David Cameron answers students' questions on the EU referendum at Exeter University
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Britain is in the throes of Brexit hysteria as the referendum on the country's membership of the EU nears its 23 June vote. Since Prime Minister David Cameron decided to tackle the for and against camps once and for all and promised the UK electorate the opportunity to vote back in 2013, he threatened a possible departure to negotiate better terms for the country on issues, including immigration and financial regulations.
Following the re-election win in 2015, Cameron began talks that went on for months before sealing a deal on reforms with the EU, allowing him to put a date on the referendum. The build-up has led an array of significant public figures and celebrities to pipe up with their opinions.
The Eurosceptics believe that the economic and political partnership between 28 countries has undue influence over British sovereignty. They claim that it hands over control of tax policy, financial regulation and migration levels to Brussels policymakers, where the EU's institutions are headquartered, and that Cameron's deal does little to improve the relationship.
The argument to remain in the EU includes better bargaining powers on trade and defence, as well as boosting each member state's economy by allowing free movement of labour and trade within the union, resulting in greater stability overall. Those in favour to remain have also stated that the EU has more power over foreign policy. So amidst all the serious Brexit chat,
IBTimes UK takes a peek at some of the more familiar faces chipping in on the debate.
Camp: LEAVE Sol Campbell
Sol Campbell in his Arsenal days celebrates after scoring in a UEFA Champions League game in 2010
The ex-England football captain fully supports Brexit and reckons it would force the Premier League to develop more home-grown players. He thinks that British clubs are being inundated by foreign stars, which makes it a lot less likely for UK players to stand a chance in playing for their own country. Writing about the subject in The Mail On Sunday, Campbell said: "We are seeing teams load up with too many mediocre overseas footballers, especially from Europe, crowding out young English and British talent." He went on: "There is a real danger that we could ruin young people's connection with the sport and lose the chance to discover the next generation of top home-grown players."
Sir Michael Caine
Sir Michael Caine attends the Academy screening of his film Youth on 20 November 2015
The Alfie actor famously backed Brexit during a Radio 4 interview when he lashed out at "faceless civil servants" making decisions for the UK. The Conservative-voting star said that he is "pretty certain" that Britain should leave the EU and shunned the argument that Britons would "work harder" and "try harder" until life on the outside enhanced. He quipped: "You cannot be dictated to by thousands of faceless civil servants who make these rules and you say: 'Oh, wait a minute.' Then they argue about financially but we buy more from them than we sell to them." Caine added: "I sort of feel certain we should come out."
Commentator Katie Hopkins poses for a photo during the UKIP annual conference where she spoke to a fringe group about electoral reform
The acerbic columnist and former star of The Apprentice ruffled a few feathers after she used the Brussels attack to justify why Britain should leave the EU. Her controversial comments came just hours after the three explosions in Brussels that caused multiple deaths. Hopkins took to Twitter to accuse German Chancellor Angela Merkel of causing them, saying: "Next time you hear someone say we are safer IN the EU – remember Brussels. Seen as the heart of Europe, it is now jihadi central. Every one of you who said refugees are welcome, if you said 'let them in'. You are responsible for Brussels. And you still can't see."
Sir Ian Botham
Sir Ian Botham celebrates the end of his South African walk with Kumala Wines at Hout Bay in Cape Town
Cricket legend Botham has batted away Brexit critics by attacking the way money is sent to the EU and "gets swallowed up by waste and corruption." He recently said: "[As part of the EU] we have lost the right to govern ourself, to make our own laws and choose who comes here." He continued: "It is time to reclaim our basic sovereignty, the power to decide for ourselves. This proud trading nation must take back control from the bureaucrats in Brussels and make our way in the world once again, with confidence."
Camp: REMAIN Emma Thompson
Actress Emma Thompson attends a Berlin photo call for her film Alone in Berlin on 15 February 2016
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
The actress Emma Thompson thinks it would be "madness" for Britain to leave the EU, arguing she felt more "European than English," as she presented her new Nazi-era thriller movie Alone In Berlin at the 66th International Film Festival. She said: "I feel European even though I live in Great Britain, and in Scotland," adding, "So of course I'm going to vote to stay in Europe. Oh my God, it would be madness not to. It would be a crazy idea not to. We should be taking down borders, not putting them up."
Businesswoman Karren Brady speaks at Conservative Party Conference in September 2013 in Manchester
Businesswoman and vice-chairperson of West Ham United, Brady thinks that Brexit would have a "devastating" effect on British football clubs. Unlike Campbell, The Apprentice star reckons British teams could find it harder to sign top European players if Britain decides to sever ties with Brussels. The Conservative peer penned a letter to professional teams, warning that "cutting ourselves off from Europe would have devastating consequences" for the competitiveness of British football and the economy.
Stephen Hawking at a press conference to launch a space exploration initiative at One World Observatory on 12 April 2016 in New York City
Proving that a Brexit could impact on an array of fields, Professor Hawking has called for Britain to remain in the EU and believes that leaving could be a "disaster for UK science." He claims that many promising young scientists are recruited from Europe, adding that increased funding from Europe had a positive effect on the evolvement of UK science. The researchers, including Hawking, wrote in a letter to The Times: "First, increased funding has raised greatly the level of European science as a whole and of the UK in particular because we have a competitive edge." The letter continued: "Second, we now recruit many of our best researchers from continental Europe, including younger ones who have obtained EU grants and have chosen to move with them here."
Jim Murphy (L), former leader of the Scottish Labour Party, campaigns with comedian Eddie Izzard on 4 May 2015 in Glasgow
Comedian Eddie Izzard, who has flirted with bidding to become London's mayor, has also voiced his opinion on a Brexit, and says it would be a sign of fear. "We've got to live together in some shape or form, so let's make it work better, not run away and hide, put our head in the sand. We're not ostriches, we're human beings," he said.