Former Tory donor switches to funding Lib Dems over Brexit
A prominent Conservative donor has pledged to financially back the Liberal Democrats’ campaign for a second referendum on Brexit.
Pimlico Plumbers’ boss Charlie Mullins, who handed over £48,000 to the Tories in the two years up to July 2017, said he is “up for reversing Brexit” in a bid to prevent “disaster” for the country.
“I ain’t going to beat about the bush, I’ve just tied up with Vince Cable and the Lib Dems. I’m going to financially support it to the best I can to stop Britain going into disaster,” he told Sky News.
The pro-Remain campaigner said while he would not be joining the party, he had met with the party leader and their EU spokesman, Tom Brake, who he insisted were “drinking from the same teapot”.
Writing on his firm’s website after the meeting on Wednesday, the London businessman said those who fail to see leaving the EU as a “bad idea” are “raving lunatics”.
“Basically we all agree that the only way to get us out of the mess we're in over Brexit and save the economy from going to seven kinds of hell, is to show that the will of the people has changed,” he said.
“To do that we need another vote, which the Government appear ready to fight to the death to avoid (which should tell a story in itself).”
He said while both arguments had committed supporters of their side, there was a “group in the middle” in Britain who could be persuaded to change course.
He added: “Our goal is to force a vote on any proposed deal before it's too late, and that means the end of 2018, and the way to do that is to convince the middle group that not only is Brexit a terrible idea, but crucially, that IT CAN BE REVERSED, if enough people demand another vote.”
When asked by the New Statesman in January whether he would continue funding the Tory party, Mr Mullins said: “I think the answer’s no.”
A long-standing critic of Theresa May, he added that while he remained a “Conservative guy”, he would instead bankroll his independent attempt to become the next Mayor of London.
A Liberal Democrat spokesman told PoliticsHome: “As Charlie Mullins said on Sky News, he has committed to donating to the Liberal Democrats’ campaign to stop Brexit.
“The Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to giving the people a say on the final Brexit deal, including the option to remain in the EU.
“We welcome Charlie on board as a fellow traveller, committed to reversing Brexit.”