The UK’s newly elected Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has banned his ministers from attending the Davos world leaders’ summit in January 2020.
The Times newspaper of London reported a government source saying: “Our focus is on delivering for the people, not champagne with billionaires”.
The British Prime Minister has attended the annual summit at the luxury Swiss ski resort several times, including in his former capacity as Mayor of London where he networked heavily and made the most of the business opportunities to persuade business to invest in London.
In 2013 Johnson was quoted as saying of Davos: “For most politicians who want to big up their cities, as I do, it’s an important place to come”.
The Times article, 18 December, quoted an adviser of former Chancellor George Osborne, Rupert Harrison, saying the Davos ban would be counter-productive. “There’s nowhere you can make the case to more inward investors into the UK more efficiently,” said Harrison, now a portfolio manager at BlackRock investment management company.
Last year the UK booked one of the top advertising hoardings at Davos on the Hotel Belvedere which proclaimed: “Free Trade is Great”.
The Johnson ban is reminiscent of US President Donald Trump’s decision not to send his most senior officials to Davos in 2017. Trump’s transition team then briefed that attending the high-powered and celebrity conference would be a betrayal of his populist movement.
The Davos summit opens on 21 January, just 10 days before the UK is set to leave the European Union.
The Davos meeting was founded by the World Economic Forum.