The Institute of Economic Affairs has announced the shortlisted candidates for it’s €100,000 Brexit Prize. The money will be awarded to the person or persons who can come up with the best blueprint for UK withdrawal from the EU.

The competition was announced earlier this year, and addresses an important question: assuming an ‘out’ vote has been secured in a referendum and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has been invoked, what should Britain’s plan be for the process of withdrawal and the post-exit repositioning of the UK in the global trading and governance systems?

Having a ready answer to this question is vital for securing that all-important ‘Out’ vote, as it’s only by presenting a coherent, positive vision of life outside the EU that we’ll persuade a nervous public to throw their lot in with the Out campaign.

Commenting on the release of the shortlist, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“This is a crucial time for Britain as we decide what our relationship with the rest of the world should be. Much of the debate about our relationship with the European Union has focused on the pros and cons of membership. But what is urgently needed is a blueprint for how the UK should arrange its affairs if the British people decide to leave. The Brexit prize is a first, crucial step in providing this vital intellectual groundwork.”

Encouragingly, 149 entries were received from across the globe, suggesting that much thought is already being given to the problem.

The shortlist is as follows:

·       William John Bailey, Kathleen Garner, Laura Stringer – William and Kathleen are Fellows of the Royal Statistical Society; Laura works in Engineering

·       Kieran Bailey – a 15 year old schoolboy

·       David Campbell Bannerman – MEP for the East of England

·       James Bennett – writer and entrepreneur

·       Rory Broomfield Deputy Director of The Freedom Association; and Iain Murray – Vice President for Strategy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington DC

·       Ralph Buckle – Director and Co-Founder of Commonwealth Exchange; and Tim Hewish – Director and Co-Founder, Commonwealth Exchange

·       Dr. Ciarán Burke – lecturer in EU law at the University of Passau; and Dr Olafur Hannesson – currently writing his first book

·       Prof Stephen Bush – Emeritus Professor of Process Manufacture and of Polymer Engineering at the University of Manchester

·       Dr Alan Butt Philip – Honorary Reader in European Integration in the School of Management at the University of Bath

·       Ben Clements – reading for a BA (hons) in Chinese and Japanese at the University of Manchester.

·       Iain Mansfield – Director of Trade and Investment at the British Embassy in Manila

·       Dr Richard North – political researcher and analyst, blogger and author

·      Robert Oulds – Director of the Bruges Group

·       Daniel Pycock – recently graduated from the University of St. Andrews, where he read History and Economics

·       Philip Rush – Chief UK Economist at Nomura

·       Miles Saltiel – CEO of the Fourth Phoenix Company, and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute; and Charles Proctor –  partner in the London law firm, Fladgate LLP, and a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. 

·       Lionel Zetter – public affairs consultant, author, trainer and lecturer

Initial submissions were around 2,000 words in length. The competition’s initial judging panel is now inviting the authors of the 17 shortlisted entries to make full submissions of between 10,000 and 20,000 words within a further four months.

Let’s hope they come up with a blinder.

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