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UK’s largest companies asked to back No 10’s Brexit approach

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Some of Britain’s largest companies have been approached by the UK government for backing over the approach to Brexit.

According to BBC business editor Simon Jack, a letter has been sent to leaders of major UK businesses to support Downing Street’s strategy.

The government has not confirmed the existence of such a letter.

The Financial Times reports that many business executives have been angered, stating that they will not be “strong-armed” by ministers.

The letter reportedly says that while “some of us personally supported the remain or leave campaigns at last year’s referendum . . . 15 months later, we all share an understanding that Brexit is happening, [and] a commitment to ensure that we make a success of the outcome for the whole country.”

The letter asserts that the signatories back the government’s plan to negotiate an interim period after the formal exit date. The BBC reports that the signatories “would bring their expertise in international trade to bear on the government efforts to create future relationships outside the EU.”

A FTSE 100 company spokesperson told the FT:

“We wouldn’t sign something like this.

“An interim period doesn’t mean anything until you know what it means.”

Other business leaders told the BBC that while they support the idea of bringing business and government closer, they are reluctant to support a strategy that lacks clarity.