9 December 2017

THE HEAD of the Confederation of British Industry faced a backlash last night over his claim that Brexit was the biggest crisis any country had faced.

Speaking at a dinner in the City of London before yesterday’s historic Brexit deal, Paul Drechsler warned there was ‘a cloud hanging over all of us and that cloud is called Brexit’.

The 61-year-old has been head of the pro-EU business lobby group, which receives around £148,000 of funding a year from the European Commission, since 2015. He said that leaving the EU was ‘the most serious issue any country in the world has ever had to face’.

However, he later issued a clarification, insisting he was referring to trade only, after critics accused him of comparing the impact of Brexit to events such as the Great Depression.

John Longworth, the former head of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘Paul Drechsler’s comments demonstrate how out of touch with reality the CBI are and how determined they are to salvage the status quo rather than embracing the opportunities Brexit affords the nation to be more prosperous. This sort of talk really is shameful.’

Patrick Minford, of the pro-Brexit Economists for Free Trade group, said: ‘The CBI continue to escalate their permanent post-Brexit tantrum.’

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