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Sainsbury’s and several others have ditched the CBI following more sexual harassment allegations

Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Marks & Spencer have all “paused” their relationship with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) after more sexual harassment allegations emerged on Friday. 

The scandal has pushed many of the biggest names in British business to ditch the lobby group including John Lewis, Unilever, and British American Tobacco.

The CBI has been embroiled in sexual harassment claims after The Guardian first reported a member of staff was allegedly raped by a manager at a company event in 2019.

On Friday, a second woman came forward claiming to have been assaulted by two male colleagues while working at the CBI’s overseas offices.

Soon after, Asda told the Grocer it was “aware that further allegations have been made against the CBI and has decided to pause our engagement with them while these are investigated”.

An M&S spokesperson said: “We have paused our membership of the CBI while these allegations are investigated.”

BAT said: “Following recent developments, we have paused our engagement with the CBI.”

A number of others have said they are suspending activity with the CBI, which claims to represent more than 190,000 businesses.

“Due to the further very serious and ongoing allegations made relating to the CBI, we have decided to end our membership with immediate effect,” said a JLP spokeswoman.

A Unilever spokesperson said: “Due to the very serious and ongoing allegations, we can confirm that we have suspended our membership of the CBI.”

The government has also suspended engagement with the group.

Law firm Fox Williams is currently conducting an investigation into both allegations which are also now under investigation by the City of London Police.

CBI’s President Brian McBride said in a statement the latest allegations were “abhorrent”.

”Our hearts go out to any women who have been victims of the behaviour described.

”While the CBI was not previously aware of the most serious allegations, it is vital that they are thoroughly investigated now and we are liaising closely with the police to help ensure any perpetrators are brought to justice.”