Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Alt-J among stars to back UK staying in EU

Jessie Ware, Franz Ferdinand and Hot Chip also sign a pro-EU open letter

Almost 300 UK celebrities have signed a letter backing Britain to remain in the European Union, arguing that leaving the EU would “damage” the creative industry.

The open letter, penned by the pro-EU Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, says: “Britain is not just stronger in Europe, it is more imaginative and more creative, and our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away.”

It adds: “Leaving Europe would be a leap into the unknown for millions of people across the UK who work in the creative industries, and for the millions more at home and abroad who benefit from the growth and vibrancy of Britain’s cultural sector.”

Among those to sign the letter include bands like Alt J, Rudimental, Franz Ferdinand and Hot Chip, plus singers Jessie Ware and Paloma Faith.

Actors Jude Law, Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Bill Nighy, Brian Blessed, Helena Bonham Carter, Sir Patrick Stewart and Steve Coogan have backed the letter, along with artist Tracey Emin, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, comedian Jo Brand, director Richard Curtis and writer Philip Pullman.

However, House of Cards author Lord Dobbs has responded to the letter, saying that British success in the creative sector was “not because of the EU”.

A referendum on whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU will take place on June 23.