Leave Means Leave have announced the ‘March to Leave’ where over the course of thirteen days, Brexiteers will be marching the length of Enlgand from Sunderland down to Westminster, in time for our scheduled departure from the European Union on March 29th. The route pays homage to the working class Jarrow March of 1936…
The campaign was launched this afternoon by Nigel Farage, John Longworth, Esther McVey, and Richard Tice. Each day the marchers will travel between two locations with Leave Means Leave inviting Brexiteers from up and down the country to join them for some (or all!) of the way. Each day they’ll be walking for an average of five hours. Guido wonders how much time they’ll be spending in pubs along the way…
There are two categories of people who want to join in on the march; cheerleaders who join the core marchers at the start and finish of each leg, cheering them on, and the core marchers who pay a one off fee of £50 and receive fully paid accommodation, official kit, and breakfast and dinner for all the days they are able to join the march. They will be releasing more details on how to become a ‘cheerleader’ closer to the march…
On Friday night the British Chambers of Commerce suspended their boss John Longworth for giving an interview on Thursday backing Brexit. The ensuing row and swift punishment would have you thinking he’d massively gone rogue. Not so.
BCC press officers contacted news organisations on Wednesday afternoon, the day before, offering Longworth up for interview. This is from the email the BCC sent to broadcasters:
I just wanted to check if you’d be interested in speaking to John Longworth, BCC DG, tomorrow morning at our annual conference.
So the BCC explicitly offered him up for interview, then suspended him for giving his view during that interview. What did they expect the long-time Eurosceptic was going to say?
The full statement from the British Chamber of Commerce on John Longworth tonight:
“The British Chambers of Commerce is a non-partisan organisation, and as such, decided not to campaign for either side ahead of the European referendum on 23rd June 2016. Its neutrality in the referendum debate reflects the real divisions that exist in business communities across the UK.
“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 6 March 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. The only views taken into account were those of the BCC Board and the BCC’s owners, the UK accredited Chamber Network.
Curious they felt the need to stress “no politician or interest group had any influence” on his suspension. Downing Street deny applying pressure.
The BCC say he has gone because it isn’t appropriate for their boss to be airing personal political views on Europe. They didn’t have a view when he did so in 2014.
“It would be crazy to think if the UK exited the European Union it could not negotiate new trade deals with EU members,” he said. “EU countries sell more to the UK than we sell to them. Last year the UK was Germany’s biggest export market, larger than the US, larger than China. The thing is, whatever happens to the UK, it’s highly unlikely that these countries would erect trade barriers because it would damage them more than us.”
For holding this view, Longworth has now been forced out…