Sajid Javid Burnishes Eurosceptic Credentials In Speech Criticisng CBI's 'Yes' To The EU Stance

Sajid Javid compared the Confederation of British Industry to
Sajid Javid compared the Confederation of British Industry to
Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has won plaudits from Conservative Eurosceptics after criticising Britain's biggest business organisation for wanting to stay in the European Union regardless of renegotiating a better deal with Brussels.

Mr Javid compared the Confederation of British Industry to "a poker player showing his hand to the table" for saying the UK should remain in the bloc "no matter what" ahead of the in-out referendum by 2017.

The minister, who has said previously that leaving the bloc "isn’t something we should be afraid of,” strikes a markedly different tone to the leaked account of David Cameron’s pledge to EU summit leaders last week that “his firm aim was to keep the UK in the EU”.

Conservative backbencher Steve Baker - who is leading the Conservatives for Britain campaign for an "out" vote if radical reforms are not secured - said Mr Javid's address to the CBI's president's dinner was a "wonderful speech".

"Everyone of goodwill who wants a good deal for Britain should adopt the position set out by Sajid Javid," the MP told The Huffington Post UK. "It was a common sense speech adopting a normal negotiating position."

Mr Javid's comments follow remarks from the head of the CBI, Mike Rake, who said business should be "crystal clear" that membership was in the British national interest.

He hit out at Mr Rake's stance, underlining his "surprise" that the CBI "thinks the UK should remain in the European Union no matter what".

He went on: "That the people of Britain should vote to stay in regardless of whether or not the Prime Minister wins the concessions that British business so badly needs.

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

"Of course you’re entirely free to come to that conclusion. But 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’re some of Britain’s most respected, most successful business leaders. You know how negotiation works.

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 announcing exactly what terms you were prepared to accept.

"It doesn’t work in the boardroom and it won’t work in Brussels."