Exclusive: Leading Brexit donors say Britain will reverse decision to leave EU

LONDON (Reuters) – Two of the biggest donors to the Brexit campaign say they now believe the project they championed will eventually be abandoned by the government and the United Kingdom will stay in the European Union.

FILE PHOTO – Anti-Brexit protestor Steve Bray (L) remonstrates with a pro-Brexit protestor outside of the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Peter Hargreaves, the billionaire who was the second biggest donor to the 2016 leave campaign, and veteran hedge fund manager Crispin Odey told Reuters they expect Britain to stay in the EU despite their campaign victory in the 2016 referendum.

As a result, Odey, who runs hedge fund Odey Asset Management, said he is now positioning for the pound to strengthen after his flagship fund previously reaped the benefit of betting against UK assets amid wider market fears about the impact of Brexit.

The donors’ pessimism comes amid deadlock in Britain’s parliament over the exit deal that Prime Minister Theresa May has struck with the EU, which has cast significant uncertainty over how, or even if, Brexit will happen.

Hargreaves, who amassed his fortune from co-founding fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown (HRGV.L), said the political establishment were determined to scuttle Brexit and this would lead to a generation of distrust of Britain’s political classes.

The government, he said, is likely to first ask for an extension to the formal exit process from the EU and then call for a second referendum.

“I have totally given up. I am totally in despair, I don’t think Brexit will happen at all,” said Hargreaves, 72, who is one of Britain’s wealthiest men and donated 3.2 million pounds ($4 million) to the leave campaign.

 » Read More at reuters.com