Some senior financiers are advocating a “people’s vote” on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, exposing a sharp split with much of the City of London, which last week backed the prime minister’s blueprint for Britain’s relationship with the EU.
Half a dozen leading figures told the FT City Network, a panel of more than 50 representatives from finance, business and policymaking, that Brexit had essentially been mis-sold to the British public. A second vote was crucial if Mrs May’s deal failed to secure parliamentary backing next month, they said.
Mrs May unveiled Britain’s draft withdrawal treaty from the EU on Wednesday. Guy Hands, the Guernsey-based founder of private equity firm Terra Firma said a “people’s vote” was “the only democratic way out” if parliament rejected the deal.
“Without a new vote based on the correct facts, the population of the UK will be having a decision inflicted on them which they did not vote for,” Mr Hands said. “This will be a political, economic and human disaster.”
Mrs May said the options before us were her deal, no deal or no Brexit. These options should be put to the country in a referendum to determine the course we take Samir Desai, Funding Circle Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, until recently the European head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and now a partner at Perella Weinberg, said every effort should be made to secure parliamentary support for Mrs May’s deal, but if that failed “there is a strong case for a further public vote”. He warned that “no deal would be a calamity and an abrogation of political responsibility”.
Among the other figures who spoke out in favour of a second vote was Samir Desai, chief executive of the peer-to-peer loan “unicorn” Funding Circle. “Mrs May said the options before us were her deal, no deal or no Brexit,” he said. “These options should be put to the country in a referendum to determine the course we take.” [...]
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