Whitehall suspends CBI while companies evaluate their membership

As the CBI’s crisis deepened, the government stopped engaging with it and many firms within its membership retreated in the interim pending the results of an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

Ministers and top officials from Whitehall departments (including Treasury and Business and Trade) have stopped interacting with the CBI. The CBI used to hold policy discussions for its members.

After an extensive investigation by Fox Williams (a law firm), the CBI had to cancel all its external events, including its annual dinner. These moves were made after Monday’s report that more than 12 women claimed they had been the victims of sexual harassment. One woman claimed she was raped at an CBI summer boat party on Thames.

Some of Britain’s largest businesses are believed to be reviewing their membership after being “shocked” by the allegations.

Siemens spokeswoman said that the technology company is an active member of CBI since long time. These are serious allegations, and an independent investigation is necessary.

Andy Wood, Adnams’ chief executive, stated that there is no place in society for sexual misconduct. Any allegations should be investigated immediately and thoroughly.

Rolls-Royce’s spokesman said that the recent allegations were deeply concerning. He sits on several CBI committees including its president’s. Before considering our membership, we will wait to see the results of the investigation.

According to reports, the Labour Party informed the CBI that it would “temporarily suspend” its external events program before it announced that it would do so until the results of the investigation.

Kemi Badenoch (the business and trade secretary) was due to meet with the UK’s top five business groups after the Easter recess. According to one business source, the meeting was already moved and could be arranged without CBI if needed.

After the CBI opened an investigation into complaints about Tony Danker’s conduct since 2020, the CBI has now made new allegations. The new allegations do not relate to Danker. He has since apologised and resigned while the investigation is being conducted.

CBI spokesperson said that they understood the decision of the government to suspend engagement while the independent investigation is completed.