Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Guardian: Donor vows to stop funding Tories if May takes UK out of single market

The Guardian: Donor vows to stop funding Tories if May takes UK out of single market

A major Tory donor has warned he will stop funding the party if Theresa May’s Brexit plans mean taking the UK out of the single market.

Engineering firm chairman Sir Andrew Cook said jobs and exports were at risk if leaving the European Union meant membership of the single market was sacrificed in order to curb immigration.

Cook, who has given more than £1.2m to the party, warned the country could “sleepwalk to disaster” if the prime minister decided to go down that route, the Times reported.

The chairman of William Cook, a firm producing components for applications including rail, energy and defence, highlighted how much his company relied on exports to mainland Europe and the supply of skilled labour from the continent.

“I’m trying to explain how critical the single market is to the real economy,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. He said: “Two miles away is one of my factories, with 200 people employed making engineering parts that go to France, Germany and Italy for pumps and so forth.

“Thirty-five miles up the road in Leeds I’ve another factory with 200 people making other stuff for the train manufacturers of Germany, Austria and so forth. The single market is essential to keep these people in employment.”

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