PASSIONATE sermons against Britain's membership of the EU fell on largely converted ears at a debate in Weymouth.

Many in the crowd had come to the Weymouth Pavilion last night to see the evening's big hitter Nigel Farage make his case for leaving the EU.

However, the bill was by no means lacking in other leave camp stars, with speakers covering all bases to reach the broadest demographic.

Conservative MP Richard Drax, founder of Wetherspoons Tim Martin and Labour MP Kate Hoey joined Mr Farage on stage, each designated a 15 minute slot - though only Mr Drax threatened to exceed the time limit.

He started off proceedings after an introduction from Councillor Jeff Cant who said that the popularity of the event showed how "this whole issue has caught the imagination of people in Weymouth."

In his speech, Mr Drax criticised an apparent absence of passion in the remain camp, at one point characterising his opponents as pantomime villains as a homage to the venue.

He said: "There are inners and outers - I'm an outer.

"I'm yet to find a really, really passionate inner.

"I have always wondered why inners aren't so passionate, what makes them not really believe what they are saying.

"I believe it's because, in their hearts, they believe we are right to get our country back."

He went on to suggest that Britain's position in Europe would be weakened by an in-vote on June 23 because European legislators would take it as a sign of complete confidence in the union.

He said: "If we vote in on June 23, everything that I believe in will go.

"I think it is that serious because how can 28 different countries, so different countries, be in union without running it more and more from the centre.

"Decisions are made over which you have no control whatsoever."

Kate Hoey and Tim Martin both evoked the spirit of arch-Eurosceptic Tony Benn in their speeches.

Much of Mrs Hoey's speech was concerned with the question of immigration and the right for individual countries to decide their own legislation.

Mrs Hoey, in closing, said: "We will get nothing if we are back in the EU after June 23.

"This is an opportunity for us all who believe in democracy."

Nigel Farage was the last of the four speakers to take centre stage, but the audience had reserved a fevered burst of applause for the UKIP leader.

Like the speakers before him, Mr Farage talked of the European Union as being an impediment to democracy.

He said: "I've been on this ticket for over 20 years.

"I've been involved in this for one simple reason: I believe that those who came before us gave and sacrificed everything they had so that we in Europe could be free, nation-state democracies.

"I did worry for many years that I would become the patron saint of lost causes.

"But now something is happening.

"Do not let anybody in the press tell you that this is a right wing or left wing issue.

"This is not about right and left, it is about right and wrong and the battle lines have been drawn.

"The remain side are trying to bully us, they are trying to threaten us.

"They tell us that unless we are part of this union that all trade would cease.

"The argument is that we would lose billions of pounds of income.

"Trade is not made by the politicians - trade is about the buyer being the king of the market place.

"This idea that without the EU we would not be doing business. We are told that we are not capable of making our own trade deals."

He finished on immigration and state sovereignty.

He said: "We cannot go on with a net migration going on at a third of a million people a year.

"We must say we want control of our boarders back.

"Most important of all, we cannot be a country if our parliament do not make our own laws, if our courts cannot be the arbiters of justice.

"What our political class has done is to betray the people of this nation.

"I want my country back."

This event was organised by the Weymouth Chamber of Commerce.

The ‘remain’ event is taking place on Thursday, June 9 at Weymouth College, with speakers Clare Moody MEP, Anthony Smallwood, who is a former press spokesman for the EU, and Richard Bronk, a political economist. Tickets for the event will shortly be available through the chamber’s website.

If you want your country back then let's make June 23rd our Independence Day!

— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) May 18, 2016