Business chief warns against UK ‘political paralysis’

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), speaks at their annual conference in London, November 19, 2018. — Reuters pic
Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), speaks at their annual conference in London, November 19, 2018. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Nov 17 — The winner of next month’s UK general election must seize the initiative on Brexit and avoid further “political paralysis”, the head of Britain’s largest business lobby group said today.

“Whoever is in power after the election, the top priority must be to work with business to provide bolder, better and fairer answers to the challenges facing our country,” Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said ahead of the group’s annual meeting tomorrow.

“We simply cannot afford another wasted year of political paralysis, indecision and distraction while productivity and investment suffer,” Fairbairn said in a statement.

Britain faces a general election on December 12, almost three and a half years after the nation narrowly voted to leave the European Union in a divisive referendum.

Brexit was initially scheduled for March 31 this year but, after a prolonged period of parliamentary gridlock, it is now due on January 31.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hoping to win the election to finally force through Britain’s departure from the EU.

Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party is currently ahead in opinion polls over the main opposition Labour Party, but that was also the case in 2017 when former prime minister Theresa May subsequently lost her majority.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was Monday set to address the CBI, which represents some 190,000 businesses across the UK. — AFP