Cameron’s “No Brexit” campaign wins top business support as Tory front breaks

David Cameron UK EU Council

David Cameron, UK’s Prime Minister, during the last EU Council (TV Newsroom European Council, 20/02/2016)

A few days ago, a bit after London’s Mayor Boris Johnson openly declared his support for a “Brexit”, UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign to keep Britain inside the European Union won a priceless boost. Last Thursday, the chairman of the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, Martin Temple, said Brexit would lead to an “abyss of uncertainty and risk” and “no tangible benefits”.

An abyss of risk

Speaking at the EEF’s annual dinner, Temple laid out the economic and political argument for staying in the EU, saying the UK politician should lead the drive to reform the EU from within. “The EU is a useful whipping post for populists but the facts of our economic lives in Britain are European”, said Mr. Temple. “The job of our elected politicians is to commit themselves to using the power and influence they have to make it work better, rather than make excuses about the limitations they face, and simply giving up and taking us out into an abyss of uncertainty and risk”, he also declared.

Mr. Temple also spoke about the attractiveness of the UK as part of the EU, and the potential risk for the country to lose both foreign investment and high-skill jobs, should it leave the bloc: “In short, the great risk of leaving is that our country would be economically poorer”, he said. “Being in the EU gives us certainty, whereas those who argue we should leave can only offer uncertainty and risk with few, if any, real tangible benefits. The risk our companies might be less prosperous, the jobs of the people who work for them less secure, their future pension worth less.”

Top corporate bosses’ letter

The very clear words by EEF’S Temple came only days after Mr. Cameron’s “In” campaign won another precious endorsement, when bosses at more than a third of the companies in the FTSE 100 have signed a letter in support of the UK’s continued membership of the EU.

The letter, published at the Times , contained the signatures of some of Britain’s top corporate bosses and praised Cameron’s agreement with his EU counterparts in Brussels a few days ago. “Following the prime minister’s renegotiation, we believe that Britain is better off staying in a reformed European Union”, the letter said. “He has secured a commitment from the EU to reduce the burden of regulation, deepen the single market and to sign off crucial international trade deals”.

All industries are included in the letter, ranging from retail and media to manufacturing and energy, in an attempt to show that not only City banks support the idea of a UK within the European Union. GlaxoSmithKline, easyJet, Barclays, BAE Systems, BT and Shell are among the companies that signed the document, which together employ “more than 1 million people across the country”, as the letter reads.

A “stronger” Britain

“Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs. We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment and threaten jobs: it would put the economy at risk”, they said. “Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the European Union,” the letter concluded.

The words by EEF’s leader Martin Temple and the letter by FTSE 100 leaders are together a big sign on how important the Brexit question is of UK businesses and not only. A survey by the Institute of Directors also shows that 60 per cent of its members support remaining in Europe, although there’s a consistent part of British company which has not yet entered the “field”.

Not everyone is “In” though

The letter is indeed missing signatures from retail giants Tesco and Sainsbury’s, which have said that the decision should be made by the British people alone. Supermarket Morrisons, which is no longer on the FTSE 100 anyway, has also not signed the letter. Sainsbury’s wanted to say that it was an “apolitical organization” and the vote on Europe was a “matter for the British people.”

The letter is also missing signatures from the bosses of two major UK banks. Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays bank both declined to sign the letter. Moreover, Chairman of Lloyds Banking, Lord Blackwell, said the EU referendum was “ultimately a matter for the British people.”

A strong political matter

On a  political level, the Brexit is becoming an enormous point of contention for the UK day after day, especially inside the Conservative Party. Indeed Mr. Cameron’s announcement first, and Mayor Johnson then opened a strong debate in the country which have widely dominated the UK media during last week, and that was not all. The shockwaves generated by the FTSE 100 leaders’ letter came only days before George Osborne, British conservative Finance Minister, openly pushed financial leaders from the top 20 economies (G20) to include the risk of a Brexit in their list of dangers to the world economy.

The day before the Times published the letter by FTSE 100 leaders, Mr. Cameron also shook lawmakers with very strong words indeed. He said the UK economy would undoubtedly suffer should the country leave the EU, and also opened for geo-political risks, as the UK would be “less secure” against threats from Russia and terrorism. As Bloomberg reports, he said the agreements he had reached on welfare, excluding Britain from “ever closer union” and protecting the interests of the country outside the euro would improve Britain’s relationship with the bloc.

