Anti-EU protesters create fake firm to heckle David Cameron during CBI speech

Pro-EU campaigners dismissed the stunt by the Vote Leave campaign as 'grubby'

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One of the groups campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union created a fake company so two protesters could heckle David Cameron during his key speech to business leaders

The pair of students interrupted the Prime Minister as he addressed the pro-Confederation of British Industry by holding up banners and chanting: "CBI: voice of Britain"

Vote Leave was behind the stunt, setting up the Lyon Shepphard Web Solutions website and registering it as a company so the two youngsters could be granted access to the CBI's conference in central London. 

The two 19-year-olds, Peter Lyon and Phil Sheppard, are members of Students for Britain, which is campaigning for "fundamental reform of Britain's relationship with the European Union". 

Pro-EU campaigners dismissed the protest as "grubby" and said Vote Leave had serious questions to answer over their decision to set up a fake company. 

Mr Cameron remained unflustered during the protest, telling the pair of protesters "stop making fools of yourselves". 

Cameron heckled at conference

Mr Lyon told Sky News afterwards that it was "one of the most terrifying things I've done in my life". 

"We're worried about the CBI misrepresenting British businesses' views," he said.

"We don't want the British public to be swayed by the CBI making claims about the views of British businesses when in reality a lot of particularly small and medium-sized businesses in the UK feel that the EU hinders rather than helps them."

Explaining how they managed to gain access to the conference, Mr Sheppard said: "We got in because Vote Leave formed a company for us that was able to get us in and we managed to get our passes and we pretended to be bussinessmen."

Responding to the protest, a spokesman from the rival Britain Stronger in Europe said: “This grubby protest from Vote Leave is a sign of how desperate Vote Leave have already become. Vote Leave will now face serious questions about the conduct of their campaign, and must clarify if indeed they created a fake company in order to disrupt this event.”

However the Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan defended the protests, saying they were raising "a legitimate point" and dismissed suggestions that organisers of the stunt behaved in a fraudulent way. 

"As the students said, the CBI, which is Brussels funded, has been consistently wrong about the EU," Mr Hannan told Sky News. "It’s never ever deviated its support for ever closer integration and it isn’t the voice of business. As they were saying, it’s the voice of Brussels not the voice of business.

"It’s a democracy and people are free to make a point and I think the much bigger issue is the point that they were making," he added. 

 

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