Caudwell and Ross removed...

Names wrongly included on list of Vote Leave signatories

John Longworth vidCampaigners calling for Britain to leave the European Union have been forced into an embarrassing apology after wrongly including the names of two business leaders among 250 on a list supporting a British exit.

Vote Leave has removed the Carphone Warehouse co-founder, David Ross, and the tycoon behind Phones4U John Caudwell.

Offering an apology this morning a Vote Leave spokesman admitted Mr Ross’s name was included in error and added that Mr Caudwell had been a previous supporter of the campaigner.

The Vote Leave spokesman added: “Mr Caudwell has been listed as a supporter of the campaign since he signed up in October last year.

“He has not told us that he no longer supports us, but we have removed him from the list.”

Those who have signed up include former HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan, JD Wetherspoon pub boss Tim Martin, the television ‘hotel inspector’ Alex Polizzi, and the hotelier Sir Rocco Forte – whose chain includes the Balmoral in Edinburgh.

Divisions are on the issue are now being exposed. The leaders of 36 of the largest listed companies in Britain last month signed a letter calling for Britain to retain its membership of the EU.

John Longworth (pictured), who resigned as director general of the British Chambers of Commerce after expressing his support for exiting the EU, has been appointed chairman of the Vote Leave business council.

He said: “This is the most important political debate of a generation. Business is divided on the issue and it is vital the full breadth of business opinion is heard.

“Many firms struggle with relentless interference from the EU and rules that are stacked in the favour of a select number of businesses. 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.’”  

A new YouGov poll commissioned by Vote Leave reveals that twice as many SMEs say the EU makes it harder to employ people than helps them and that a third of businesses polled believe that the EU hinders businesses like them.

Vote Leave said the survey undermines a key claim of the Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) campaign that EU membership helps employment.

Key findings of the poll:

  • The YouGov poll of over 1,000 SMEs reveals that only 14% believe that the EU makes it easier for their business to employ people while 31% believe the EU makes it harder for them to employ people.
  • More businesses (32%) believe that the EU hinders businesses like theirs than helps businesses like theirs (25%).


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