Tory donor Kate Hobhouse, the Tory-backing heiress whose family owns Fortnum & Mason, has been embarrassed after her own firm’s Chief Executive blamed Brexit for staff shortages.
Fortnum’s chief executive, Ewan Venters, told The Guardian that the firm is struggling to fill chef posts in its restaurants, saying “Brexit is an alarming issue for me in terms of our ability to hire and retain good people”. He added that workers from the EU “are asking: do I feel welcome?”.
The day before he had told The Telegraph that “at the moment I believe brand Britain is firmly damaged” by Brexit and that “there was a slight crisis of identity” within the country.
His criticisms will embarrass the firm’s Chair Kate Hobhouse who has previously donated £131,400 to the Tories, while her husband William Hobhouse who owns furniture store Heal’s donated £20,350 directly to the Vote Leave campaign for Brexit and a further £73,000 to Tory HQ.
This is not the first Brexit embarrassment for Kate Hobhouse. In 2010 she and eight other trustees of her family’s charitable trust were slammed by the Charity Commission for using the trust to funnel £800,000 into the Conservative party and £350,000 into anti-EU campaigns.
Image by Elisa.rolle (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons