Britain's top business PM urges industry leaders to keep a poker face

GMT 11:52 2015 Tuesday ,30 June

Arab Today, arab today Britain's top business PM urges industry leaders to keep a poker face

Britain's top business minister
London - XINHUA

Government Business Secretary Sajid Javid gave Britain's business leaders food for thought Monday night when he dished up a lesson in the rules of poker.

Addressing a London banquet at the influential Confederation of British Industry the Cabinet member warned about showing their hand too soon as Prime Minister David Cameron seeks to re-negotiate reforms of the European Union.

He referred to critical comments about the EU made in the past by CBI leaders.

Then Javid showed his hand saying: "Imagine my surprise last month, when I attended an event and heard the CBI thinks the UK should remain in the EU 'no matter what'. That Britain should vote to stay in regardless of whether or not the Prime Minister wins the concessions British business so badly needs.

"That none of the concerns the CBI has raised over the years are actually that significant."

He added: "Does it really make sense to say, so early in the process: 'the rules of this club need to change, but don't worry, we'll always be members no matter what happens'.

"You wouldn't dream of sitting down at the start of a merger or acquisition and like a poker player showing his hand to the table... announce exactly what terms you were prepared to accept. It doesn't work in the boardroom and it won't work in Brussels."

He warned that alert Eurocrats will have seized upon the CBI's stance and will use it to fight the Prime Minister as he seeks lasting reform.

"The reforms we seek are the reforms your members need. An EU open to trade, concluding ambitious deals with America, China and Japan."

He referred to the stance taken by the other main business organisations, the Institute of Directors and the British Chambers of Commerce.

"Like the CBI, the IoD and BCC are great cheerleaders British business. Like the CBI, they want the renegotiation process to deliver genuine reform. But unlike the CBI, they're waiting until that process is complete before recommending how to vote in the referendum."

Laying his cards on the table Javid added: "For decades the CBI has been a champion of British business, and any friend of British business is a friend of mine. But best friends are not afraid to be straight with each other.

"So I'd urge everyone at the CBI to think very carefully about what you want to achieve in the months ahead. The Prime Minister's goal is Britain in a reformed EU with the issues British people want resolved, fixed for good."

"The concessions the Prime Minister is seeking will not easily be won. No politicians, no bureaucracy, ever gave up power without a fight, and the European Union is no different. Those of us who want change must work together. We must speak with one voice. We must be unafraid to say that we could walk away if Brussels refuses to compromise."

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