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James Dyson says Brexit ‘freedom’ from EU allowed scientists to develop Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine

Brexit backing inventor Sir James Dyson claims ‘freedom’ from the EU allowed Oxford scientists to develop a ‘world-beating’ COVID-19 vaccine in record time

  • Sir James Dyson said the benefits of Brexit were best demonstrated by the jab
  • The inventor, 73, said Brexit mean companies can employ the best global talent
  • He defended the decision to move Dyson headquarter to Singapore in 2019 

Staunch Brexiteer Sir James Dyson has claimed the ‘freedom’ afforded by leaving the European Union allowed British scientists to develop a ‘world-beating’ COVID-19 vaccine.  

The billionaire inventor, 73, said the benefits of leaving the EU ‘couldn’t be better demonstrated than in the development of the [Oxford-AstraZeneca] vaccine.’ 

Sir Dyson said: ‘I think [Brexit is about] much more than [trade agreements] it gives us independence of spirits.

‘We were not part of the European Union’s development of the vaccine we had to develop our own brilliantly at Oxford. And they produced a world-beating vaccine produced in record time.

‘That’s because we did it independently, we had the independence of thought and independence of action’, he told BBC Breakfast on Wednesday. 

Staunch Brexiteer Sir James Dyson has claimed the ‘freedom’ afforded by leaving the European Union allowed British scientists to develop a ‘world-beating’ COVID-19 vaccine

The British inventor also hailed Brexit for unshackling UK trade agreements from restrictions tied to EU membership.  

He said: ‘We have got our freedom. We can make trade agreements with other countries outside Europe that Europe can’t make trade agreements with.’ 

He went on to argue that allowing Britain to enter into international trade agreements had allowed companies, such as Dyson, to employ the best talent from around the world. 

‘We can employ people from all around the world’, Sir Dyson said. ‘Previously we were only allowed to employ people from Europe and we couldn’t get the engineers we needed.’

‘We have 60 different nationalities now on this site’, he added, referring to the company’s research facility in Wiltshire.

The billionaire inventor, 73, pointed to the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as an example of post-Brexit success

He claimed Oxford scientists were able to produce the vaccine in record time because of 'independence of thought' from the EU

The billionaire inventor, 73, said the benefits of leaving the EU ‘couldn’t be better demonstrated than in the development of the [Oxford-AstraZeneca] vaccine.’ He claimed Oxford scientists were able to produce the vaccine in record time because of ‘independence of thought’ from the EU

Reflective glass buildings sit on the Dyson campus in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, in October 2016

Reflective glass buildings sit on the Dyson campus in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, in October 2016

Challenged on the controversial decision to move the company's headquarters to Singapore in November 2019, Sir Dyson defended the decision

 Challenged on the controversial decision to move the company’s headquarters to Singapore in November 2019, Sir Dyson defended the decision

The British inventor also said the company plans to create more than 200 new jobs at the offices in Malmesbury and Hullavington, Wiltshire. 

Challenged on the controversial decision to move the company’s headquarters to Singapore in November 2019, Sir Dyson defended the decision, saying it was ‘very important’ to have a presence in the world’s fastest growing market.   

He said: ‘It would be arrogant to think that we could design and develop products for Asia and Britain.

‘We can develop technology, but understanding what Asians want and what works in the market – we have to be there, we have to be immersed in it.

‘I can’t make things here and bring over all the components from the Far East here, assemble them here and then send them back to the Far East. That just doesn’t work.’ 

Sir Dyson also re-affirmed the company’s commitment to Britain, saying: ‘We’re a British company – I’ve put a lot into this country.

‘I’ve invested about £2 billion on this site’, he said. ‘I’m taking on more people, I employ 4,000 people here, I pay a large amount of tax here.’ 

Dyson has paid a key role during the pandemic, working with scientists and Cambridge-based Technology Partnership, to produce 10,000 ventilators for hospitals across the country.  

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