250 business leaders back Vote Leave, as new poll shows EU stops entrepreneurs creating jobs

Vote Leave has today unveiled 250 business leaders and entrepreneurs backing the campaign. Vote Leave is also announcing that its Business Council will be chaired by John Longworth, the former Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce. 

The Business Council, working in conjunction with Business for Britain, will make the case that EU membership is holding back British business. A new YouGov poll commissioned by Vote Leave reveals that twice as many SMEs say the EU makes it harder to employ people than helps them and that a third of businesses polled believe that the EU hinders businesses like them. The findings undermine a key claim of the Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) campaign that EU membership helps employment.

Key findings of the poll:

  • The YouGov poll of over 1,000 SMEs reveals that only 14% believe that the EU makes it easier for their business to employ people while 31% believe the EU makes it harder for them to employ people.
  • More businesses (32%) believe that the EU hinders businesses like theirs than helps businesses like theirs (25%).


Business leaders who have signed up as backers of the Vote Leave campaign include:


Michael Geoghegan, Former Chief Executive of HSBC Group Plc

Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoons

Pasha Khandaker, President of the Bangladesh Caterers Association

Damon de Laszlo, Chairman of Harwin Plc

John Sclater, Former President of Equitable Life

Martin Bellamy, Chairman and CEO of Salamanca Group

Dominic Burke, Group Chief Executive, Jardine Lloyd Thompson Plc

William Wright, Co-Founder, Wrightbus

Emma Pullen, MD of the British Hovercraft Company

John Hoerner, Former Chief Executive Officer, Tesco Clothing UK and Central Europe

Luke Johnson, Chairman of Patisserie Valerie

Jon Moulton, Founder of Better Capital LLP

Rupert Hambro, Director of Theo Fennell Plc

Rocco Forte, Chief Executive of Rocco Forte Hotels

Alex Polizzi, Director of Millers Bespoke Bakery

Gary Lydiate, Chief Executive, Kilfrost Group plc

Rob Lewis, Founder and CEO, Electric Jukebox Company

Peter Morgan, Former Director General, Institute of Directors

Clive Jacobs, Chairman, Jacobs Media Group


John Longworth, Chairman of the Vote Leave business council said:

‘I am delighted to be appointed the Chairman of Vote Leave’s Business Council. This is the most important political debate of a generation. Business is divided on the issue and it is vital the full breadth of business opinion is heard. Many firms struggle with relentless interference from the EU and rules that are stacked in the favour of a select number of businesses. If we Vote Leave, liberated from the shackles of EU membership, jobs will be safer, Britain will be able to spend our money on our priorities and we can look forward to faster growth and greater prosperity in the future.’    


Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of Vote Leave said:

‘We’re delighted that John Longworth has agreed to chair Vote Leave’s Business Council. His strong business track record and his courageous decision to share his true beliefs with voters makes him an extremely powerful voice in the EU debate. With our growing list of business supporters, Vote Leave will make that case that whilst the EU might be good for big multinationals, for smaller businesses it acts as a job destruction regulatory machine. Brussels hinders smaller businesses, particularly those firms who can’t afford to lobby Brussels to curry favour. Jobs, wages and our economy will thrive when we take back control and Vote Leave.’

Notes to editors

Polling tables: 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total GB sample size was 1002 SME Decision makers, between 14th - 21st March 2016. The survey was carried out online. The overall GB figures have been weighted to company size. YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by their rules.


The full list of business leaders backing Vote Leave in a personal capacity:










Download our app

Vote Leave App