Brexit plan ‘like locking yourself in jail’ says Sir Rocco Forte

Hotelier Sir Rocco Forte has likened Theresa May’s Brexit deal to “locking yourself in jail and giving the European Union the key”.

He told Sky’s Ian King that the draft Brexit agreement was a “disaster” – in contrast with a growing chorus of backing for the plan from other business leaders who are worried about the prospect of crashing out with no deal.

Sir Rocco – who backed Leave in the referendum – was speaking as Rocco Forte Hotels, the chain he founded in 1996, announced the opening of four new hotels in Italy and one in China.

Explaining his thoughts on Europe, Sir Rocco said he sees the climate of higher corporate taxes and tougher labour laws as making it “business unfriendly” – and fears that “will gradually be passed over to us”.

He was scathing about Mrs May’s deal.

Sir Rocco told Sky News: “It is sort of locking yourself in jail giving the European Union the key and then saying to them ‘you decide when we come out and on what terms’.

“It’s a complete disaster and completely unnecessary.”

He said his views stemmed from his understanding of “how difficult it is to do business in Europe, how business unfriendly Europe is”.

“Corporate tax rates are much higher than they are here, labour laws make it almost impossible to sack people, the unions are very powerful… and there is a lot of government bureaucracy” he said.

“So gradually that will be passed over to us.

“In relation to the rest of the world. Europe is not competitive.

“There is a lot of time wasting which I don’t find in this country or in the US for example.”

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