Kalms to fund referendum fight

Dixons Group president Sir Stanley Kalms is stumping up a 'substantial' sum of his own cash to support the anti-European Constitution campaign.

Kalms has pledged the cash ahead of his accession to the House of Lords on June 1, where he is likely to continue to make the most of his knack of getting heard.

He would not be drawn on the exact amount he will contribute, but said: 'By your standards, (a substantial sum) might mean hundreds of thousands, by my standards it might be a bit more than that.'

He said he feared that the implementation of a European Constitution would be 'the first major step in creating a federal Europe', and complained of the mounting bureaucracy strangling Europe.

He said: 'It has moved from being a trading block to a structure almost entirely dominated by an unelected bureaucracy in Brussels, which is imposing upon the economy almost unlimited regulation. For business, this is an expensive nightmare.'

Kalms added that many of the regulations 'pile up costs and leave you searching under the carpet for benefits'. Tony Blair has committed to putting the question of a European Constitution to a referendum.

Kalms said the European Constitution was among several topics he plans to raise in the Lords: 'I will be active, and I will be speaking on issues of which I have accumulated some experiences.'

He said issues would include the euro, the retail industry, corporate governance and regulation and bureaucracy 'to name but a few'.

Another specific concern is paternity leave, which will prove 'extraordinarily costly' to business. However, he noted he was not against all regulation.

For example, he supports the minimum wage, which protects immigrant workers against abuse from unscrupulous employers.


Sir Stanley Kalms has slammed the 'cosy' manner in which business lobbies Government on key issues, and has urged retail bosses to 'stand up and be counted'.

He said: 'It's not enough to send a whingey letter to the BRC. Chairmen and chief executives tend to hide behind trade organisations, but, at the end of the day, it is they that should stand up and be counted.'

He said board members should say what is best for their business and not fear speaking out.

'I was happy at Dixons that my shareholders' issues were best represented by me standing up.

'Cosiness is the opiate used by bureaucrats to keep critics quiet,' he added.