The chairman of the Confederation of British Industry in the South West has this week slammed members of the region's business community who back calls for Britain to leave the European Union as "stark, staring bonkers".
Quoted in a lengthy article on the Western Morning News this week
, Graham Cole, who is also chairman of Yeovil-based helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland, has urged the Westcountry's business community to put aside any personal views they have about Europe and to focus instead on trading with the continent.
"I have my own personal views about Europe but the idea that, as a region, and group of businesses you can develop and, at the same time, run a strategy that indicates that you would be prepared to come out Europe... I go all over the world and that's stark, staring bonkers," he said.
The CBI is calling for the debate
on Europe to focus on credible options for the UK's future relationship with the EU, warning that half-way house models such as Norway and Switzerland (trading partnerships where the country is subject to all EU trade rules without having a say in how they are formulated) are not the answer.