The former head of the British Chamber of Commerce from 2011 to 2016 said the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) would result in “manifest opportunities” for Britain.
The co-chair of campaign group Leave Means Leave argued that even failing to agree a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Brussels bloc would not be bad for the UK as the positives would outweigh it.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the entrepreneur said: “Today we should all be rejoicing because the manifest opportunities that Brexit presents will far outweigh any of the disbenefits and we must remember that the benefits can be crystallised by the UK unilaterally.
“They have nothing to do whatsoever with the single market and the customs union. In fact, we must leave the single market and the customs union in order to be able to crystallise the benefits of Brexit.
“So we shouldn’t fret about those things and in fact if the Government failed to get an FTA with the European Union it’s not a big deal by comparison with the benefits.”
Meanwhile, the European Council’s President said Europeans were acting like vultures circling the British economy as they waited for UK companies to flounder during Brexit.
Joseph Muscat, Malta’s prime minister and the current Council President, said there would be “healthy competition” between the remaining 27 member states as they tried to snap up British business when the UK left the bloc.
Speaking at a ‘Citizens’ Dialogue’ in the Maltese capital, Valetta, he said: “We’re like vultures right now over the British economy.
“In the end theres’s a healthy competition between member states to come.
“The UK is not putting up its sails and sailing away – it will still be close geographically.”
Mr Muscat, who campaigned against Malta joining the EU in 2004, made multiple thinly veiled attacks against the UK for leaving the union, just hours after Theresa May triggered Article 50 to start two years of negotiations.
March 30th, 2017: Express