Sir James Dyson has said the UK should “walk away” from Brexit negotiations, as the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit becomes more likely.
Sir Dyson, who gave his name to Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering, made his comments on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show last Sunday. He said the problems facing the government were due to “the people we are negotiating with”, saying that “demanding billions and billions to leave” – the Brexit divorce bill – was “outrageous”.
He went on to say it should be easier to hire and fire workers, and argued that corporation tax should be “eliminated”, adding “there are ways of getting around paying it…you should allow profits to be reinvested”.
The comments made by Sir Dyson, who supported Leave in the runup to the referendum, provoked debate online: Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North, said on Twitter: “No corporation tax and firms able to hire and fire at will. That’s James Dyson’s vision for Brexit Britain – and families will pay the price.”
Imperial state their Brexit approach will be “pragmatic and positive”, and they wish to “defend our international values”. Professor Alice Gast, Imperial’s President, is a member of the Mayor of London’s Brexit Advisory Group. She met with David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, in September to discuss the impact of Brexit on higher education. Imperial is campaigning for continued access to the EU’s research networks post-Brexit. In an interview with Le Monde this week she said that the prospect of Brexit was worrying.
A Union representative told Felix they “campaign to protect the rights of all our members, including those from Europe and further overseas”. They said the Union will work with College to “ensure that Imperial remains a welcoming and inclusive environment for all, and that our students remain part of the international scientific community”.
The Dyson School of Design Engineering was launched in 2015, following a £12 million donation from the James Dyson Foundation. Sir Dyson graduated from the Royal College of Art, and made his name with bagless vacuum cleaners. He is currently worth around £7.8 billion. Dyson products were formerly made in Wiltshire, until 2002, when production of vacuum cleaners moved to Malaysia. This was followed by the production of washing machines in 2003.
A “no-deal” Brexit describes what will happen if the UK leaves the EU without a formal agreement in place. While Prime Minister Theresa May initially claimed “no deal is better than a bad deal”, this phrase has been markedly absent in her recent rhetoric. However, she still admits that no deal would be preferable.
A number of prominent voices have disagreed: Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, has said that “a no-deal scenario would be bad for everyone, but above all for the UK”, while the International Monetary Fund has also said that a no-deal Brexit would cause economic damage to the UK and the Eurozone. Kier Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a no-deal scenario is “unthinkable”, and that “a responsible government would allow us to come to that place”.
Earlier this year, a joint report by the University of Sussex and the Resolution Foundation thinktank stated that the average family would lose £260 a year, and predicted increases in prices for groceries and motor vehicles. They argued that these increases would hit low-income households hardest.
The UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, two years after invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union. May is currently facing pressure from within her own party on Brexit, as Michael Gove and Boris Johnson sent her a letter earlier this week, expressing their concerns that “current preparations are not proceeding with anything like sufficient energy.”