Letter written to major UK companies
Downing Street has asked some of the UK’s major companies to publicly support the government’s stance on the Brexit negotiations, causing anger among many executives.
In a letter seen by Sky News, the government praised Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU strategy and her “commitment” to negotiating a transition period for businesses after the UK leaves the European Union in March 2019.
Furthermore, the letter said this was a good time for employers to work with the government given its Repeal Bill, which “will make Britain ready for life outside the EU”, is being initiated this month.
The letter said: “We believe this is a good time for employers to work with government and Parliament to make a success of Brexit and secure a bright future for our country.
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“And as the UK makes progress towards establishing stronger trading links with markets like the US, India, Japan and Mexico, British businesses which know these markets well should stand ready to use their expertise and networks to cement future relationships.
“As business leaders, we have a duty to our shareholders and employees to continue to grow our businesses and ensure they remain strong.”
Officials had requested the executives of blue-chip companies sign the letter before the end of the week.
Some of the UK’s biggest companies have expressed anger at the government’s request, with one claiming it reminded them of “Project Fear”, which was what the pro-Remain campaign was labelled as during the lead up to the Brexit vote, according to Sky.
One source told Sky: “There is no way we could sign this given the current state of chaos surrounding the [Brexit] talks.”