One of the main arguments during the 2016 EU referendum from the Brexiteers was that business has been limited due to EU regulation, and that the UK can’t trade freely with the rest of the world. There are many business leaders who agree with this argument, and some have donated millions towards campaign groups. From inventors and finance experts, to hoteliers and pub tycoons, there are a vast amount of business leaders who support leaving the EU.
Sir James Dyson:
One of the most innovative and wealthiest inventors still alive, Sir James Dyson, has always been a strong supporter of Brexit. The man who is behind the incredible Dyson products, including vacuums, believes the EU has strangled our trading opportunities around the world. He says “If we embrace it, Brexit can supercharge British technology and refocus minds on global trade. Let’s be bold and show a spirit of independence, enterprise, and optimism”. According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2017, the business leader is worth around £7.8 billion. His endorsement of Brexit demonstrates that the British culture of hard work and initiative will only benefit the UK in a post-Brexit world.
This business leader hardly needs an introduction, as he has been involved in politics and various campaigns over the last 6 years. Banks co-founded the political organisation and campaign Leave.EU which has been surrounded in controversy. Infamous Brexiteer, Nigel Farage MEP, has relied on Banks’ support for many years, as he previously bankrolled UKIP and subsequently donated around £8 million to the leave campaign. These huge donations have therefore made Mr Banks the largest donor in British political history. Arron Banks has always been a successful businessman, who currently owns the company “Eldon Insurance”, and he is reported to have a net worth of between £150-200 million.
Viscountess Bridgeman is the founder of the Bridgeman Art Library, a company created in 1972 which allowed users to access multiple images at the same time. The company has offices throughout Europe and in the USA. Bridgeman was also a founding member of the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA). In 1966 she married Robin Bridgeman, the third Viscount of the title. Viscountess Bridgeman is unique to this group of business leaders in that she represents art and culture, showing that Brexit is not primarily about business!
Everyone who is a regular at their local pub will know who this man is; the creator and owner of Wetherspoons. Tim Martin bought his first pub in 1979 and has since developed his business into a household name. In 2005, Mr Martin was voted the fifth most influential person in the UK pub industry, and it has been reported he visits up to 15 Wetherspoons a week! He has always been a die-hard supporter of Brexit and is currently lobbying the government for a no-deal Brexit. In the summer of 2018, it was announced that Wetherspoons would no longer serve products from Europe, as a demonstration that the UK can thrive after Brexit!
The Newspaper magnate has always been a Eurosceptic. On the day of the referendum, it was clear that he was a strong supporter of Brexit, with all of his Newspapers publishing a front page which encouraged people to vote to leave. Despite being from Australian decent, his various businesses make a lot of money in the UK. There has been some recent controversy surrounding the Murdoch bid to buy the majority of shares in the business corporation Sky, however they failed to secure it as they were outbid by an American network.
Lord Digby William Jones of Birmingham has been both a successful businessman and politician. He is the former Director General of the CBI who served between 2000-2006. In politics he became Minister of State for Trade and Investment between 2007-2008, which was considered unusual at the time as he was not a member of parliament. Presently, he sits in the House of Lords as a crossbench peer, but his views are mainly related to the Conservative Party and has spoken at the party’s conference multiple times.
Mr Tice is the co-founder of Leave.EU and is currently the Vice Chairman of the Leave Means Leave campaign. This businessman is the CEO of the asset management group Quidnet Capital LLP, which has over £500 million worth of property. Despite being a strong Brexiteer and critic of the current UK government, Mr Tice is a Conservative member and attempted to be the party’s nominee in the 2020 London Mayoral election, but failed to make the long-list. As well as Brexit, Mr Tice has also passionately campaigned for improvements on housing and education.
Many people will recognise her from the TV shows such as Great British Menu, and the Hotel Inspector. Her family have a vast array of hotels, but she has also started a successful bakery business which supplies products to Selfridges and other hotels. Polizzi was a passionate supporter of the leave campaign in 2016 but has since become worried about the way in which the current government are negotiating. This is because she believes the Chequers Deal could threaten the supply of labour into the hotel industry.
Formula 1 racing owes a huge amount to this businessman. Bernie Ecclestone is the former CEO of the Formula 1 group, which controls the commercial side and the rights to the sport. In 1972, he bought the racing team Brabham, which he ran for 15 years. As the popularity of the sport grew, so did his control and he became the man who engineered the incredibly successful television adverts and rights throughout the beginning of the 20th century. However, driving was not his only sporting interest; between 2007-2011 he co-owned the football club Queens Park Rangers. Bernie has been a quiet supporter of Brexit but has always been a critic of the damage done to business caused by EU rules and regulation.