EU referendum: Former head of British Chambers of Commerce John Longworth condemns anti-Brexit multinational companies as "short-termist and narrowly focused"

William Turvill
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John Longworth stood down from the BCC last month (Source: Getty)

John Longworth, the former head of the British Chambers of Commerce, has accused large companies campaigning for Britain to remain in the European Union of being “short-termist and narrowly focused”.

Longworth stepped down from his position as director-general of the BCC last month after he was suspended for expressing his support for a so-called Brexit.

At the end of last month, Longworth was named as the chair of Vote Leave's business council.

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“After I volunteered to resign as director general of the British Chambers of Commerce so that I could speak freely about Brexit, I received hundreds of messages of support from business people eager to break free of the costs and restrictions imposed by Brussels with the willing cooperation of Whitehall,” he wrote in the Guardian.

“Anti-Brexit multinational corporations, which represent only around five per cent of the businesses in Britain, are short-termist and narrowly focused.”

He said the “primary drivers” of these multinational companies are “quarterly reporting, twice-yearly dividends and fat end-of-year executive bonuses - but rarely planning beyond a three-year horizon”.

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Contrasting multinationals with “the authentic voice of the real economy”, Longworth said they are “economically rational in their own interests but not particularly concerned about the future of the people of Britain or the wider business community”.

He added: “It is outrageous, in my view, that these corporations have signed up to the EU cause without reference to their shareholders, customers or employees - just as outrageous as the government using taxpayers’ money to fund the pro-EU case.”

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