Business leaders back beneficial alignment

61 business leaders, trade experts and parliamentarians have published a letter in response to recent reports in the media around the UK diverging from the standards and protections of the EU.

The letter, which Best for Britain helped coordinate, was led by Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce Paul Drechsler and expresses support for a policy of ‘beneficial alignment’ with EU standards as recommended by the UK Trade and Business Commission in its landmark report in May. 

Paul Drechsler, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce said,

“Less friction means more trade and so it’s just common sense to start from a point of beneficial alignment.

“Our aim should be common rules and high standards for global trade to increase certainty and reduce costs, while providing the public with democratic accountability by giving the UK Parliament and devolved administrations a meaningful role in scrutinising and approving trade policy.”

Peter Norris, Chairman of Virgin Group and member of the cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission said,

“Leaving the single market has already increased costs for businesses and consumers, and further divergence will only hike prices further during a cost of living crisis

“As recommended by our commission, aligning with high EU standards and protections where beneficial is not only good for UK businesses, but for consumers, workers and the environment too.”

The letter, published in the Guardian, in full reads:

Dear Sir/Madam, 

With an election looming, business leaders across the UK will have paid close attention to recent comments in the media regarding alignment with EU standards and regulations.

In the wake of the UK’s departure from the EU and recent attempts to force divergence unilaterally in the UK, many businesses, business leaders and business organisations would welcome a policy of alignment with EU standards and regulations, unless it is explicitly not in the UK’s interests to do so. 

Such a policy of ‘beneficial alignment’, as proposed by the UK Trade and Business Commission, would enable businesses and investors to have confidence in the UK’s regulatory foundations, while still allowing the UK to maintain its own regulatory autonomy. 

By taking this approach, any future UK Government will be able to reassure businesses and investors, both domestically and internationally, that the UK is committed to maintaining high standards and protections, strong relationships with its trading partners, while also protecting the interests of UK businesses. 

Best wishes, 


Peter Norris, Co-convenor, UK Trade and Business Commission, Chair, Virgin Group

Paul Drechsler, CBE Chairman International Chamber of Commerce

Naomi Smith, Founder Trade Unlocked

Juergen Maier, CBE Vice chair Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Emma Degg, Chief Executive North West Business Leadership Team

Alison Williams, Global Data Protection Officer, Dunnhumby

Kim Darroch, Former Diplomat, Consultant

Stephen Farry MP, Member of Parliament

Hywel Williams MP, Arfon Member of Parliament

Dr Philippa Whitford MP, Member of Parliament

Charles Owen, Managing Director, Seasonal Businesses in Travel & European Pubs

James Smith, Owner, Loddington Farm Ltd

Jack Semple, Alliance Secretary, Engineering and Machinery Alliance

Simon Jeffreys, Chief Executive Designers Guild Group Limited

Professor Paul Ekins OBE, Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy, UCL

Professor Graeme, Atherton Head Centre for Inequality and Levelling Up

John Horner, British Fashion Model Agents

Liz Webster, Chair, Save British Farming

Jon Collins, CEO, LIVE

Zita Holbourne, FRSA Multidisciplinary Artist, Author and Human Rights campaigner

Charles Baughan, Managing Director, Westaway Sausages Ltd

Roland Hemming, Consultant and Chair of a British Standards Committee

Naomi Pohl, General Secretary, Musicians' Union

Nick Allen, CEO, British Meat Processors Association

Peter Hardwick, Trade Policy Adviser, British Meat Processors Association

Stephen Taylor, MD, Winterwood Farms Ltd.

Francis Toye, CEO & Founder, the Unilink Group

Dr Nick Mann, NHS Doctor

V M Whitbread, Founder

Sarah McCartney, CEO, 4160Tuesdays Ltd

Dr Dave Seaward, Founder, 3P innovation Ltd

Simon Chambers, Director, Storm Model Management

Alastair McBain, Entrepreneur

Denise Walshe, Group Strategic Finance Projects Manager, Lakeland Dairies Co-operative Society Limited

Dame Rosemary Squire, Joint CEO

Johannes Von Stumm PPRSS PPOAS, Director

Naomi McCarthy, Independent Society of Musicians

Dr J Godber, OBE Playwright

Ian Mucklejohn, MD, Vacational Studies

Richard Griffiths, CEO, British Poultry Council

JP Garnier CEO MeatWise Int.

Dr Geoff Mackey, UK Head, Plastics Europe

Professor L Alan Winters, Co-Director, Centre for Inclusive Trade Policy

Stephen Kinsella OBE, Legal Consultant

Tamara Cincik, CEO, Fashion Roundtable

Professor Nigel Driffield,Professor of international business

Carol Griffiths, Director, Powering Partnerships

Dr. Charles Rose, Chair, Hainsford

Dr Nicholas P George, Numismatic Consultant

David Henig, Expert Adviser, UK Trade and Business Commission

Steve Brambley, Chief Executive, GAMBICA

Stephen Gosling, Chair

Vicky Pryce, Professor

Karin Goodburn, Company Director

Maurice Greig, Senior Partner

Simon Morgan, Company Director Tour Operator

David Hellyar, Chairman

Jackie Piper, Director

Chris Moore, CEO

Colin Williams, Company Director