It appears that John Longworth, the leader of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), had become the latest victim of “project fear”.
The BCC’s decision to suspend Mr Longworth for voicibg a personal opinion that the UK might be better off outside the EU is scandalous.
No 10 strenuously denied involvement in Longworth’s suspension. Always beware of the official denial.
The BCC is remaining neutral in the referendum campaign and Longworth stressed he was giving his personal opinion as he used his keynote speech at the organisation’s conference on Thursday to say the UK might be better off outside the EU.
This is a man who reached the conclusion – after long reflection and a lifetime’s experience of business – that it would be better to vote Leave.
His verdict reflects the reality – that the EU has changed out of all recognition from the Common Market that this country joined.
He speaks for the many small- and medium-sized businesses – the lifeblood of the economy – who cannot understand why they should comply with more and more regulation, over which this country has no democratic control.
Only 5% of UK firms do business with the rest of Europe, and yet they must obey 100% of EU legislation.
The British public deserve to have the facts put before them. They deserve a proper debate.
It cannot be right that when someone has the guts to dissent from the establishment line, he or she is immediately crushed by the agents of project fear.
The Sunday Telegraph said a friend of Longworth claimed Downing Street had “bullied” and been “putting pressure” on BCC board members to suspend their director general. This is denied.