Exec asks for firm's name to be removed from pro-Scottish independence letter: FT

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 29, 2014 5:15 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - A British businessman who signed a letter supporting Scottish independence has asked for the name of his employer, a restaurant group and one of the biggest firms to appear on the list, to be removed, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

Derek Mallon was named in the letter as managing director of the Restaurant Group, which operates more than 400 pubs and restaurants including the Garfunkel's chain.

He was one of 200 business leaders to sign a newspaper letter published on Thursday backing Scotland to break away from the United Kingdom in a Sept. 18 referendum - an issue that has sharply divided the country's business elite.

However, Mallon said he was acting in a personal capacity and had asked "Business for Scotland", the letter's organizers, to remove the reference to the firm, the FT said.

"It was a misunderstanding that led to the company name being mentioned," Mallon was quoted as saying. The Restaurant Group was not immediately available for comment, but a spokesman told the paper it would not be supporting either side in the independence debate.

Others who signed the letter backing Scotland to end its 307-year union with England and Wales included Stagecoach head Brian Souter and engineering tycoon Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers.

A day earlier, 130 business leaders representing larger companies, among them the heads of BHP Billiton, temporary power provider Aggreko and HSBC bank, signed an open letter opposing independence, voicing fears about its impact.

Latest opinion polls show support for independence has gained ground, but is still trailing the pro-union camp.

(Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by John Stonestreet)