Earlier Guido noted that the British Chambers of Commerce had allowed their Kent chief to publicly endorse the Remain campaign. Now it emerges the chief executive of the Cornwall BCC branch has also signed a letter supporting staying in the EU. Kim Conchie wrote last week that:
“leaving the EU is playing Russian Roulette with the world’s fifth largest economy; it would be a great folly”
Remember, the official BCC line is that they are “a non-partisan organisation” and that senior figures airing personal views will “create confusion regarding the BCC’s neutral stance”. John Longworth lost his job for publicly backing Leave. Yet here are two top BCC spokesmen who have endorsed Remain with no consequences…
Last night the British Chambers of Commerce explained John Longworth was standing down because “personal views on the referendum” are “likely to create confusion regarding the BCC’s neutral stance”. That means public statements from BCC bosses backing Remain would have the same consequences, right?
Wrong. Two weeks ago Tim Allen, chair of the Kent region of the BCC, signed a letter in support of the Remain campaign and told his local paper:
“While there are a lot of things wrong in the EU – I’m not a fanatic EU supporter – the status quo is most important to me and my employees”
He has kept his position.
Of course Guido isn’t saying he should lose his job. Though it’s one rule for Remainers and another for Leavers over at the BCC…
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?