The letter, printed Thursday by The Times of London, was signed by some of Britain’s most influential business leaders such as fashion designer Sir Terrance Conran, famed architect Lord Norman Foster, and Noble Laureate geneticist Paul Nurse.
“Many businesses backed the prime minister’s Brexit deal despite knowing that it was far from perfect,” the letter said but added that this “is no longer an option. The priority now is to stop us crashing out of the EU with no deal at all.”
“The only feasible way to do this is by asking the people whether they still want to leave the EU. With the clock now ticking rapidly before we are due to quit, politicians must not waste any more time on fantasies. We urge the political leadership of both the main parties to support a People’s Vote,” said the letter.
The businesses that signed the letter represent various industries and crafts, from the film and media industry to restaurants and catering services as well as other small businesses, all of them warning of the catastrophic results exiting the EU without a deal would have for the U.K.
Businessman Martin Dickinson said May had made an “honest attempt” to implement Brexit and now that her deal has been rejected, she should “withdraw Article 50” -- the part of the EU charter under which Britain is set to leave -- and work with parliament to find a way forward.
The announcement adds to growing calls for a second referendum and will up the pressure on Corbyn to back a public vote after having failed to oust the Conservatives from power in his vote of no confidence.
The letter also comes after the Confederation of British Industry warned that the U.K. resembled a “supertanker heading for the rocks” after Tuesday’s historic defeat and Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, said that a delay in Brexit is a possibility.
On Tuesday, May sustained the heaviest parliamentary defeat of any sitting government after MPs voted in an overwhelming 432-202 majority against her Brexit deal with the EU.
The next day May’s government survived a vote of no confidence spearheaded by Corbyn, but the fate of Brexit remained very much in the air.