Branson brands Brexit a 'mistake' and hopes for second vote

PUBLISHED: 18:26 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:58 23 July 2018

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

PA/Press Association Images

Billionaire business tycoon and Brexit basher Richard Branson has called leaving the EU a "tremendous mistake" which is "already affecting the lives of my countrymen".

And he says he hopes the country has a last minute change of heart and votes against quitting.

The Virgin Group founder was unveiling plans for new cruises under the umbrella of Virgin Voyages at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

Branson did not mince his words when he was asked by industry experts about launching a new cruise line at a time of economic uncertainty in the UK.

He told travel agents magazine TTG: “I’m worried about the UK generally, because of Brexit. Personally I think it’s a dreadful mistake, and for people’s earning power going forward.

“We had the biggest GDP in Europe - now we have the weakest. But it is what it is. And if people can’t afford to come on our cruises because of Brexit, then at least there is a whole world market out there we can look to.”

According to the MediTelegraph he said that it was a “tremendous mistake” and that it was “already affecting the lives of my countrymen, for the worse, and it saddens me”.

Branson is an outspoken critic of Britain’s departure from the EU. In February he told Bloomberg that he was an “open book” on his opposition to it.

“I think the facts are now beginning to be very very clear what a disaster Brexit is going to be.

“Sadly it’s the very people who voted for Brexit out in the rural areas of Britain that the latest research shows are going to be the hardest hit by Brexit.

“I’m still hopeful when all the facts are on the table in front of the House of Commons and people realise just how damaging it’s going to be for Great Britain that Britain does what Ireland did and they change their mind at the last minute.”

In an article for The New European back in July 2016 he said: “I feel strongly the EU has created an age of peace and stability in Europe; one where the continent’s nations are focused on working and trading together, where Europeans are living in each other’s countries and travelling freely around. It has created a culture where the EU builds relations between members and has stopped them going to war – as they had done for centuries before.”

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