A member of Britain's diplomatic service has won a 100,000 euro ($140,000) cash prize for his proposal outlining a blueprint for Britain after its potential exit from the European Union.
Iain Mansfield was awarded the "Brexit Prize" at an event hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in central London on Tuesday night. Mansfield, 30, is the Director of Trade and Investment at the UK's embassy in the Philippines. His winning proposal, "A Blueprint for Britain: Openness not Isolation" calls for the UK to join Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and introduce a "Great Repeal Bill" to review and ultimately dismantle EU regulations.
Mansfield argues that such actions would promote trade between Britain and emerging markets while reducing bureaucratic burdens on British business. He claims that UK GDP would increase by £1.3 billion ($2.17 billion) under his proposal.
The IEA, a nonpartisan free-market think tank based in London, introduced the Brexit Prize in July 2013 to "improve the debate about what an independent Britain would and could look like outside the EU, given that exit is an increasing possibility after the next election."
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to hold an "in/out" referendum on Britain's EU membership if his Conservative Party wins the country's general election next year.
The British public is divided on the issue. According to a poll conducted by YouGov last week, if a referendum were held, 42 percent of British voters would vote to remain in the EU, while 37 percent would vote to leave. Five percent of respondents said they would not vote; 16 percent said they did not know how they would vote.
The think tank asked entrants to imagine a referendum had resulted in an "out" vote and draft a "Blueprint for Britain", outlining a withdrawal process from the EU and a post-exit plan for Britain's global role.
The IEA received 149 initial entries and published a shortlist of 17 applicants in October 2013 before announcing a final list of six candidates last month.