Next boss backs PM on Europe

The chief executive of Next, Lord Wolfson, has backed the Prime Minister and said that business should have nothing to fear from a renegotiation of the UK’s relationship with the European Union.

In an intervention that will cheer Number 10 which has faced attacks for “threatening” Britain’s influence in the EU, Lord Wolfson said that although the UK should remain part of the EU it had nothing to fear from being in the “slow lane”.

cashboy: It would appear that Dave Cameron is chasing after big company directors to tell the UK public that it is important that we stay in the EC before he makes his speech regarding the EC later in the month. If Cameron doesn't call for a referendum Yes - No for continued EC membership to take place before the next election, a lot of Conservative MPs will be losing their jobs at the next election for sure. It looks as if the 2015 election will be a Labour party victory due to: 1) The Immigrant Voter. 2) Tax Credits and Benefits affecting households standard of living.

theboilingfrog:  Big companies have always favoured the Single Market, even in 1975, so this comes as no surprise. What we are seeing is the closing of ranks across parties, newspapers and business. Campaigning for a referendum was always in the "careful what you wish for" territory and we're starting to see that now. This will be nothing to what will when a referendum gets going for real.

michaelpm: I wonder if the BBC will interview Lord Wolfson and give his remarks the same prominence that was given to those of Branson, that self-serving pressure group the CBI, the banksters and the rest.

alanllandrindodwells:  michaelpm I think you have misunderstood. This is a calculated fudge not support for taking back powers from Brussels. Taking back powers is impossible under E.U. law.  Once taken never returned.

michaelpm: alan: You're right and I said something very similar in my later post.  Here I was just making a very narrow point about the BBC and the predictability of its bias.

merrik: Another argument for leaving 100%? Even if it is not allowed, just try and stop us!

Old Goat: Renegotiation be buggered.  Out, now.

confused: I find it interesting that Honda feels we should remain in Europe. I wonder how Mr Honda would feel if we suggested that Japan should be submerged and ruled by China? I do not doubt there would be a lot of sucking of air through clenched teeth.

londonhector: japan will be, tiny insular failing, rapidly aging state with a hopeless political establishment on the edge of a dynamic powerhouse how could it not be? only a matter of time  

wolfgangwolf: I can see Lord Wolfson is a much cleverer man, to my surprise than Lord Heseltine who seems to fear the "R" subject. Well done Lord Wolfson, I am pleased to see businessmen backing EU referendum!

myechoagain: I would rather live in the gutter and have my country back. All these people want is cheap labour. They have betrayed the memories of our culture identity and history. They want to make us a numbered region of a Marxist Europe. The people say NO        

HydeParkSoapBox:  This government cares more about freedom and democracy in Syria or Mali than in its own boarders…

Knight: Remember the names of the traitors that have betrayed us. We must all stop voting the LibLabCon Party if we are ever to put a stop to this madness.

Johnnyboy: "Lord Wolfson" No, just another establishment lacky and given a job by the 'boys'!

lemar: Almost all retailers want us in the EU thats because we welcome everyone into this country who buy goods from these shops so boost their profits

michaelindeutschland: at least Lord Wolfson half gets it “The irony is that while the political elite of Europe hurry towards greater integration, more and more of the Europeans they represent would prefer the 'British’ solution.” quite, except that the Elites do not even claim to represent the Europeans. This must be clear to all who are aware of the rejection by France, Holland and Ireland of the Lisbon Treaty - and the Elites rejection of the Europeans decision To be at the top table is Camerons wish - to do what ? Lord it up over the serfs ? there are 26 other nations represented, whose Representatives were not voted for by us, likewise Cameron was not voted for by the Maltese or the Germans. and it´s not as if these " representatives " are responsible for the Laws, Diktats and regulations. that honour belongs to anonymous groups of EU fanatics below the streets of Brussels who present the Councils of Ministers with proposals, they nod sagely, wave it through The EU Parl. likewise waves it through and the Nationl Parliaments scrutiny Committees also wave it through all without disturbing the Democratic process. that all these troughers and rentiers are telling the UK not to do it, is reason enough to do it. Nor does it follow that the UK will be in the " slow lane " The likelihood that the UK will remain alone for long are very slim, and this is what they fear most of all. Invoke Article 50 tomorrow Dave, and in 6 months the "uncertainty" is over…

CrocodileGunnD: It's only the vested interests that want us in. Either for personal economic advantage, or political personal advantage. I'm still waiting for a reasoned argument for staying in even with a renegotiated position. The UK has NOTHING in common with our neighbours. Our system of government is different, our system of justice is different, and according to a report last week, our philosophy is different. No wonder we don't get on. Stop pretending that we do. Withdraw and trade. This will change the EU beyond recognition, stay in and we're all doomed. Support UKIP to force change.  

michaelpm: It is good to see at least one (partially) sensible voice on this topic from the world of big business, but it astonishes me that supposedly intelligent, educated individuals still don't understand that the choice is between being absorbed into a single, federal dictatorship or complete detachment. There is no half-way house and even if there were such a thing, it would be naive to believe that the vile cabal in Brussels would even consider anything that might be beneficial to the UK once we had decided to leave. This really isn't difficult.  The ESSR is moving inevitably towards a single state in which we will play no part.  There is nothing to stop us entering into a trade agreement with this new state just as we do with other states. This has the added advantage of liberating the 90% plus of our output that does not depend on Europe from ESSR regulations. Why is this so difficult to understand for so many people?  Except that it isn't.  The use of spurious and dishonest economic arguments as a terror tactic in support of what is really an evil and dangerous political project is what this has been about all along.

joolswrites: Unfortunately for Lord Wolfson, there will never be the right terms. We got an opt-out from the move to the Euro, but were still forced to converge our economy with Europe, and the European Commission has the final say over every annual UK Budget. There won't be any opt-outs from existing measures (a) as the 'acquis communautaire' rule means that powers lost to the EU stay there (b) because the institutions like the Council of Ministers are bound by the EU goal of ever closer union, politically and economically. This means that any Treaty renegotiation will be for more integration, not less. As for Honda, let's put the record straight. Their UK MD said he was OK with a relationship outside the EU that maintained Britain's competitiveness (which free trade and reduced bureaucracy should. The EU is actually legally committed to the former). Their Europe VP clarified that Honda is committed to its UK manufacturing - emphasising what the Telegraph reported in September. Remember that any job losses will be due to poor sales in continental markets.

Calorus: The EU is committed to free as in "Liberty" Trade, not free as in "Gratuity" Trade. If you have to pay an army of accountants to get your goods into the EU, you may as well manufacture in your own country (or a cheaper one) and ship the goods from there.