EU referendum: BCC boss John Longworth 'suspended over Brexit comments'

John Longworth told the BCC's annual conference the UK could have a 'brighter economic future' outside the EU

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Indy Politics

The director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has reportedly been suspended over comments he made suggesting Britain would have better prospects if it left the European Union.

John Longworth told the BCC's annual conference on Thursday that the UK could have a "brighter economic future" outside the EU.

His comments prompted an emergency meeting to discuss how to reconcile his views with those of other members, The Financial Times reports.

Members were told Mr Longworth had been temporarily suspended for breaching the group's neutrality, the paper added.

Mr Longworth said his comments were made in a personal capacity.

The BCC's official position is that it will not campaign for either side before the 23 June referendum because its membership is split on the issue.

However, a recent survey by the BCC found 60 per cent of its members would vote to stay in the EU, with 30 per cent voting to leave and 10 per cent undecided.

The BCC intends to survey its members again closer to the referendum.

A statement released by the group said it "will not be campaigning for either side ahead of the EU referendum.

"The BCC will survey chamber member companies across the UK, report their diverse views, and inform the debate.

“The BCC’s Director General has been very clear where his remarks reflect his personal assessment, rather than the position of the BCC.”