250 business leaders back EU exit

A list of 250 business leaders who support Britain leaving the European Union, EU has been published by the Vote Leave group.

The list includes former HSBC chief executive, Michael Geoghegan, the founder of Phones 4u John Caudwell and the hotelier Sir Rocco Forte.

Britain Stronger in Europe said Vote Leave could not find a business to officially back it, as those listed supported it in a “personal capacity.”

A referendum on whether the UK should stay in the EU will be held on June 23.

Last month, bosses of 36 of the largest listed companies in Britain signed a letter urging voters to remain in the EU.

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

Vote Leave also announced that its Business Council would be chaired by John Longworth, who resigned his role as Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) earlier this month.

The pro-Brexit camp has struggled to counter the impression that most big companies prefer to remain in the EU.

Longworth’s resignation followed his suspension for saying the UK’s long-term prospects could be “brighter” outside the EU when the BCC had an official position of neutrality on the referendum.

Vote Leave’s Business Council will make the case that EU membership is holding back British business.

“If we Vote Leave, liberated from the shackles of EU membership, jobs will be safer, Britain will be able to spend our money on our priorities and we can look forward to faster growth and greater prosperity in the future,” Longworth said.

Some of the business leaders who have signed up as backers of the Vote Leave campaign are:

Emma Pullen, Managing Director of the British Hovercraft Company
John Hoerner, former Chief Executive Officer, Tesco Clothing UK and Central Europe
Luke Johnson, Chairman of Patisserie Valerie
Jon Moulton, founder of Better Capital LLP
Rupert Hambro, Director of Theo Fennell Plc
Pasha Khandaker, President of the Bangladesh Caterers Association
Damon de Laszlo, Chairman of Harwin Plc
John Sclater, former President of Equitable Life.