Battle lines drawn in EU referendum debate
Ocado Chairman and former M&S boss Lord Stuart Rose will lead the campaign to keep the UK in the European Union as campaign groups for and against membership are launched.
Former Marks and Spencer CEO Lord Stuart Rose is set to lead the cross-party campaign to keep the UK in the European Union.
The Conservative peer's appointment to the "In" campaign comes just days after a group of Tory, Labour and UKIP MPs and peers launched the Vote Leave campaign to take the UK out of the EU.
Vote Leave is competing with UKIP-supported Leave.EU to be the main group campaigning for an exit. The Electoral Commission will decide which will benefit from official status with an increased spending limit of £7m, broadcasts and free mail-outs.
No formal date has yet been announced for the promised vote in 2017 but the pace of campaigning for and against membership is gathering pace.
The "In" campaign is called Britain Stronger in Europe and will be launched today (Monday). It has the support of former Prime Ministers Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and a range of well-known business figures including Baroness Karren Brady, Vice-Chair of West Ham United and star of The Apprentice television show.
Lord Rose, who is now Chairman of online supermarket Ocado, said Britain would be "stronger, safer and better off inside Europe".
Vote Leave has backing from figures with varied political affiliations, including City millionaire and Conservative donor Peter Cruddas, and John Mills, a financial backer of Labour. Politicians include the Conservative MP Steve Baker, Labour's Kate Hoey and Douglas Carswell of UKIP.
Its campaigners said that while Prime Minister David Cameron may be able to negotiate a new deal with Europe, they want to see a "new relationship" based on regaining control of policies and an end to "sending £350m a week to Brussels".
Mr Carswell broke ranks from the main party line to join Vote Leave. Leave.EU was launched at the UKIP party conference and has the support of UKIP leader Nigel Farage and financial backing from UKIP donor Arron Banks.
Leave.EU said a euro exit would enable the UK to "decide our own laws, control our own borders and forge our own global trade deals".
Earlier this year, ICAS published a paper which set out the background to how the EU impacts the UK, drawn from the views of our expert committees and members.
Sources: PA News, BBC News