The chief executive of investment bank Goldman Sachs has waded into the debate over whether a second Brexit referendum is needed, after new polling showed Britain turning its backs on EU withdrawal.
Lloyd Blankfein said he had to take an interest because the global bank “employs thousands of UK citizens”, after the survey for The Independent showed more voters now back staying in the EU than at any time since the June 2016 vote.
The poll conducted by BMG Research showed just 41 per cent still want Brexit, while 51 per cent now back staying in the union, with the lead buoyed by those who did not vote in 2016.
It came as a string of senior figures in British politics wrote for The Independent on whether the UK should go to the polls again once the final terms of Brexit are properly known.
Mr Blankfein, who has previously backed another vote, posted a link to the poll on Twitter and commented: “[The Brexit] decision belongs to UK citizens, and I’m not one.
“But [Goldman Sachs] built its Euro biz in the UK on certain assumptions, pays taxes and employs thousands of UK citizens concerned about the economy and their futures.
“On their behalf, at least, I have to be interested in the outcome.”
#Brexit decision belongs to UK citizens, and I’m not one. But GS built its Euro biz in the UK on certain assumptions, pays taxes and employs thousands of UK citizens concerned about the economy and their futures. On their behalf, at least, I have to be interested in the outcome. https://t.co/CteE8Kjayo
— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) December 17, 2017
Mr Blankfein has been a supporter of a second referendum in the past, previously urging politicians on social media to make sure the consensus for withdrawal is “still there”.
Here in UK, lots of hand-wringing from CEOs over #Brexit. Better sense of the tough and risky road ahead. Reluctant to say, but many wish for a confirming vote on a decision so monumental and irreversible. So much at stake, why not make sure consensus still there?
— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) November 16, 2017
After “don’t knows” were either pushed for an answer or otherwise excluded, 55.5 per cent backed Remain and 44.5 backed Leave, an eleven point lead. Either way, it was the biggest gap between Leave and Remain since the June 2016 vote.
Polling since this time last year appears to demonstrate a clear trend; Leave enjoyed a lead last December which gradually shrank, before turning into a lead for Remain in the month of the general election, that has since grown.
Experts behind the survey pointed out that the shift had come predominantly from those who did not actually vote in the previous referendum, but were now coming down on the side of Remain.
In Sunday’s edition of The Independent Michael Heseltine, Peter Mandelson, Gina Miller and Vince Cable called for a rethink on withdrawal, while Leave campaign mastermind Matthew Elliott and Conservatives James Cleverly and Suella Fernandes demand Brexit is seen through.