Badenoch says no

CBI struggling for minister to address conference

Kemi Badenoch
Diary clash: Kemi Badenoch

Business lobby group, the CBI, is struggling to sign up a senior government minister to address its annual conference just a few weeks before the event takes place.

Kemi Badenoch, the UK Business Secretary, is understood to have turned down an invitation to speak at the organisation’s set-piece event.

It deals another blow to its efforts to rebuild its reputation following a sexual misconduct scandal which triggered an exodus of corporate members.

According to Sky News, Ms Badenoch’s officials have told the CBI that diary clashes in the run-up to next month’s autumn statement will prevent her from addressing the summit in central London.

Rain Newton-Smith, who replaced the sacked director general Tony Danker, met the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, last week in what was the first meeting between the CBI and a senior minister since the crisis.

The CBI declined to comment specifically on Ms Badenoch’s invitation, but last month said its conference would bring businesses together for an event later this year that “aims to set the economic agenda ahead of a pivotal election for the country.”

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