CBI hopes to woo Kemi Badenoch to summit to underpin revival

The CBI hopes to persuade Kemi Badenoch to address its annual conference in November as part of the rehabilitation of what was for decades Britain's most influential business lobbying group.

Sky News understands the CBI is likely to invite the business secretary to the event on 20 November, which sources said would provide an opportunity for it to cement its recovery from the sexual misconduct crisis which threw its future into doubt.

The group, which last week confirmed it had secured financing from a syndicate of high street banks, informed members on Friday morning it would hold "the pivotal conference of the year" at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster.

Earlier media reports suggested the CBI had decided to scrap its annual conference.

The invitation did not disclose details of the speakers or agenda for the event.

A CBI spokeswoman said: "Given events earlier this year, we have naturally had to make adjustments to our normal programme of events and activities.

"However, we are bringing businesses together for an event later this year that aims to set the economic agenda ahead of a pivotal election for the country."

Sky News revealed earlier this month that the CBI had begun to rebuild its relationship with the government by organising a meeting with Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, in the lead-up to the autumn statement, which will be delivered two days after the CBI summit.

One insider suggested the CBI had decided not to try to secure either Mr Hunt or Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, to speak at its event.

Prime ministers have addressed the CBI's annual conference numerous times in the past.

It emerged several weeks ago that the CBI was in talks with Make UK, the manufacturers' body, about a tie-up that could have led to a full merger of the two groups.

Those talks have now been curtailed.

Established by royal charter in 1965, the CBI was rocked in the spring by the resignation of corporate members including Aviva, John Lewis Partnership and NatWest Group after allegations of sexual misconduct, including rape.

The crisis has drained the CBI's cash reserves, forcing it to slash jobs and close overseas offices.