NO EXIT: Major figures in the world of fashion and retail have voiced their opposition to Britain’s exit from the European Union ahead of a vote on June 23.
Christopher Bailey, chief creative and chief executive officer of Burberry, and Marc Bolland, ceo of Marks and Spencer, were among 198 chiefs of British companies who have pledged to support the campaign against Britain leaving.
They expressed their views in a letter published in The Times of London on Tuesday. Other signatories included Burberry chairman Sir John Peace; Jacqueline Gold, ceo of Ann Summers; Kurt Geiger chairman Neil Clifford, and Stuart Rose, chairman of the supermarket delivery service Ocado, and former ceo of Marks and Spencer. Rose is leading the “in” campaign.
The leaders said their businesses employ hundreds of thousands of people across the country. They said they are confident in the campaign being waged by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign calling for the country to remain a part of the alliance.
Earlier this week in Parliament, Cameron expressed his concerns over what is known in the U.K. as “Brexit,” and warned the country’s economy and security would be put at risk should Britain vote to break away from its neighbors on the Continent.
Bookmakers are putting the probability of Britain leaving the EU at 30 to 40 percent.
The business leaders wrote that they believe it would be better for businesses in the U.K. to have “unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs. We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment, threaten jobs and put the economy at risk. Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the EU,” the letter said.
Those who are campaigning for Britain to leave the EU — including London mayor Boris Johnson — feel the country is too closely controlled by EU lawmakers and bureaucrats.
The “out” campaigners believe that Britain’s membership in the EU poses threats to the country’s liberties, independence and economic prosperity. In their mission statement, they refer to the EU as “undemocratic, obsolete and fraud-ridden.”