BoJo’s “No” point

Mayor Johnson did not like PM Cameron’s speech, and that was clearly exhibited in his column at the Telegraph. “There is only one way to get the change we need – and that is to vote to go”, Mayor Johnson wrote. “All EU history shows that they only really listen to a population when it says ‘No’”, Mr. Johnson added. “This is the only opportunity we will ever have to show that we care about self-rule. A vote to ‘Remain’ will be taken in Brussels as a green light for more federalism, and for the erosion of democracy”.

A big Tory question

The question is more than open inside the Tories, which are living days of turmoil. PM Cameron openly defended the deal he finally managed to get from the EU, and promised a special membership: “Our special status means that Britain can have the best of both worlds. In the parts of Europe that work for us, influencing the decisions that affect us. But we will be out of the parts of Europe that don’t work for us”. Most of the Conservatives are said to be happy with what PM Cameron has negotiated with the EU, although that doesn’t seem to be enough to calm down the thirst for a total freedom.

The proud words by London Mayor Johnson, who spoke about a Britain that has “spent 500 years trying to stop continental European powers uniting against us”, surely offers food for thought and inspiration also for the non-“Brexit” backers.

However, it seems that at least for now all the threats concerning the UK economy being left outside of the EU echo too loud.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

18th European Forum on Eco-innovation live from Barcelona: What’s next for eco-labelling?

China hopes EU Commissioner De Gucht drops super anti-dumping tariff on solar panels

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

Brexit uncertainty keeps shaking the world’s financial markets

More capital and liquidity for the banks

Yes, together we can make a change! YO!Fest and EYE 2016

Legal Manager – 2050

Yanis Varoufakis in a Sting Exclusive: “Unsustainable debt turns the creditor into Leviathan; Life under it is becoming nasty, brutish and short”

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “Employment contracts today are a reducing share of the workforce”, scientists worry in Davos that the 4th industrial revolution threatens employment globally

De Gucht: More gaffes with the talks on the EU-US free trade agreement

Can ECB’s €60 billion a month save Eurozone?

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

European Court of Justice to Google: It is #righttobeforgotten but not #righttoberemembered

IMF: European banks do not perform their duty to real economy

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to embrace unlicensed bands and Wi-Fi

Varna (Bulgaria) awarded European Youth Capital 2017

TTIP’s 11th round major takeaways and the usual “leaked” document

Appreciation of euro to continue

Germany loves a strong euro; the new Fiscal Councils can deliver despite the Greek chaos and a wider questioning of austerity

Junker for Commission President: What were the stakes in this affair

THE ROAD TO GANESHA

Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Rehn ready to sacrifice part of the real economy

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

UN Human Rights Council resolution on youth and human rights: a step forward for youth rights

European Youth Forum welcomes establishment of new Youth Intergroup in the European Parliament

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

Is Eurozone heading for disinflation?

Migration crisis, a human crisis after all

Rehn very reserved about growth in Eurozone

Germany fears that Americans and Russians want to partition Europe again

168 hours left for MEPs – ECOFIN Council to deliver a Banking Union

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile has power to tame transaction fees – PayPal CEO

Who cares about the unity of Ukraine?

Medical Doctors in Industry 4.0: pure science fiction

MWC 2016 LIVE: Orange targets VoLTE and Voice over Wi-Fi; strikes Google partnership

What does Tsipras have to offer to the rest of Europe? Is it worth an early advance of €10 billion? Berlin sturdily denies it

EU-US relations on the dawn of the Trump era

iSting: Change Europe with your Writing

Who is to pay the dearest price in a global slowdown?

The EU accuses Russia of bullying Ukraine to change sides

The impact of refugees on the European healthcare system

EU is officially in recession

Commission criticised member states on blocking financial transaction tax

South Sudan’s foreseen genocide: from “Never Again” to “Again and Again and Again”?

EU Summit: Why was Poland isolated in opposing Tusk and the ‘multi speed’ Europe

A European young student speaks about the Youth Policies of the European Commission

Tackling Youth Unemployment

The Next Web 2014, the biggest European conference on Internet so far and the Absence of Brussels from Amsterdam

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s