Barclay brothers pull out after losing vote

Residents of the Channel Island of Sark have overwhelmingly rejected the modernisation plans of the tycoon Barclay twins, owners of a neighbouring island.

Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, owners of the Telegraph newspapers and the Ritz, responded to the defeat of their candidate in the island’s elections by announcing the closure of their hotels, shops, a restaurant and other businesses. Building work was also suspended.

The brothers did not stand in the election, for the island’s first democratic parliament, but not one of their favoured candidates secured a seat on Chief Pleas, the island’s parliament, which is presided over by the hereditary Seigneur.

“There’s no point, as they see it, to continue spending £5 million per annum investing in the economy when the electorate have plainly said that they neither want nor are interested in that investment being made,” Gordon Dawes, the Barclays’ lawyer, said.

“They have devoted a lot of time, energy, effort and money to Sark, for not only no thanks but positive insult and rebuff. Nobody in their right mind would carry on spending money on such a community.”

The brothers own Brecqhou, a neighbouring island, on which they have built a large castle, and their businesses employ many of the island’s population of 600.