Insider Business UK Cypriot Theo Paphitis backs a People's Vote on Brexit

UK Cypriot Theo Paphitis backs a People’s Vote on Brexit

British Greek-Cypriot retail magnate Theo Paphitis has explained why he changed his mind after voting for Brexit in 2016 and now wants a People’s Vote.

“As you know, I voted reluctantly Leave, but I am here telling you I’m prepared to get off my big high horse, take what’s right for the country first, not what I originally thought,” he told his audience on the BBC Question Time.

“Like in business, when things change, you change your plan. So I’m for now putting an election to one side and having a clear referendum with, in the bill, the government have got the authority to execute the ‘will of the people’,” he added.

The former Dragons’ Den dragon also said that now everybody knows what happened, let’s have this referendum because it has divided too many families and too many people.

Paphitis, who owns a number of high street chains, made another point saying that politics is just like business, and he explained: “The shareholders have voted by over 50 per cent but the executive hasn’t executed it. If you want to change things, the shareholders have to vote again by over 50% and an election does not do it.”

Nobody knows what’s going to happen, Paphitis also said before stressing that when the UK decided not to join the Euro everybody had thought that everything would fall apart.

“And do you know what, it didn’t…If I run my business without actually calculating what’s going to happen if I do this or I do that, I’d go bust,” he added.

In an exclusive interview with Forbes Cyprus magazine back in June, Paphitis had said that he still believes that the European Union is a failed experiment.

Nonetheless Brexit was handled in a very bad way and is difficult now for anything to change, he added.

The Cypriot entrepreneur also said that wrong handling of Brexit has also had repercussions on the country’s overall business environment.

“We knew that it would ‘hurt’ but, unfortunately, it hurts more than we had anticipated,” he said.

In addition, he added, the government has focused so much on Brexit that domestic issues are paralysed and legislation is not updated so as to affect the behaviour of consumers.

By Marios Rousou


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