Alex Chesterman, chief executive of online property group Zoopla, has been revealed as one of the names behind a legal challenge to Brexit.
London law firm Mishcon de Reya announced over the weekend that it was putting together a team who could mount a legal challenge if the government kicked off the Article 50 process – which would see the UK officially leave the EU – without first securing an act of parliament. The firm said it was acting on behalf of a number of an unnamed group of clients.
According to Guido Fawkes, Zoopla boss Chesterman emailed a number of other businesses, urging them to support the case.
"If the correct constitutional process is not followed then the notice to withdraw from the EU would be unlawful and open to legal challenge," he wrote.
"With this in mind, Mishcon de Reya, on behalf of a number of clients have commenced a legal process to ensure the UK Government will not trigger the procedure for withdrawal from the EU without parliamentary approval and have, subsequent to his article, retained Lord Pannick QC to act as counsel in this action. These steps seek to ensure that any Article 50 notification process is lawful."
Read more: Article 50 explained
Chesterman added: "I strongly encourage you to support this important issue. We want to ensure that this once-in-a-generation issue is handled properly under UK law with the correct constitutional process applied to an irreversible decision of this magnitude."
He then asked the other companies to email Mishcon de Reya to lend support to the process, to use the hashtage #mpstodecide and share or tweet the link to Mischcon's press release, and finally to "use this email as a basis to send your own version to your network to encourage wider support".
Zoopla issued a statement this afternoon distancing the business from the legal action.
"Zoopla is not involved in this situation," the group said.
"The action is being supported by a wide range of clients and hundreds of supporters including businessmen like Alex, academics and others who want to make sure that the correct constitutional process is followed and this is done right."
The proposed legal challenge has been met with derision among eurosceptic MPs. Kwasi Kwarteng, Conservative MP and Brexit supporter, called the law firm’s manoeuvre “outrageous and incredibly arrogant”, while Ukip MP Douglas Carswell said: “I suspect this will confirm the worst fears of many of millions of people who fear the establishment trying to subvert the outcome of the referendum. If, as a result of lawyers, the clear majority view was subverted, then god help us, we would go into an extremely dangerous situation.”