BCC boss suspended over Brexit comments

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John Longworth, the Director General of British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has been temporarily suspended over his Brexit comments at BCC’s annual conference.

Longwoth suggested that the UK would have a better long-term economic future and prospects for growth outside the EU.

He described the EU referendum as a choice between “devil and the deep blue sea” on Thursday at the conference.

According to the Financial Times, the suspension was based on breaching the BCC group’s neutrality rule.

BCC has also held an emergency meeting to discuss how to reconcile Longworth’s views with those of other members.

The current survey taken among BCC members across small, medium and large businesses in the UK suggest 59.5 % of the members would prefer to stay in the EU.

The polls suggested that 30% of BCC members would be in the favour of leaving, while 10% are still undecided.

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Following Longworth’s speech, BCC has announced a statement saying it will not be campaigning on either side in the referendum on 23th June as its membership is split on the issue.

However, the group said it would take another survey among the 52 member companies closer to the referendum date.

The Director General defended himself saying that the merit of leaving EU is based on key economic reports and facts about better future prospects outside the EU.

Another feature in his speech was highlighting the dynamism and resilience of the City of London.

At the conference in London, Longworth further suggested that one option was staying in an “essentially unreformed EU”, while the other being the uncertainty of leaving.

The BCC group has strongly emphasised its neutrality on the membership issue and said that Longworth’s views reflect to his personal assessment rather than representing the whole group.