A BT.com web story showing 80 per cent support for leaving the European Union was taken down just days before the company’s chairman e-mailed staff urging them to vote Remain, Breitbart London can reveal.
Just two days after a survey of over 20,000 people showed 80 per cent support for a vote to Leave the European Union (EU), BT Chairman Sir Mike Rake, as well as the telecom company’s chief executive Gavin Patterson, circulated a memo on Monday to their more than 81,000 UK-based employees warning of the economic risks of Brexit.
I’ve just called BT’s press office asking why they’ve removed an article showing pro Brexit polling. They better have a good excuse.
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) June 10, 2016
The article covering their own survey was originally posted on BT.com before disappearing on June 10th.
BT have told me they removed the poll story until it had more votes (was at 600). It's live here for you to vote: https://t.co/3FvcwubRMh
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) June 10, 2016
BT.com is one of Britain’s most trafficked websites, ranking 28th of all sites in the UK, according to web traffic data and analytics website, Alexa.
After contact from Breitbart London, A BT.com spokesman pointed to a link on the website where the poll was still live and available, on the sub page named “EU referendum”.
The poll, as of this afternoon, still shows 80 per cent support for leaving the European Union, though it has not changed since over 600 people voted ‘Leave’ within a 10 minute period this afternoon, which implies that the engagement with the poll on both sides is at over 1200 people per 10 minutes, or that the poll has over 60,000 voters, or is now not responding to votes.
So here’s what I’m saying… over 550 of you clicked that BT link in 10 minutes. I assume over half voted. But the 80% figure hasn’t changed?
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) June 14, 2016
A statement from BT said: “This is a poll of the public, not staff” – although at no point during the exchanges between Breitbart London and the representatives of BT was the question raised of whether the respondents to the survey were staff or public.
Sky News reported on Sunday that the FTSE-100 telecoms company circulated a memo its staff to vote Remain undersigned by Mr. Rake and Mr. Patterson, both whom had previously come out in support of the UK remaining in the EU. The poll page disappeared on the Friday.
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) June 13, 2016
BT bosses & unions representing their employees are clear: leaving Europe would hurt British business & our economy. https://t.co/q65a8aEUWQ
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) June 13, 2016
According to Sky News, “insiders” said that the memo would not seek to direct BT’s staff how to vote in the referendum, but would highlight a number of “areas of concern”.
“One source said BT will warn that Brexit would have a detrimental impact on the UK economy and on companies operating within it, including the telecoms group – and that a downturn could take several years to recover from.”
This is not the first time Mr. Rake had shared publicly his unquestioningly pro-EU sentiments of the big business lobby. Breitbart London previously reported that the former president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), along with other figures in the Remain campaign, signed a letter in 2003 urging the government to drop the pound and adopt the euro. It concluded:
“The weight of independent economic evidence suggests that the conditions for entry are right. Commercial reality strongly dictates that the risks of staying outside the euro far outweigh any risks of joining. The European single market has moved on and we are no longer full members. We hope that the Government will have the courage of its convictions and recognise that membership of the euro is in our long-term national interest. To do otherwise would have serious consequences for Britain’s future prosperity.”
And as recently as 2013 Mr. Rake stood by that sentiment, telling an interviewer:
“I absolutely declare I’m a kind of eyes wide open pro-European. In fact, I’m a Europhile. And in fact, I’m probably one of the few people left standing, and don’t hold this against me, who still believes in the euro, in this country.”
As the Eurozone experienced a crushing paralysis, inflation and mass youth unemployment since 2009, Mr. Rake’s predictive abilities and sound business advice are clearly to be noted.
A BT spokesman said of their poll: “This is a poll of the public, not staff. The polling is not over yet. The story that appeared briefly on Thursday night was therefore premature.”
The story, BT claims, went live with fewer than 600 votes in the poll. But some BT users revealed that over 20,000 had voted at the time.