The inventor Sir James Dyson has thrown his weight behind the Leave campaign ahead of the EU referendum later this month. The eccentric entrepreneur said it was "absolute cobblers" to claim that the EU would cease to trade with the UK if we left the single market.

He said: "When the Remain campaign tells us no one will trade with us if we leave the EU, sorry, it's absolute cobblers. Our trade imbalance with Europe is running at £9bn a month and rising. If this trend continues, that is £100bn a year."

Insisting that trade tariffs imposed by Europe following Brexit could be a good thing, he told The Telegraph: "If, as David Cameron suggested, they imposed a tariff of 10 per cent on us, we will do the same in return. We buy more from Europe than they buy from us, so we would be the net beneficiary and based on these numbers it would bring £10bn into the UK annually."

Dyson, who made his fortune after inventing a vacuum cleaner which didn't use bags, claims that the UK "will create more wealth and more jobs by being outside the EU than we will within it".

Dyson Supersonic hairdryer
Sir James Dyson shows off the radical design of his new "supersonic hairdryer" Dyson

Dyson doubled his firm's profits in 2003 when he moved the factories for his vacuum cleaners and washing machines to Malaysia from Wiltshire at a cost of 865 British jobs. He reserved particular criticism for the UK's stance on immigration from outside the EU.

"We're not allowed to employ [talented engineers], unless they're from the EU," he said. "At the moment, if we want to hire a foreign engineer, it takes four and a half months to go through the Home Office procedure. It's crazy."

He continued: "Why on earth would you chuck out researchers with that valuable technology which they then take back to China or Singapore and use it against us?"

Dyson has previous grievances with another part of Europe-wide governance, the European Court, having butted heads over Europe's energy labelling system, a case he ultimately lost.

"It's a politically motivated court of justice," he said. "Politically motivated to protect vested interests."