British PM May woos business with new body to talk Brexit, industry
London, UK - Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May will launch a new business advisory group today, her office said, as her government tries to build bridges with financial and trade bodies during Brexit negotiations.
May will chair the first in a regular series of meetings of the business council in her official Downing Street residence, with discussions due to focus on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), and wider economic issues such as the government’s industrial strategy.
The forum aims to give business a direct link to May and her senior team running the government’s Brexit strategy, her office said in an emailed statement. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, Business Secretary Greg Clark, and Junior Brexit Minister Robin Walker, will join today’s meeting, along with business figures Ralf Speth from Jaguar Land Rover, Tesco’s Dave Lewis and Prudential’s Paul Manduca.
Stephen Martin from the Institute of Directors, Carolyn Fairbairn, from the Confederation of British Industry, and Mike Cherry from the Federation of Small Businesses will also be among the guests, May’s office said.
The Prime Minister is looking for allies as she seeks to reassert her authority over her weakened minority Tory government, while at the same time pushing for a good Brexit deal in Brussels.
On Tuesday, May read the rule book to her most senior ministers after days of poisonous briefings and counter-briefings to the media by supporters of rival candidates to replace her.
The infighting made a difficult backdrop for Brexit Secretary David Davis and his team of officials to make progress in the second full round of talks on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, taking place this week in Brussels.
In an extraordinary public statement on Sunday, Hammond claimed he’d become a target for Brexit-supporting colleagues who want to undermine him because they don’t want his vision of a business-friendly Brexit that focuses on minimising disruption to gain traction.
May told her Cabinet to stop feuding. “The Prime Minister said that the briefings and counter-briefings over the weekend had been a case of colleagues not taking their responsibilities seriously,” May’s spokesman, James Slack, told reporters in London after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
May also won the backing of the powerful 1922 Committee, representing rank-and-file Tories in Parliament. “The Prime Minister has the full support of colleagues in Parliament,” said Graham Brady, the senior Conservative who chairs the committee. “It is incumbent on all of us to work together in the public interest.”
Those attending the business council meeting today include: Roger Carr, chairman of BAE Systems; Francis Martin, from the British Chambers of Commerce; John Pettigrew, CEO of National Grid; Luke Johnson, from Risk Capital; Kathryn Parsons, CEO of Decoded.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May