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CBI ‘rigged poll that showed most firms wanted to stay in EU’: Lobby group faces investigation after body campaigning to leave raised concerns

  • CBI accused of rigging a poll on business attitudes to the European Union
  • Business lobby group is facing investigation by the British Polling Council
  • It comes over claims that its survey about support for the EU was rigged
  • Vote Leave demanding a probe into ‘serious violations’ of council’s rules

The business lobby group is facing an investigation by the British Polling Council (BPC) over claims that its survey showing eight out of ten firms supported staying in the EU was rigged.

Vote Leave, a group campaigning against continued membership, wrote to the council yesterday to demand that it investigate ‘serious violations’ of the council’s rules by YouGov, which conducted the poll two years ago on behalf of the CBI.

It also pointed out that the CBI has received nearly £1million from the EU since 2009 – casting doubt on its independence in the debate.

The business lobby group CBI is facing an investigation by the British Polling Council (BPC) over claims that its survey showing eight out of ten firms supported staying in the European Union was rigged (file picture)


 Yesterday, a leaked email from a senior figure at the BPC – an association of polling organisations that monitors standards – said the survey looked ‘pretty dodgy’.

The accusation about the poll follows claims of scaremongering from the political and business elite about the risks of leaving the EU.

Vote Leave said the survey by YouGov, which is a member of the BPC, was unreliable and ‘caused the public to be misled about the views of British businesses on the EU for nearly two years’.

It said the sample used by the polling firm was ‘wholly unrepresentative’ of Britain’s 5.2million firms.

 Just 20.5 per cent of the respondents had fewer than 50 employees, despite the fact that 99.2 per cent of British businesses employ fewer than 50 people.

Vote Leave also claims that only 22 per cent of the businesses surveyed had a turnover of less than £5million. The average turnover of private businesses is £673,000.

The CBI is understood to have selected the sample for YouGov from its membership list. In total, 451 of the members selected responded.

The complaint concluded: ‘These facts are capable of giving rise to the inference that the CBI was allowed to select which of its members were surveyed in order to further the CBI leadership’s long-standing pro-EU stance.’

The complaint was submitted by email to Nick Moon, secretary of the BPC, yesterday.

The CBI leadership wants to stay in the EU at all costs, yet with so much public sector and commission funding it is deeply compromised
Robert Oxley, Vote Leave

He replied by mistake to the email, writing: ‘Survey looks pretty dodgy but luckily we don’t need to rule on that. My initial thought is that YouGov did not give as much info as they should have.’

Robert Oxley, head of media at Vote Leave, said: ‘The CBI leadership does not represent business opinion on the EU; in fact, it misrepresents it.’

He added: ‘The CBI leadership has consistently got it wrong on the EU, from its disastrous campaign for us to join the euro to its undermining of the case for an EU referendum.

‘The CBI leadership wants to stay in the EU at all costs, yet with so much public sector and commission funding it is deeply compromised.’

A spokesman for the group said: ‘The CBI used independent research firm YouGov to conduct a survey of businesses on the EU. This was never intended to be a poll of all British businesses.’

Stephan Shakespeare, YouGov chief executive, said: ‘We made no claims as to the representativeness of the CBI membership compared to British business as a whole. We stand by the poll.’

CITY TYCOON IS SET TO FUND EURO EXIT CAMPAIGN, IT IS REVEALED

Sir Michael Hintze during a charity abseil last month


 Hedge fund tycoon Sir Michael Hintze is believed to be considering a large donation to the ‘Out’ campaign in the run-up to the EU referendum.

Sir Michael, who has given £3.2million to the Conservatives over the past decade, is said to be thinking about giving a substantial amount of money to the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

‘I think he is almost certain to donate – it is a cause he is passionate about,’ one friend told the Financial Times.

Sir Michael – a former trader at investment banks Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs – is on the advisory council of Business for Britain, a pressure group that is sceptical about the benefits of EU membership.

His son John is working as a researcher for Vote Leave, which is vying to be designated by the European Commission as the official campaign group for the Eurosceptic side.

Each side can spend only £7million during the official campaign. However, political parties can spend millions on their individual campaigns.

Sir Michael, who set up hedge fund CQS, is one of a number of City tycoons who are sceptical about EU membership because of draconian Brussels rules imposed after the financial crisis seven years ago.

But most big businesses are expected to back the campaign for Britain to stay in the EU.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3301164/CBI-rigged-poll-showed-firms-wanted-stay-EU-Lobby-group-faces-investigation-body-campaigning-leave-raised-concerns.html

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