Busi­ness fig­ures call for vote on Brexit terms

- Sun­day Times

Stabroek News Sunday - - WORLD NEWS -

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.

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