Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is finding it harder than usual to get a meeting with the UK Prime Minister, The Telegraph reports.
The door to No.10 Downing Street “swung open” for Gates when Tony Blair and David Cameron occupied the residence, but Theresa May, the latest incumbent, is yet to meet with him, the newspaper reports.
“Post-Brexit, there are fewer certainties,” writes Telegraph journalist Mary Riddell in her in-depth interview with Gates, who is the world’s richest man, with a net worth of $80 billion (£65 billion).
Gates is due to arrive in London on his private jet on Monday, where he will attend the three-day Grand Challenges forum. He told Riddell that he hopes to meet May at some point during his visit. However, the meeting had not been confirmed by the time Riddell published her story on Friday.
Prior to the referendum, Gates said the UK should remain in the EU, warning that it would become a “significantly less attractive place” to do business if it left.
Over the years, Gates has developed a close relationship with the UK through Microsoft and The Gates Foundation. Microsoft has its European research centre in Cambridge, while the Gates Foundation reportedly has $1.1 billion (£0.9 billion) tied up in UK-based research.
On June 25, two days after the UK voted to leave the EU, Riddell asked Gates where does Brexit leave his relationship with Britain.
He replied: “Britain has world-class universities. Cambridge is our [Microsoft’s] European research centre. No one is changing their plans overnight. A lot of uncertainty has been created and, in economic [matters], uncertainty always causes people to delay investments. I don’t have a crystal ball. But I can’t say enough good things about the support we’ve had from every British PM.”
Gates added: “Our foundation puts a lot of money into [British universities] because they are the best in the world. So obviously we hope the smart people can continue to move back and forth between Europe and the UK. I doubt a mistake will get made. But obviously the status quo would have been a little simpler.”