EU referendum: Sir James Dyson says Britain better off out

  • Published
James Dyson

Britain would gain more from leaving the EU than it would lose, billionaire entrepreneur Sir James Dyson has said.

The inventor said the idea that Britain could not trade successfully outside the EU was "absolute cobblers".

He said the single market did not work because exporters had to adapt products like his to cater for different languages and different types of plugs.

Britain Stronger in Europe said: "James Dyson wanted the UK to join the euro. He was wrong then and he is wrong now."

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Sir James, who is best known for designing a bagless vacuum cleaner, said the UK "will create more wealth and more jobs by being outside the EU than we will within it".

"When the Remain campaign tells us no-one will trade with us if we leave the EU, sorry, it's absolute cobblers. Our trade imbalance with Europe is running at £9bn a month and rising. If this trend continues, that is £100bn a year."

Sir James argued that if, after a vote to leave, the EU imposed a 10% tariff on UK goods, Britain would do the same on imported EU goods. He said that because Britain imported far more from the EU than it exported there, it would bring in an extra £10bn a year for the UK.

In other developments:

  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has made a fresh push to persuade his party's supporters to back keeping Britain in the EU. Campaigning in Aberdeen, he said "the working time directives, the employment rights that have been achieved by trade unions across Europe and enshrined in European law are very important"
  • Thirteen Nobel prize-winning scientists have urged voters to back Remain saying leaving the EU would be a "key risk" to the future of British science
  • The Remain campaign has also been backed by some of Britain's largest developers and house builders who say a vote for Brexit will make the housing crisis worse
  • Nigel Farage says he thinks the Leave campaign is on course for victory in the EU referendum with its "upbeat" message about life outside the EU

Sir James, who is worth more than £3bn, also criticised the EU's free movement for not allowing the talented staff he needed to work in the UK.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Sir James has been involved in several battles with the European Court against the EU's energy labelling policy

"We're not allowed to employ them, unless they're from the EU," he said. "At the moment, if we want to hire a foreign engineer, it takes four-and-a-half months to go through the Home Office procedure. It's crazy.

"Why on earth would you chuck out researchers with that valuable technology which they then take back to China or Singapore and use it against us?"

Sir James has also been involved in several battles with the European Court against the EU's labelling policy for vacuum cleaners.

"It's a politically motivated court of justice," he said. "Politically motivated to protect vested interests."

But Britain Stronger in Europe accused Sir James of "wanting to have his cake and eat it when it comes to the EU".

Media caption,

Jeremy Corbyn said he rated his passion for continued EU membership at "seven or seven and a half out of 10"

It highlighted that in 2000 Sir James had said Britain would be "suicidal" not to join the single currency and that in 2014 he had called for the free movement of people within the EU to be retained.

Sir James's comments come as a new poll suggests the Brexit camp has a 10-point lead. The latest online survey of 2,000 people on Wednesday and Thursday by ORB for the Independent put the scores at 55% to 45% in favour of pulling out, after allowing for an individual's likelihood to vote.

Vote Leave has tweeted that it does not believe the poll, adding it thinks the split is closer to 50-50.