UK Slims Davos Presence As Politicians And Executives Bow Out
Britain is sending a slimmed down delegation to Davos this year as the prime minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and a number of major UK business leaders give the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the Swiss alps a miss.
(Bloomberg) -- Britain is sending a slimmed down delegation to Davos this year as the prime minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and a number of major UK business leaders give the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the Swiss alps a miss.
Major UK business leaders not joining this year include the bosses of Barclays Plc, HSBC Plc, NatWest Group Plc, AstraZeneca Plc and GlaxoSmithKline. The bosses of oil majors BP Plc and Shell Plc will be there but keeping a low profile.
The UK’s two most senior politicians have decided to stay home to focus on the “people’s priorities,” according to a government official. Kemi Badenoch, the international trade secretary, and Grant Shapps, the business secretary, will be attending.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is struggling to come to grips with strikes that are halting public services from railways to the National Health Service. Most forecasters say the UK economy is already in a recession that will last until 2024 after inflation hit the highest in four decades, sparking the worst cost-of-living crisis in memory.
The absence of the prime minister and chancellor has provided an opening for the opposition Labour Party, which is sending its two biggest leaders.
Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, and Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, will meet counterparts and investors in a bid to raise Labour’s profile as a government in waiting. More than 2,700 politicians, executives, investors, bankers, and academics will be in Davos next week.
Under former Labour Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, the UK fielded a strong presence at Davos as it sought to cement itself as a leading player on the world stage. However, the event is most notable for gathering the elite of politics, economics and business.
In 2020, shortly after becoming prime minister, Boris Johnson banned his cabinet from attending, having described Davos seven years earlier as “a great big constellation of egos involved in massive mutual orgies of adulation.”
Despite his 2013 comments, Johnson did attend that year, and his chancellor Sajid Javid did fly in to represent the UK in 2020.
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