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Channel names back continued EU membership

A letter from just shy of 200 business leaders calling for continued membership of the EU includes a fair amount of names familiar to the channel

The politicians have had their turn revealing whether or not they want to be in or out of Europe and now some of the business leaders across the channel have also shown their hand on the issue.

With the referendum on the future of Britain's EU membership taking place on 23 June the battle between the stay or leave campaigns is already dominating the headlines.

The stay campaign, which is being spearheaded by the Prime Minister David Cameron, recieved a boost following the publication in The Times of a letter signed by almost 200 business leaders backing a decision to remain in the EU.

The letter pointed out that the singatories ran businesses that employed thousands of people across the UK and they represented every sector of the economy.

"Following the prime minister's renegotiation, we believe that Britain is better off staying in a reformed European Union," the letter stated.

Tech signatories

Sir Peter Rigby, CEO and chairman of the Rigby Travel Group

Phil Smith, chief executive UK&I, Cisco

David Stokes, CEO of IBM

Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone

Michael Keegan, executive director EMEIA Fujitsu

Seb James, chief executive Dixons Carphone

Dido Harding, chief executive TalkTalk

Gavin Patterson, chief executive BT Group

"Business needs unrestricted access to the European marker of 500m people in order to grow, invest and create jobs," the letter warned that leaving would put those conditions at risk and would also make the country weaker.

Some of the names on the list will be well known by the channel with some of the CEOs of the largest tech firms deciding they want to support continued EU membership.

The most prominent channel name is arguably Sir Peter Rigby, who set up SCC before becoming associated more recently with his travel business.

The reaction from those that want to stay in the EU was to describe the letter as unprecedented and point to the power and influence of the people that were prepared to go public with their support.

On the leave side the attention was given to those that didn't sign, which includes all the major supermarkets as well as some other prominent FTSE 100 firms. The expectation is that a similar letter arguing for an exit might well come from rival business leaders in the next few days.

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