Outgoing BT chairman Sir Mike Rake today claimed the UK could need up to 10 years to pull out of the European Union.
The City grandee’s call for a “transition trade period” is likely to infuriate Brexit supporters and represents a far longer period than the two years contemplated by Theresa May.
She is in Brussels attempting to persuade European leaders begin talks on trade.
Rake said a period of five to 10 years might be needed to deal with more than 40 years of legislation and a new regulatory framework.
However, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, he added the pound could rise if a “sensible” deal was secured. He added that the economy was already feeling the effects of Brexit, with uncertainty for business, rising inflation and less investment.
Richard Tice, co-chairman of Leave Means Leave, rejected the call and hit out at the BT chairman.
He said: “Mike Rake represents the vested interests of multinational companies who do not want anything to change.”