Business backs the Liberal Democrats

National Politics

Ready meal entrepreneur Charlie Bigham and former President of the CBI Sir Michael Rake are among a raft of business leaders who are supporting the Liberal Democrats.

In addition, entrepreneurs and founders of some of modern Britain’s best brands, including Superdry, Lovefilm, Zoopla, New Covent Garden Soup, Big Yellow Group, and eBookers, are among more than 60 business leaders who have written a letter naming the Liberal Democrats as the ‘only party who have set out a credible plan for future prosperity’.

Charlie Bigham, founder of the eponymous ready-meal brand, said:

“I know a thing or two about oven-ready, and it’s clear that Johnson’s Brexit plan is no such thing.


“This Conservative Party now care more about ideology than prosperity. They have lost the credibility to call themselves the party of business because we know any form of Brexit will make it more difficult to do business in the UK.


“I’m joining dozens of entrepreneurs and businessmen, as well as the Economist, in supporting the Liberal Democrats whose plans for business and the economy are the best on offer.”


Sir Michael Rake, former President of the CBI, said in a letter to the Financial Times:


“The Liberal Democrats have ploughed a lonely furrow in being the only party truly reflecting the interests and importance of the business community to a successful inclusive economy. They have also been clear and honest about the damage, economically and reputationally, being caused to our country by Brexit. 


“Jo Swinson’s party has engaged with businesses and put forward a credible manifesto which addresses the major issues identified by business groups such as reforming business rates, investing in infrastructure and ensuring firms have access to skilled labour.”


Sam Gyimah, Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Secretary, said:


“At election time they say ‘it’s the economy, stupid’, but this time the two main parties have opted for stupid economics instead, whether that’s pursuing Brexit that we know will damage the economy or a reckless spending plan we can’t afford.


“Business leaders and entrepreneurs recognise that Liberal Democrats are now the natural party for business. We’re offering a credible plan that will create an environment to help business build prosperity and create jobs, underpinned by a stronger economy within the EU.”



Notes to Editors:


• The Economist endorsed the Liberal Democrats, saying: “A strong Lib Dem showing would signal to voters who favour open markets and a liberal society that the centre is alive. If Britain withdraws from the EU in January, the Lib Dem MPs will be among the best advocates of a deep trade deal and the strongest opponents of no-deal. There is no good outcome to this nightmare of an election. But for the centre to hold is the best hope for Britain.”

Full letter text from business leaders and entrepreneurs:

Business is at the heart of our economy, providing the jobs that millions depend on, the prosperity that pays for public services, and the means by which we bring together our enterprise, ambition and creativity to find new solutions and opportunities. 


We also know there is a big task ahead if we are to build a prosperous, fair, inclusive and sustainable economy fit for the 21st century. We must do more to address social and geographical inequalities. We need to act boldly and urgently to tackle the climate emergency. And we must create more quality jobs and investment if the UK is to truly prosper from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.   Success will require government and business working together in partnership.

This means commitment to investing in the education, skills, innovation, infrastructure and regional development critical to building an inclusive, world-class digital and green economy. We need support for small and growing businesses; and commitment to fostering responsibility and sustainability. Crucially, we need commitment to maintaining close and open relationships with our European partners and globally, upon which all of this depends. 


The Liberal Democrats are the only party who have set out a credible plan for future prosperity that addresses these strengths and challenges, and we strongly welcome their commitment to working in partnership with business to achieve this vision. 

Signed by:

• Alex Chesterman, Founder, Lovefilm, Zoopla and Cazoo

• Julian Dunkerton, CEO, Superdry PLC

• Nick Vetch, Managing Director, Big Yellow Group PLC*

• Dinesh Dhamija, Founder Chairman, eBookers

• John Stapleton, Co-founder, New Covent Garden Soup Co Ltd and Little Dish

• Lord Rumi Verjee, Entrepreneur, Ewan Kirk, Founder and CIO, Cantab Capital Partners 

• Adam Knight, Co-Founder, Social and Sustainable Capital

• Tilly McAuliffe, Owner, Think Publishing and Wanderlust Travel Media

• Alan Parker CBE*

• Davide Serra, Founder and CEO, Algebris Investments

• Grant Gordon, Chair, Reekimlane Foundation

• Adrian Binks, Chairman and CEO

• Argus Media Group & EY International Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 

• Neil Goulden*

• Lord Ian Wrigglesworth, Chairman, Durham Group & former Chairman of Port of Tyne

• Andrew Dixon, Founder, ARC InterCapital Ltd 

• Geeta Sidhu-Robb, CEO, Nosh Detox Delivery

• Richard Croft, Executive Chairman, M7 Real Estate

• Michael Luger, Professor Emeritus, Alliance Manchester Business School*

• Guy de Selliers, President, HCF International Advisers

• Stephen Gosling, former Chief Executive, Adams Aviation Supply Co Ltd*

• Julia Stone, Director, London Stone Properties

• Guy Vassall-Adams QC* 

• David Angell, Director, Wordsmith Digital*

• Mike Betts, CEO, Photocrowd

• Alice Bordini Staden, Managing Director, GLC Advisors Ltd

• Nick Bowers* 

• Sandy Chen, CEO, Graphene Composites

• Christopher Clement-Davies, Team Leader, United Nations Model PPP Law Group*

• Tim Cotterill, Chairman, James Lister and Sons Limited

• Leah Crawford, Founder and CEO, Koalamama

• Koolesh Shah, Managing Director, London Town Group

• Stephen Dawson*

• Alan Desmier, Founder, Contact State

• Richard Duncalf, Executive Chairman, Hervia Group 

• Geoff Eaton, Chairman, Butcher’s Pet Care

• Craig Fletcher, Founder and CEO, Wicked Sick Limited

• Lindsay Forbes*

• John Forbes, Partner, John Forbes Consulting LLP

• Duncan Greenland, Director, AXSY*

• Andrew Harrington, Partner, AHV Associates LLP

• Dr. Robert Harrison, Joint Managing Partner, 24IP Law Group*

• Carol J Hagh, Board Adviser and Angel Investor, Old Game New Rules

• Rungway and Antler*

• Peter Jenkins, CEO, Infinitesima Limited 

• Rajesh Kaji*

• Liz Leffman, Director, Clothesource Management Services Ltd

• Philip Maskell, Director, Stoneofoy Ltd*

• Carl Michel, Chairman, Veeve*

• Simon Murdoch, Managing Partner, Episode One Ventures

• Shezi Nackvi, Managing Director, Peninvest Limited*

• Matt Neale, Managing Partner, Greybridge Search & Selection Ltd

• Michael O’Mara, Chairman, Michael O’Mara Books Ltd

• Chris Mathias, Chair, Arbor Ventures

• Jannah Patchay, Director, Markets Evolution

• Chris Peer, Managing Director, Maritime House Ltd.

• Mark Petterson, Director and Co-Founder, Warwick Energy Limited

• Pim Piers, COO, Unbiased Limited*

• Henry Ritchotte, Founder, RitMir Ventures Ltd

• Mark Robinson, Founder, Ellandi

• Sarah Ryan, Head of M&A, Insurance Industry

• Nikhil Shah, CEO, S-Cube

• Richard Steer, Chairman, Gleeds*

• Dr Michael Stein, CEO, Valo Therapeutics: Immuno-oncology

• Kenton Ward, CEO, LIVE IT Group Ltd

• Sir Graham Watson, Chairman and Managing Director, Bagehot Limited

• Vivian Wineman, Chairman, Mildmay Properties Limited

• Richard Wood, Founder, Wood and Company

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