Founders of small and medium-sized firms, regarded as engines of future growth, said the capital would lose out regardless of whether Mrs May’s deal survives next week’s Commons vote.
They united in a plea for a second referendum to give the public a final decision on leaving the EU. Andrew Harrington, whose Mayfair firm AHV Associates advises companies on mergers and acquisitions, said: “Leaving the EU is an act of self-harm which has lots of risks for limited gain.”
He said his clients thought Britain “insane” and that the UK’s world leadership in financial services would be “materially diminished” under the Brexit terms pushed by the Prime Minister.
“This will make it more difficult to win business from European companies in the future,” he added. “I support a People’s Vote because the voice of the silent majority is being drowned out by a small minority of absolutists who are impervious to the facts that have emerged since the 2016 referendum.”
A total of 1,120 entrepreneurs, small business owners and sole traders came together by writing to London MPs in support of a People’s Vote. Geeta Sidhu-Robb, founder of health food service Nosh Detox Delivery, said highly-paid professionals are leaving London because of Brexit and warned: “It has already impacted our business as we used to import juices from Holland and the dropping pound eroded our margins. Now we are in a position where the majority of our clients are in finance and other professionals, and due to the uncertainty many of them have left or are making plans to move to Europe.”
She added: “No one can run a business in an uncertain economic climate with a worried client base.”
Denise Tavernier, whose company Chiltern Street Studios distributes fashion brands to stores such as Harvey Nichols, said not knowing if tariffs will apply to goods in future is “madness”.