London

City of London Corporation backs EU membership

mark boleat Image copyright City of London
Image caption Mark Boleat said the Corporation 'could not afford to remain silent' on the EU referendum

The City of London Corporation has voted "overwhelmingly" to support the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU.

The Corporation's committee of 125 elected members, who represent the Square Mile, do not normally adopt a political stance.

But its policy chairman said the City "cannot afford to remain quiet".

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is campaigning for Britain to leave the EU.

'Speak up'

Mark Boleat, the policy chairman, said: "When City firms of all sizes and in different sectors, who we represent, are voicing their concerns about the risks of leaving the EU, we need to make sure the City of London Corporation remains relevant to our stakeholders.

"While we might be criticised for taking such a stance, we need to speak up and encourage others to follow suit.

"We have taken positions on controversial matters like a new Heathrow runway and immigration policy in the past and can no longer be a silent partner in the run up to the 23rd of June."

A number of City grandees, including the former chancellor Lord Lamont have criticised the Corporation's decision to hold the vote.

Alex Deane, one of the committee members, wrote in City A.M it was "strongly akin to adopting a party political stance".

"We steer clear of that; for we will need to be able to operate with people on both sides of this debate long after it is done.... Opinion in the City is divided, not united," he wrote.

The head of the British Chambers of Commerce has told a conference in London that referendum voters faced a "tough choice" between "the devil and the deep blue sea."

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