The crisis at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) deepened over the weekend as retailers joined other businesses in cutting ties amid calls the lobbying group should be disbanded. 

The likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and DIY giant Kingfisher all cut ties with the organisation over the weekend, joining the likes of discounter Lidl and supermarket chain Asda.

Tech giants such as Meta and Uber have also suspended their membership, as have FMCG giant Unilever and retail landlords such as The Crown Estate and British Land.

Over the weekend, business leaders called for the group to be disbanded after further allegations emerged about its culture.

One said the CBI’s “extraordinary culture” made it “nigh-on impossible” for it to continue representing businesses, while another said it had “probably run its course” after a “tsunami of resignations”.

The crisis intensified when newspapers such as The Guardian published a series of accounts from more than a dozen women claiming they had been victims of sexual misconduct by male colleagues at the CBI, including two women who said they had been raped.

The latest allegation on Friday led to more than 50 of Britain’s largest businesses quitting or suspending engagement with the CBI.

On Saturday, Retail Week founder and former Barclays non-executive director Lady Patience Wheatcroft said: “It’s very hard to see that [the CBI] has a positive future.

“This organisation has presided over the most extraordinary culture by the sound of it,” she added.

“It’s very hard to imagine an organisation where not one but two allegations of rape are now being investigated, and I think it makes it nigh-on impossible for the CBI to do the job that it’s there to do.

“I think it’s time for a total rethink, not just by the CBI of what it does, but a rethink of how business is represented and lobbies government.

“The CBI is having to accept itself that it was clearly deeply flawed and now it’s looking for a new sense of direction… they probably need to disband.”

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