EU referendum: 250 business leaders behind exit, contend campaigners

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The Vote Leave debate organisation has published a list of 250 business leaders who it says support Britain withdrawal a EU.

The list includes former HSBC arch executive Michael Geoghegan, a owner of Phones 4u John Caudwell and a hotelier Sir Rocco Forte.

But Britain Stronger in Europe pronounced Vote Leave could not find a business to strictly behind it, as those listed upheld it in a “personal capacity”.

A referendum on either a UK should stay in a EU will be hold on 23 June.

Last month, bosses of 36 of a largest listed companies in Britain signed a minute propelling electorate to sojourn in a EU.

Vote Leave also announced that a business legislature would be chaired by John Longworth, who quiescent his role as executive ubiquitous of a British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) progressing this month.

The council, done adult of business leaders, will speak to businesses around a nation to make their evidence for an EU exit.

It will make a box that EU membership is holding behind British business and will primarily be done adult of members from a house of debate organisation Business for Britain.


Analysis

By Joe Lynam, BBC business correspondent

The pro-Brexit stay has striven to opposite a sense that many large companies cite to sojourn in a EU. A third of FTSE 100 bosses publicly upheld staying in final month.

This business council, underneath a auspices of Vote Leave, tries to residence that by bringing together entrepreneurs and former association leaders who all wish Britain to quit a EU.

There are some charming names on a list and a few obvious bosses including a former HSBC trainer Michael Geoghegan, Tim Martin from JD Wetherspoon and Phones 4u owner John Caudwell.

Many, like Sir Stuart Wheeler and co-founder of Carphone Warehouse David Ross, have ties to UKIP and a Conservatives.

But there are no stream FTSE 100 arch executives or chairmen and usually 13 out of a 250 signatories are women – including Sir Rocco Forte’s sister Olga and his niece Alex Polizzi.


Mr Longworth’s abdication followed his cessation for observant a UK’s long-term prospects could be “brighter” outward a EU when a BCC had an central position of neutrality on a referendum.

Mr Longworth said: “If we Vote Leave, released from a shackles of EU membership, jobs will be safer, Britain will be means to spend a income on a priorities and we can demeanour brazen to faster expansion and larger wealth in a future.”

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Image caption

Vote Leave announced a Business Council will be chaired by former BCC arch John Longworth

Matthew Elliott, Vote Leave’s arch executive, pronounced it had a “growing list of business supporters”.

Mr Elliott said: “Vote Leave will make that case, that while a EU competence be good for large multinationals, for smaller businesses it acts as a pursuit drop regulatory machine.

“Brussels hinders smaller businesses, quite those firms who can’t means to run Brussels to curry favour.

“Jobs, salary and a economy will flower when we take behind control and Vote Leave.”

But Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who is ancillary a Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, pronounced businesses could see “we are stronger, safer and better-off in a reformed EU”.

“Survey after consult shows that tiny businesses – a fortitude of a economy – wish to stay inside a EU rather than take a jump in a dark,” he said.

Sir Michael Rake, authority of BT and a associate believer of a In campaign, pronounced a infancy of businesses were in foster of staying in a EU.

And he pronounced a Leave debate were “not entrance forward” with a recommendations of how a UK could work if it we were to leave a union.

“Many of a options that are talked about – Norway, Switzerland, Canada – are not realistic,” he said.

They “would need us to have a same commitments, a same giveaway transformation of labour, a same emigration policies and compensate into a bill as we now do – but any influence.”


Some of a business leaders who have sealed adult as backers of a Vote Leave campaign:

Emma Pullen, MD of a British Hovercraft Company

John Hoerner, former arch executive officer, Tesco Clothing UK and Central Europe

Luke Johnson, authority of Patisserie Valerie

Jon Moulton, owner of Better Capital LLP

Rupert Hambro, executive of Theo Fennell Plc

Pasha Khandaker, boss of a Bangladesh Caterers Association

Damon de Laszlo, authority of Harwin Plc

John Sclater, former boss of Equitable Life


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