Bell under fire over Chamber Brexit gaffe

Chamber CEO Ann McGregor
Chamber CEO Ann McGregor

The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) has moved to set the record straight after an embarrassing gaffe by Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell.

The moves comes as Mr Bell discussed the view of business groups and leaders in the province in the Assembly. Referring to a particular function he had attended as Minister with the Chamber at the Bushmills Distillery, he said it had been interesting that Chamber CEO Ann McGregor had claimed “that, on the basis of her conversations with members, the majority of members are for Vote Leave.”

The Chamber moved swiftly to refute the comment and to point out that the reverse is the case.

“In all statements made by NI Chamber and its officers, the Chamber has maintained a clear position of neutrality on the upcoming EU referendum, to respect the diversity of views amongst the businesses we serve.

“The Chamber does, however, report our members’ views and to date we have carried out two surveys with the most recent one highlighting that 81% of our members are in favour of staying in the EU.

“We will keep surveying business opinion and report the findings before the referendum on 23 June 2016.

“We have asked that the reference is removed from Hansard.”