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British Fashion Council CEO joins business voices calling for "People's Vote"

Lauretta Roberts
17 January 2019

Caroline Rush CBE, the CEO of the British Fashion Council (BFC), added her voice to those of 170 business leaders who have written to Prime Minister Theresa May to demand a second referendum on Britain's exit from the European Union.

A number of signatories to a letter, published in today's edition of The Times, had said that they had backed Theresa May's deal to leave the EU – with reservations – in preference to a no deal. However since the deal was roundly rejected by Parliament on Tuesday evening in an historic defeat for the Government, the leaders have broken cover and openly supported the idea of going back to the public to verify the result of the 2016 referendum.

"Many businesses backed the prime minister’s Brexit deal despite knowing that it was far from perfect. But it is no longer an option. The priority now is to stop us crashing out of the EU with no deal at all. The only feasible way to do this is by asking the people whether they still want to leave the EU.

"With the clock now ticking rapidly before we are due to quit, politicians must not waste any more time on fantasies. We urge the political leadership of both the main parties to support a People’s Vote."

Joining Rush to back the People's Vote are Boohoo chairman Peter Williams, Marks & Spencer non-executive director and former CEO of Sainsbury's Justin King, former Marks & Spencer chairman Lord Myners, Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden of Tatty Devine, Kathryn Parsons of Decoded and Duncan Painter, CEO of WGSN owner Ascential.

Their names are on a list that includes some of Britain's foremost business leaders including architects Lord Foster and Sir David Chipperfield, Richard Johnston, the UK chief executive of Endemol Shine, entrepreneur Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, and Dave Sproxton, the co-founder of Aardman Animations.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is under increasing pressure to come out in favour of a People's Vote given his failed attempt to bring a vote of no confidence in the government yesterday, which was won by the grace of Theresa May's bought Confidence and Supply arrangement with Northern Ireland's DUP.

Yesterday the British Retail Consortium issued a statement to say that a no deal Brexit would be "devastating" for the sector and called for Parliamentarians to come together to finding a "workable solution" to the current deadlock.

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