Sir Richard Branson calls for another Brexit referendum

Richard Branson in a file photo. Source: WikiCommons/British Polo Day Morocco/Land Rover MENA
Richard Branson in a file photo. Source: WikiCommons/British Polo Day Morocco/Land Rover MENA

One of richest people in Britain, Sir Richard Branson, has called for a second Brexit vote amid hundreds of thousands of people marching across London to protest against the UK leaving the European Union.

Branson, who doesn’t live in the UK anymore and is worth £4.5bn ($5.9bn), wrote in a blog for the Virgin website that the UK is “dangerously close to full scale disaster” and how he “couldn’t agree more” with the Confederation of British Industry and the Trade Union Congress that “Brexit is now a national emergency.

“At this juncture, it seems implausible that another motion to vote on the withdrawal agreement would actually win majority Parliamentary support. And even with an extended Brexit deadline, that’s a major risk to the UK, and to the Union itself,” said Branson in his post.

“This is a moment of profound national crisis for the UK. Yet there is no sign of the inclusive leadership such a crisis requires. Prioritising party over country, the Prime Minister is no longer acting in the national interest. Instead, she has decided to pitch herself as the defender of the “people” against the machinations of Parliament. By limiting the MPs’ choice yet again to one between her own deal and no deal at all, she is placing a dangerous bet.”

At the weekend, hundreds of thousands of people marched across London, protesting against Brexit and asking for another vote in light of the handling of Britain’s departure from the bloc and the continuous fallout from within the Conservative party and parliament across all parties.

British lawmakers will seek to use a vote on the government’s next steps on Brexit on Monday to wrest control of the process and try to find a majority for an alternative way forward that would break the parliamentary deadlock. Meanwhile, there was also rumours of a coup, where a number of Conservative politicians, which have been trying to unseat prime minister Theresa May for the last year, are looking to oust her.

Meanwhile, Britain has been given a couple of options when it comes to delaying Brexit. Britain will either leave the EU on May 22, if parliament passes her deal. She has tried to pass her deal twice before and both were voted down by large margins. However, if the vote fails, Britain only has until April 12 to offer a new plan or crash out of the bloc without a deal — known as a no-deal Brexit or hard Brexit.

Today, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and PwC surveyed 84 financial services and found their optimism about UK business conditions declined by 45% in the first quarter of 2019 and said Brexit is a “national emergency.”

Last week CBI chief Carolyn Fairbairn took the unusual step of partnering with Trades Union Congress (TUC) leader Francis O’Grady to write an open letter calling for UK prime minister Theresa May to come up with a “Plan B” on Brexit.

“The truth is that the people’s views are never static. They evolve. And they can change. I am not alone in feeling many UK people have changed their minds,” said Branson in his post.

“The UK Government must now put all options on the table, and giving the people a final say must be one of these options.

“If it is not , there is only one alternative – a clear decision by Parliament to require the Government to revoke Article 50 and start the process again from scratch, armed with the facts. There is little time to avoid a multi-generational disaster.”