This is the story of a good-natured and lively debate about the forthcoming EU Referendum. Our publication is an edited transcript – in 14k words – of what was said. It tries hard to keep to the business issues – as was its brief – but you could see, even at this early stage, that the gloves were going to come off when the debate goes fully national!
Do you understand the issues? Does it matter?
Leave or Stay: What does British business want from the EU?
Could this debate seriously divide the country? Like no other issue? What made this Event really special was that it was probably the first time that the two EU Referendum leading campaign groups had shared a platform in debate.
The Debate was chaired by leading Media figure Giles Dilnot and presenting the business case for BNE – Business for New Europe (www.businessforneweurope.org and now part of www.strongerin.co.uk ) and for Remaining/ Staying in the EU were Hugo Dixon and Tim Skeet. And presenting the business case for BfB – (www.BusinessforBritain.org – now part of Vote Leave – www.voteleavetakecontrol.org and for Leaving the EU were Jon Moynihan OBE and Matthew Elliott,
As the organiser, we decided that, although we finished up calling it a Debate – and debates have winners and losers – this one would be called a draw from the very beginning. The aim was, like all Devonshire House Events, to present the facts, the arguments, the emotion and, inevitably, some element of fiction-masquerading-as-opinion-trying-to-be-fact. We wanted all those listening to be better informed – as senior leaders of businesses and with major responsibilities for people who work for them in those businesses. Devonshire House does not take sides. We showcase important national debates and key issues. Our members make up their own minds.
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