City chiefs slam PM May's stance over Brexit

Some of the City's biggest hitters have delivered a withering critique of Theresa May's Brexit negotiations ahead of the 100 day anniversary of Britain's decision to quit the European Union.

Monday, 26th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:41 pm
Mrs May is accused of pushing the issue as far down the road as she can

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary and financial PR guru Roland Rudd rubbished the prime minister’s oft-used “Brexit means Brexit” catchphrase, while Sir Martin Sorrell has urged the Government to maintain access to the single market.

Mr O’Leary also accused the Government of delaying decision-making and warned that investment is being postponed.

“So far we’ve had the Government saying ‘Brexit means Brexit’, which is as clear as mud. Mrs May is kicking this as far down the road as she can. The British want to delay it for as long as they can - but the Government will have to start making decisions.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“The impact is beginning to be felt as investment decisions are being already postponed. Whether the UK leaves the EU or stays, I couldn’t care less. The issue for us is whether we stay in the single market.”

Ryanair is one of a string of companies, including British Airways and Virgin Group, that have warned of the impact of the referendum result on their business.

Mr Rudd, founder and chairman of corporate communications firm Finsbury, wants more clarity on Mrs May’s negotiating stance, adding that people are “waking up” to the difficulties involved in leaving the EU.

He said: “’Brexit means Brexit’ means nothing. After 100 days, we need more clarity about the Government’s negotiating position, starting with whether they want us to stay in the single market, which is so vital to so many British businesses.

“International partners like Australia and the US have said they will not talk to us about new trade deals until we leave.”