EU referendum: MPs to quiz business on the impact of a Brexit

Exclusive: Source says 'the usual suspects' - such as the CBI, Federation of Small Businesses, and British Chambers of Commerce - will be invited to speak

MPs are set to announce an investigation into the possible impact of Brexit on British business, with the construction and pharmaceuticals sectors under the spotlight. 

Sources close to the influential Commons Business Select Committee said the inquiry will run for between two and four hearings, at which senior City figures and representatives of business organisations will appear. 

A source added that “the usual suspects” – such as the CBI, Federation of Small Businesses, and British Chambers of Commerce – will be invited to speak. However, MPs are keen for “a wider spectrum” of witnesses, so they can make a more detailed assessment of how industries dependent on the European Union would fare should the UK vote to leave the EU in June’s referendum. 

The building industry is particularly nervous about a vote to leave, because corporate clients are holding back from constructing new offices until they know whether the City London will still be the EU’s financial centre. A survey by Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply this week showed construction activity fell to a 10-month low in February. 

Drugs legislation has been at the heart of European law since the mid-1960s. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the adoption of a law that reformed how medicinal products could be marketed, in the wake of the thalidomide disaster. 

This week the former Marks & Spencer chief executive Lord Rose, who chairs the campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe, came  under fire in Parliament for his “misuse” of data to back EU membership.

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