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FTSE 100 bosses have angrily rejected pressure from Downing Street to publicly support the government’s Brexit strategy.
Reports are circulating that blue-chip directors were unimpressed by attempts to get them to sign the letter, written by government strategists, which praises Theresa May’s attempts to secure a transition period around the common market after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.
The Financial Times quotes the letter as saying ‘some of us personally supported the remain or leave campaigns at last year’s referendums’, however it goes on to state ‘15 months later, we all share an understanding that Brexit is happening’, stressing ‘a commitment to ensure that we make a success of the outcome for the whole country’. The paper also said some City bigwigs felt ‘strong-armed’ by ministers to support the initiative.
Many business leaders questioned the strategy behind the letter, especially given that companies have been calling for clarity around Brexit, not least around the proposals to limit the flow of migrant workers, which many rely on.
‘You’d have to be craven or manoeuvring for a knighthood,’ said one FTSE 100 insider to the FT, in response to their view on the letter.
The paper also reports that the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has also been touting a rival letter, seeking signatories warning that the uncertainty is damaging UK business.