Soros donation to halt Brexit causes storm in Britain

LONDON (Reuters) – News that billionaire financier George Soros is a backer of a campaign group looking for to keep Britain in the EU added fire to Britain’s Brexit argument on Thursday, with advocates of giving up the bloc implicating opponents of plotting a “coup”.

The Best of Britain project group confirmed it had actually gotten 400,000 pounds from Soros. Soros, best known in Britain for making billions wagering versus the pound in the early 1990s, is the target of a hostile media project by the nationalist federal government in his native Hungary and a hate figure for rightwing campaigners in eastern Europe and the United States.

Best of Britain stated it had actually complied with all rules on political funding in accepting the donation from Soros.

Prime Minister Theresa Might’s office duplicated its long-standing position that the choice to leave the EU in 2019 after a vote in 2016 was final and would not be reversed. It also defended the right of project groups to accept donations.

The Daily Telegraph paper, which initially reported Soros’s involvement, said the 87-year-old previous hedge fund manager was backing a “secret plot” to stop Brexit. The post was written by Nick Timothy, a previous chief of personnel to May.

Mark Malloch-Brown, a former British diplomat who is chair of the Best for Britain project group, said the group had actually never ever hidden its aims, which consist of remaining in the EU.

“George Soros’s foundations have in addition to a variety of other major donors also made substantial contributions to our work,” Malloch-Brown said in a statement, validating Soros had contributed 400,000 pounds through his charitable structures.

Might’s representative said: “There are numerous political and campaign groups in this country, that’s entirely right and as you would expect in a democracy.”

“The prime minister’s position on this matter is clear, the country voted to leave the European Union, that’s exactly what we are going to provide and there won’t be a second referendum.”

BREXIT REVERSED?

In the United Kingdom’s 2016 referendum, 51.9 percent, or 17.4 million individuals, voted to leave the EU while 48.1 percent, or 16.1 million people, voted to remain. Both sides accepted large donations from rich individuals.

Ever given that the shock vote, advocates of EU subscription have been checking out a variety of different legal and political techniques to prevent what they view as the biggest mistake in post-World War 2 British history.

Brexiteers say such efforts threaten political stability as they go against the democratic will of 17.4 million individuals. They have actually vowed to combat any attempt to stop Brexit.

“The brand-new Soros-led coalition is planning a coup in Britain, against the democratic will of individuals,” Richard Tice, who chairs the Leave Means Leave project group, informed Reuters. “They have actually been outed and will be defeated.”

May, whose federal government and celebration is divided over Brexit, has just eight months to strike a handle the EU on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal.

Challengers of Brexit intend to focus their efforts on blocking British parliamentary approval for the exit offer, a step that if effective could sink Might’s premiership. There is, however, little sign so far of a modification in viewpoint among voters, and the fans of EU membership do not have a popular leader who might unify the diverse groups opposed to Brexit.

Brexiteers such as Nigel Farage say public opposition to Brexit from the likes of previous Prime Minister Tony Blair and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein are not likely to sway British public opinion.

With no offer, Britain would deal with a disorderly Brexit that many investors fear would endanger Britain’s $2.7 trillion economy, interfere with trade across the world’s most significant trading bloc and undermine London’s position as the only financial centre to competing New york city.

Reporting by Man Faulconbridge; Modifying by Peter Graff

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