A GROUP of influential Scottish celebrities, academics, charity bosses and business people are launching a campaign to try to halt Brexit.

Backers of the push include the actor Brian Cox, the historian Tom Devine, and third-sector umbrella organisation the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

The group will publish a declaration this morning which claims that “the best future for our community is to remain within the European Union”.

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It says: “Scotland voted clearly and decisively across the country to remain within the EU.

“Nothing in our future relationship with the European Union is inevitable. We can change course and build the society we choose.

“We hereby commit to work with and support people and organisations of all political views and of none to maintain our European Union membership.”

Andrew Burns, convener of the SCVO said: “People in Scotland voted by a sizeable majority to stay in the EU and all our evidence shows strength of feeling in the third sector is even greater.

“We believe that nothing is inevitable about our departure from the EU and consider that now is the time to put the brakes on process which – however it is concluded – would have a negative impact on communities all across Scotland.”

Vanessa Glynn from the European Movement in Scotland, who is one of the campaign’s co-ordinators, said: “Brexit is looking increasingly damaging and out of control.

“We can and must change our direction – in a democracy, we can always do that. However, time is running out, and we call on all those who care about Scotland and Europe to sign our declaration and join our campaign.”

Best for Britain, the pro-Remain campaign, closely linked to billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF), has helped fund the campaign.

Last October, Soros gave $18bn (£12.8bn), to the foundation, which exists to financially support civil society groups fighting for democracy, and education.