The billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson held secretive talks with the front-runner to become Britain’s next leader to push his campaign to crush the Brexit vote and secure a second referendum.
Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May, who campaigned to stay in the European Union (EU), yesterday won an impressive 165 votes from her colleagues in Parliament emerging as the frontrunner in the race to become the next Prime Minister.
She met Mr. Branson, the owner of the Virgin group, last week, shortly after he announced his plot to force Parliament to “reject” what he called the “non-binding” Brexit vote and demanded a second referendum.
A source close to Mr. Branson told Sky News that the meeting should not be interpreted as him offering support for Mrs. May’s leadership bid. Mrs. May has said that “Brexit means Brexit”, but the source would not reveal if she discussed the referendum with the billionaire.
The source explained: “There is no political endorsement and there was no ask of her beyond the need for politicians to show leadership.
“Richard simply explained why he felt there needed to be more details on what Brexit means and for the options to be debated in Parliament.”
Shortly before the meeting, Mr. Branson insisted the vote was “technically an advisory non-binding referendum for MPs to consider” and should be ignored as voters were lied to and are too stupid to assess the facts for themselves.
“The vast majority of MPs voted in by the electorate want the UK to stay part of Europe. In light of the misrepresentations of the Leave campaign, Parliament should reject the results of this non-binding referendum as Nicola Sturgeon has announced she will do in Scotland’s Parliament,” he wrote.
Adding: “Before the UK government invokes Article 50 of the European Treaty and does irreversible damage to the United Kingdom, the people’s elected representatives must decide whether the facts that have emerged really warrant abandoning the EU and whether a second referendum will be needed.”