Forte blasts ‘in­com­pe­tent’ deal as bad for busi­ness

The Sunday Telegraph - - Brexit Turmoil - By Camilla Tominey AS­SO­CIATE EDITOR

SIR ROCCO FORTE, the Bri­tish hote­lier, has ac­cused “in­com­pe­tent” Theresa May of bungling Brexit and urged the Govern­ment to leave the EU on World Trade Or­gan­si­sa­tion terms be­cause Europe is an “un­com­pet­i­tive” place to do busi­ness.

De­scrib­ing the Prime Min­is­ter as an “arch-Re­mainer”, the for­mer Tory donor said a “third-rate ne­go­tia­tor in any mid­dle-sized com­pany” would have done a bet­ter job, and called for Boris John­son to take over.

Liken­ing the hys­te­ria around no deal to the mil­len­nium bug, he lam­basted Mrs May’s “de­featist” at­ti­tude, ac­cus­ing her of go­ing “cap in hand” to the EU. “Frankly,” he said, “I think Boris is the only one with a vi­sion.”

De­spite own­ing 11 ho­tels in­clud­ing nine in Europe, the 73-year-old en­tre­pre­neur said Bri­tain would be “far bet­ter off ” leav­ing on WTO terms.

He told The Sun­day Tele­graph: “I’d pre­fer no deal to any­thing else be­cause then we’re fully free, we don’t have to pay any money, we can use the £40bil­lion to in­vest in the north of Eng­land.

“It’s a bit like the mil­len­nium bug. There’s a lot of guff talked, mostly by peo­ple who don’t know what they’re talk­ing about. WTO means fric­tion­less trade. We may have some short-term dis­rup­tion, but it’s not go­ing to be very long lived. Fifty-five per cent of our trade is with the rest of the world.”

Sir Rocco added: “The Govern­ment has al­ways in­sisted the deal is good for busi­ness but it’s not. It might be good for a very small pro­por­tion, but 95 per cent of busi­nesses don’t trade with Europe, so why should they be sub­ject to Euro­pean laws and reg­u­la­tions?”

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