Business figures call for vote on Brexit terms
- Sunday Times
LONDON, (Reuters) - More than 70 business figures are calling for a public vote on the final terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union, warning that the country faces “either a blindfold or a destructive hard Brexit”, the Sunday Times reported.
Firms are increasingly worried about the prospect of Britain leaving the world’s biggest trading bloc in March without an agreement, or that politicians will sign up to a deal that limits companies’ access to the continent’s markets.
A new group called “Business for a People’s Vote”, which includes Justin King, former boss of the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain, and John Neill, head of the car parts supplier Unipart, is to be launched as campaigners raise the pressure on politicians.
London and Brussels hope to conclude a deal this month, but in a letter, the business figures warn of potential negative consequences.
“We are now facing either a blindfold or a destructive hard Brexit. Both these options will further depress investment,” the Sunday Times quoted the letter as saying.
“They will be bad for business and bad for working people. Given that neither was on the ballot in 2016, we believe the ultimate choice should be handed back to the public with a People’s Vote.”
Britain’s Brexit ministry said it was confident of securing a deal that works for businesses and reiterated the government’s opposition to a second referendum.
“The people of the United Kingdom have already had their say in one of the biggest democratic exercises this country has ever seen and the prime minister has made it clear that there is not going to be a second referendum,” said a spokesman. MILAN, (Reuters) - Heavy rain and gales devastating parts of Italy have claimed two more lives, taking the overall death toll to at least 17, and laid waste to vast swathes of forest.
A German tourist died on Friday when hit by lightning on the island of Sardinia while another person struck by lightning several days ago died in hospital, Italy’s Civil Protection Agency said on Saturday.
A spokeswoman said 17 deaths related to the severe weather had been reported to the Agency so far.
Many of the victims to date have been killed by falling trees. Coldiretti, the association of Italian agricultural companies, said in a statement that gales had destroyed around 14 million trees, many in the far north.
Areas from the far northeast to Sicily in the southwest have been affected by the storms, with the worst damage in the northern regions of Trentino and Veneto - the region around Venice - where villages and roads have been cut off by landslides.
In the Alps near Belluno, 100 km (60 miles) north of Venice, pine trees and red spruces were snapped wholesale like matchsticks.
The surface of the Comelico Superiore dam, farther north near the Austrian border, was covered with the trunks of trees that had fallen into the Piave river.