British business boss suspended over Brexit support
John Longworth, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, made his remarks in a speech earlier this week, going beyond the BCC’s official position of neutrality
The BCC refused to comment on the FT’s report when contacted by AFP.
Longworth gave a keynote speech on Thursday in which he said the referendum was a choice between the “devil and the deep blue sea”.
He later told Sky News: “I actually went on in my speech beyond what the Chambers of Commerce believe, to talk a little bit about what my analysis of the evidence has been.
“And my analysis of the evidence is that actually, with the reforms that we received so far, the UK would be better off taking a decision to leave the European Union.”
The FT reported that Longworth “has been suspended after he took to the airwaves to call for Brexit — against the wishes of most of its members”.
In a statement issued before reports of the suspension arose, the BCC said it “will not be campaigning for either side ahead of the EU referendum”.
But a spokesman did acknowledge that Longworth “has been very clear where his remarks reflect his personal assessment, rather than the position of the BCC”.
Longworth’s remarks highlight divisions in Britain’s business community over whether to stay in or leave the EU.
The country’s car industry this week publicly backed the remain campaign while small business owners have spoken out against the cost of Brussels red tape.
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