Owen Paterson said that Britain will be left on the outside yet still tied to the EU if it carries out its plans for a reorganised monetary and fiscal union based on the Eurozone.
Speaking to a high level anti-EU group this week, the North Shropshire MP said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Mr Paterson is part of the Vote Leave Campaign an all party group that wants Britain to break away from Europe.
In a question and answer session at a meeting of The Bruges Group in London, the MP said: "It is the European Union that is leaving us, there is not doubt about it." He said three major EU reports put forward plans that in five years would mean a new, monetary and fiscal union in the Eurozone.
"Those of us not in the Euro will be given associate status," Mr Paterson said. "That is the worst position we could find ourselves in. We would still be tied to the EU yet would have no say at all. It is completely hopeless. We would be left on the outside."
He said it was an ideal time to vote to leave the union.
"We should be using this moment to wish them well but say this is the moment when we break out and establish a new connection based on trade – the connection promised in 1975," Mr Paterson said.
"But we should move away from much of the EU so that we can make our own laws in our own parliament, develop trade links across the world and become a fully fledged member of the World Trade Organisation rather than having 1/28th of a place on the organisation."
The MP went on to answer questions on the history of world trade and Britain and how this can help develop links internationally.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "We have very good relationships with China and long, historical links with India and of course the Commonwealth.
"We have to re-energise the Anglosphere, the traditional links that bind together Britain, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand."
Mr Paterson has emerged as a leading figure in the Vote Leave and anti-EU lobby. He has recently appeared on political programmes on both television and radio.