Over 50 of Britain's leading business figures and entrepreneurs - including the founder of Ebookers, Dinesh Dhamija, co-founder of Innocent Drinks Richard Reed and businesswoman Nicola Horlick - have backed the Liberal Democrats today as the only UK party campaigning to stay in single market.
In a letter to The Times, the business figures write that leaving the single market would be "destructive to the British economy," and that the Liberal Democrats are "the only party speaking for business and the majority of Britons on the key issue at this election."
Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable commented:
“The Liberal Democrats now have support from a large number of serious figures in the business community, showing that we are rapidly emerging as the party of business, both big and small.
“Theresa May’s determination to take us out of the single market would devastate the financial sector, while taking us out of the customs union would cause incalculable disruption to manufacturing .
“Theresa May herself warned of the Brexit dangers to our exports in a speech at Goldman Sachs. Since then she has taken on the agenda of Nigel Farage, who has understandably declared himself delighted with her.
“That is scary. It is vital that the next parliament contains enough Liberal Democrat voices to argue for Britain’s future in the world’s most lucrative single market. The more Liberal Democrat MPs, the better the deal we can secure on Europe."
Full text of letter and list of signatories:
Sir, We represent a broad range of businesses across the UK collectively employing tens of thousands of people. As business leaders and owners, we believe that leaving the single market and the customs union would be destructive to the British economy and to our businesses.
At present, we have full access to a market of 500 million customers and the best and most skilled workers across the EU. If we leave the single market, thousands of businesses would lose their competitive edge. We cannot stand by while our country’s future is hijacked by hardcore Brexiteers who do not represent the views of the majority. Polls show two thirds of voters believe staying in the single market should be the priority, and three-quarters want EU citizens working in the UK to continue to be allowed to do so.
The Conservatives’ failure to even mention a transitional deal threatens Britain’s status as one of the best countries in the world with which to do business. While we may not have voted Liberal Democrat in the past and we may not agree with the party on all issues, they are now the only party speaking for business and the majority of Britons on the key issue at this election.The simple fact is that we can’t have both a hard Brexit and a strong economy. We choose a strong economy. That’s why we will be voting for the Liberal Democrats.
Peter Bennett-Jones, PBJ Management
Roger Billins, director, RB Law Limited
Lee Cameron, Professor Chris Bones, chairman, Good Growth Limited
Simon Curtis, senior maritime lawyer
Peter Crystal, senior lawyer
Guy De Selliers, vice-chairman of group board, Ageas
Dinesh Dhamija, founder, Ebookers
Jay Dias, founder and managing director Leela Capital
Andrew Dixon, managing director, ARC InterCapital
John Forbes, partner, John Forbes Consulting LLP
Jessica Frankopan, co-founder, Curious Group of Hotels
Kevin Gibson, founder, Hanzo Archives
Stephen Goldstein, chairman
Peter Guilford, co-founder and executive chairman, G+ Europe
Tony Harris, angel investor
Paul Hennemeyer, managing director
Tom Hogg, chairman, Cheshire Datasystems Limited
Nicola Horlick, CEO, Denmark Square Limited
Melissa Johnson, director, Cheshire Datasystems Limited
Phillip Kerle, co-founder, Tranzacta Ltd
Adam Knight, co-founder and board director, Social & Sustainable Capital
Robert Laurence, CEO, Resolution Property
Tilly McAuliffe, co-founder and non-executive director, Think,
Carl Michel, chairman, Firedrop.ai
Turi Munthe, partner
Jo Owen OBE
Tim Parlett, co-founder, Zopa
Mark Petterson, executive director, Warwick Energy Limited
Neil Phoenix MBE, founder, FRICS
Alex Proud, CEO, The Proud Group
Professor Nathu Puri, founder, Purico Group of Companies
Richard Reed, co-founder, Innocent
Rodney Schwartz, co-founder and CEO Clearlyso
Rahul Sharma, CEO, Careline Lifestyles
Richard Steer, chairman, Gleeds
Peter Tuvey, managing director, Fleximize
Justin Urquhart-Stewart, co-founder and head of corporate development, Seven Investment Management
Madeleine Weightman, co-founder, The Work Crowd
Ben Whately, co-founder and COO, Memrise
Joseph Zammit-Lucia, CEO, Clinical Insights