorce. Mansfield, on the other hand, has experience as a diplomat with a solid background in trade policy.

The final seventeen entrants were announced last October and these were whittled down to six entries – so a very big well done to all finalists :

2nd prize of €10,000 went to Rory Broomfield (Director of The Freedom Association and Director of the Better Off Out campaign) and Iain Murray (Vice President for Strategy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington DC) for their joint submission;

And the 3rd prize of €5,000 went to Tim Hewish (Director and Co-Founder, Commonwealth Exchange);

The last three finalists were Prof Stephen Bush (Emeritus Professor of Process Manufacture and of Polymer Engineering at the University of Manchester); Ben Clements (reading for a BA in Chinese and Japanese at the University of Manchester) and Daniel Pycock (recent History and Economics graduate from the University of St. Andrews).

There was another special prize of €5,000 for the best entry from an individual aged 30 or under – Ian Mansfield, aged 30 won this as well!


In Prime Minister’s Questions today, David Nuttall MP recommended Cameron read the winning entry of the IEA Brexit Prize, as he may “get some ideas on why leaving the EU must be part of our long-term economic plan”. Cameron admitted leaving the EU is not on his agenda and laughingly mocked Nuttall’s request!

Get Britain Out congratulates all the winners and we urge the Prime Minister to rethink his Easter reading and consider these proposals carefully.  Cameron, as well as all government ministers, Members of Parliament, journalists and opinion-formers should read Mansfield’s entry, A Blueprint for Britain: Openness not Isolation, as it is essential that they get advice which is not prejudiced, but for once has “academic rigour”.

Jayne Adye, Director and Sam Woolfe, Research Assistant

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