Monday 5 December 2016 4:25 am

Tony Blair and Nick Clegg risk damaging British business by seeking to block Brexit

As a businessman and a proud Brexiteer – I was treasurer and board member of the Vote Leave campaign – I am convinced that Britain’s best days lie ahead.

But we need to be ambitious. If we are, and if we seize this Brexit opportunity together, Britain can change for the better.

My online financial trading business, CMC Markets, has been successful because we have embraced technological change underpinned by an entrepreneurial spirit. Free from the shackles of the EU, Britain too can embrace the change necessary to succeed in an increasingly competitive and exciting new world.

Read more: Britain has a moral duty to lead the world on free trade

When we take back control of trade, we can be more globally oriented. Research by Change Britain shows that leaving the EU’s customs union and striking trade deals just with the countries that have already expressed an interest in negotiating a deal with the UK will open up export markets worth over £16.8 trillion. That’s more than double the size of the export markets that the UK currently has access to as a member of the EU.

This will benefit businesses large and small, and help to create jobs and spread prosperity across the country. The success of our offices trading across the Asia Pacific region tells me how big the global opportunity is for my business.

When we take back control of our laws, we can reduce regulatory burdens and ensure that Britain is the best place to do business and becomes the go-to destination for the wealth creators of the future.

Read more: Brexit: Slashing tax and red tape will turn Britain into the next Singapore

And when we take back control of our borders, we can implement a fair and controlled immigration system which doesn’t discriminate between EU and non-EU workers, thus ensuring that firms can hire highly skilled workers from around the world, not just from Europe.

As a businessman I am also a realist. I am convinced that Brexit will ultimately unshackle the full potential of our economy, but the process of leaving the EU and negotiating a new deal will take time. And invariably there will be some uncertainty as we renegotiate our relationship with Europe. Theresa May and the government deserve praise for the way they have handled Brexit so far but throughout this process business needs stability.

And as a citizen, I believe that judicial independence is critical to the rule of law in any proper democracy. We must respect the judgement of the members of our Supreme Court. And I don’t object to Parliament debating Article 50 – after all, returning sovereignty to Parliament is a central reason why I supported leaving the EU.

Read more: The referendum is over: Let’s act like it is

But I do have a problem with a few die-hard Remainers trying to stall the Brexit process, because they risk doing real damage to British business and the economy. The position taken by some Members of Parliament who are threatening to obstruct the triggering of Article 50 is deeply worrying. People like Tim Farron and Ed Miliband, who have never worked in business and who seem to have little understanding of it, are undermining the certainty business needs.

Now I hear that Tony Blair is plotting with Nick Clegg to form a new party dedicated to opposing Brexit. These people should know better!

Read more: The UK is now odds-on to remain in the EU until 2020

Business wants the government to get on with the job of delivering Brexit in a timely manner. Since 23 June, a number of large scale investments have been announced – from Google’s $1bn investment, building a new headquarters and creating up to 3,000 new jobs, to Jaguar Land Rover’s plan to build electric cars in the West Midlands creating 10,000 new jobs. But when politicians threaten to obstruct the Brexit process, they increase uncertainty over future trading conditions. Unchecked, this could lead to delayed decision-making and delayed investment which means lost jobs and damage to the economy.

Politicians like Blair and Clegg should stop playing games with people’s livelihoods. Instead they should start working with the rest of us to make Brexit a success.