As Britain focusses this week on the Parliamentary Brexit vote, following a business leaders event in the UK, an open letter to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has been sent today highlighting concerns not just around Brexit, but also the broader threats to the international legal order and to free trade.
Those attending the event at the Dorchester Hotel in London included:
- Baroness Sandip Verma, Member, House of Lords, Former Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for International Development, and Former Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Energy and Climate
- Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, Conservative Party Chair
- Rt Hon Claire Perry MP, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth
- Lord Robert Smith of Kelvin KT CH, Member, House of Lords, Chair, British Business Ban
- Lord Howard Flight, Member, House of Lords, Former Deputy Conservative Party Chair
- Lord Diljit Rana MBE, Member, House of Lords
- Lord Jitesh Gadhia, Member, House of Lords
- Lord Meghnad Desai, Member, House of Lords, Professor Emeritus at the London School of Economics
- His Excellency Mr. Y. K. Sinha, High Commissioner of India to the U.K.
- Mr. Peter Dickson, Founding Partner & Technical Director, Glennmont Partners,
- Mr. Philip Bouverat, Director, JCB
- Mr. Colin Smith CBE, Chairman, U.K. Industry Aerospace Growth Partnership, and President, ADS
- Mr. David Williams, Chief Executive, eco2
- Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association
- Mr. Dean McCumiskey, Sales Director, BAE Systems – Air
- Mr. Neeraj Kanwar, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Apollo Tyres
- Mr. Vindi Banga, Senior Independent Director on the Boards of GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Marks & Spencer Plc
- Mr. Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London (Business)Mr. Andy Baldwin, EMEIA Area Managing Partner, EY
The overwhelming concern shared by speakers, panellists and guest delegates was the sense that the global free trade the world has enjoyed for many years, is under grave threat.
The letter stated:
“One illustration of this worrying trend was Saudi Arabia’s and the U.A.E’s recent flouting of international law and justice impacting journalists and British citizens respectively, and the ongoing blockade of Qatar, and the threat that this brings to stability and economic growth both in the Middle East and globally.
Further, this blockade and the U.K.’s looming exit from Europe, is having a direct effect on incoming investment to the U.K. from countries such as Qatar, that have historically shared deep and strong ties with the U.K. The fact that Qatar is currently investing more in Europe now than ever before, despite the U.K. being its largest foreign investment market, is incredibly worrying and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
At a time of Brexit, when the U.K. needs the support of its international friends and trading partners,
shouldn’t the U.K. be doing more to support Qatar and bring this blockade to a swift end? This seems to be a matter that the U.K. can potentially influence more so, than the other global threats, mentioned earlier, affecting the confidence of the international business community.
I would urge you as you have fought for a good Brexit for Britain and a reduction in US led trade tariffs and other international protectionist policies. Also, to please remember that as a British business, our ability to do business in the Middle East is severely curtailed by the Saudi led blockade of Qatar. I would further urge your Government to help deliver a swift resolution to the blockade and to encourage Saudi Arabia and U.A.E to revisit their destabilising and anti-business position.
I would urge you to please fight for a good Brexit for Britain and a reduction in U.S. led trade tariffs and other international protectionist policies.
Also, to please remember that as a British business, our ability to do business in the Middle East is severely curtailed by the continuing tensions in the region. It is imperative that the U.K. uses its influence, in both words and action, to push for an end to the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar and the on-going war in Yemen. Given the recent unfortunate events relating to Saudi Arabia, I would request your Government to ensure that our lack of response, or even silence, is not seen as condoning the erosion of the freedoms we hold dear in the U.K. be they trade, speech or civil rights.”
Chenk Ferris is the lead editor for NewsMaxi. Chenk has written for several publications including The Guardian, Pitsburgy Post Gazette and the Huffington Post. Chenk is based in NYC and covers issues affecting his state and country. When he’s not busy writing, Chenk enjoys fishing and kayaking.