Brexiteers have dismissed a £1 million donation by fashion tycoon Julian Dunkerton to the campaign group fighting for a second referendum, insisting more people than ever now wanted to leave the EU.
The co-founder of the Superdry clothing brand said his donation to People’s Vote would be used to bankroll one of the biggest polling exercises undertaken in the UK, in support of their demand for a referendum on any final Brexit deal.
However pro-Brexit Tory MP Andrew Bridgen insisted it would make little difference as many former Remain voters were now swinging behind Leave.
“People’s Vote talk about democracy. What their declared intent is is to overturn the democratic decision of the 2016 referendum to leave the European Union,” Mr Bridgen told BBC News.
“The way the EU have dealt with the UK Government in these negotiations, a large number of former Remain voters have come to the conclusion that we couldn’t possibly stay in this relationship any longer.
“It would be rather like returning to an abusive relationship if we stayed in. We would be an absolute doormat.”
Writing in The Sunday Times, Mr Dunkerton said he was making the donation because he believed Brexit would a “disaster”.
“I’m putting some of my money behind the People’s Vote campaign because I know we have a genuine chance to turn this around,” he said.
Meanwhile Downing Street has confirmed that Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab would be travelling to Brussels on Tuesday for a further round of talks with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
On Thursday the Government will publish the first of a series of technical papers setting out the preparations it was making for a no-deal Brexit across dozens of areas of national life, from farming to finance.
Mr Raab, who will deliver a keynote speech the same day in Westminster, said he believed a deal was still “by far the most likely outcome” but a responsible Government needed to set out the steps it was taking to mitigate the risks of a no-deal break.
The publication of the technical notes comes amid growing frustration among some sectors about the lack of clarity about the Government’s planning.
Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said businesses were unable to plan for the future.
“We are seven months away from Brexit and there have not been any discussions or negotiations about access rights for British hauliers into the EU – certainly with a no-deal,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend.
“This is incredibly frustrating. It is incredibly concerning for businesses that are going to be affected by these changes.
“The message that we are getting back is ‘We hope we get a deal’, but we can’t live on hope.
“Businesses need to plan, they need certainty, they need clarity. At the moment we are not getting any of that.”