Business leader John Longworth quits in Brexit row

Jess Shanahan
- Leadership - Mar 07, 2016

After showing support for Britain's exit from the EU, the leader of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has resigned.

There was a lot of controversy over Longworth's suggestion that the UK could have a 'brighter' future outside the EU. This clashes with the BCC's neutral view when it comes to whether or not Britain leaves and it's because of this that Longworth has decided to step down from his post as Director-General.

Downing Street has denied claims by Brexit campaigners that it has anything to do with Longworth stepping down. It was alleged that some politicians may have put pressure on the BCC following Longworth's comment.

This is something the BCC also denied as President Nora Senior stressed that 'no politican or interest group' had any influence on the BCC board's decision to suspend Longworth or his subsequent decision to quit.

She added: "John Longworth and the BCC board recognise that John's personal view on the referendum is likely to create confusion regarding the BCC's neutral stance going forward.

"In light of this, John has taken the decision to step down as Director-General and his resignation has been accepted by the board with effect from March 6 2016.

"No politician or interest group had any influence on the BCC board decision to suspend Mr Longworth. His subsequent resignation was agreed mutually between Mr Longworth and the BCC board, and there were no external factors involved.

"All representatives of the BCC have the right to personal and political views on the key issues of the day. However, they are not expected to articulate these views while acting in their professional capacity, as their views could be misconstrued as representing the position of the organisation as a whole."

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