EU referendum: CBI president Paul Drechsler hits back at claims in-campaign is scaremongering

“People say the facts are just scaremongering, but these are the facts," Drechsler said

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The president of the Confederation of British Industry, an organisation representing employers of one-third of the UK's private sector workforce, has hit back at claims that the pro-EU lobby is scaremongering when it warns of the difficulties Britain would face if it leaves the EU.

Paul Drechsler, CBI president, said that businesses must take responsibility for informing people on whether or not the UK should remain part of the EU on June 23.

“People say the facts are just scaremongering, but these are the facts: we will negotiate better trade deals from within the EU. If we leave Europe, Article 50 says 27 countries, excluding the UK, will decide what the deal is. We’re not even in the room,” Drechsler told the Independent.

Drechsler also said it is indisputable that the UK would face a long period of uncertainty if it leaves, because it would have to negotiate the terms of its relationship with the EU as well as many other trading relationships around the world. He said that estimates vary for how long it would take to complete all 50 deals.

“It could take 10 years, maybe more. It’s sure as hell a long time, because you’ve got to resource them. History says trade deals take a long time to do,” he said.

Dominic Raab, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice, told the BBC on Wednesday that the pro-EU lobby’s scaremongering stories were hurting their campaign.

“I think there has been far too much scaremongering. It’s like Halloween come early, you have a scare story each week, it’s like there are ghoulish prospects outside the European Union,” he said.

Drechsler said that he believes the CBI's 140 trade associations and 190,000 businesses are largely in favour of the EU. A 2013 report found that eight out of 10 CBI members want the UK to stay in the EU.