A DORSET business leader has voiced disappointment after Boris Johnson was reported to have said “F*** business” amid criticism of the government’s Brexit stance.

The foreign secretary was said to have made the remark last week when asked about businesses’ concerns over a hard exit from the European Union.

Over the weekend, the UK boss of Siemens – which employs around 500 people in Poole – joined Airbus and BMW in warning against a hard-line Brexit policy.

That prompted health secretary Jeremy Hunt to condemn interventions as “inappropriate”.

Gill Donnell, chair of the Dorset branch of the Institute of Directors (IoD), said of Mr Johnson’s remarks: “Personally, I find it very disappointing that any leading politician would appear to have little regard for the genuine concerns over the potential impact of Brexit on businesses in the UK.

“As a leading voice of the UK business community, the IoD is currently working with policymakers in the hope that our combined efforts can result in the best deal for business in Britain. With more IoD members trading internationally than ever before, we want to minimise unnecessary disruption to commercial practices caused by the withdrawal, while also maximising the opportunities that may arise in the longer term.”

Sangeeta Khorana, professor of economics at Bournemouth University, said: “Certainty the direction of UK-EU relationship is vital for all businesses, and Airbus, BMW and Siemens are justified in seeking clarity to reduce disruption to their supply chains.”

She added: “Machinery and equipment comprises 39 per cent of total UK exports in 2016 and given the importance of these sectors in UK’s exports the possibility of BMW and Airbus moving out must be taken seriously.”

Simon Boyd, managing director of REIDsteel in Christchurch, which welcomed Mr Johnson during the 2016 referendum campaign, said: “When Boris Johnson visited REIDsteel during the EU referendum campaign I found him forthright, engaging and keenly interested in our business.

“If his recent comments were reported accurately, the suggestion is that he was referring to business lobby groups rather than entrepreneurs or individual businesses.

“Trade associations are not businesses. They are often disproportionately influenced by large companies and multi-nationals who would prefer to stay closely linked with the EU in their own vested interest rather than for the good of the UK.

“As a member of the CBI’s Manufacturing Council, I have been campaigning to convince the organisation of the necessity for a clean Brexit out of the single market, customs union and jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

“SMEs are the backbone of business in this country and have suffered more than most from the harmful and burdensome regulations emanating from Brussels.”

Ian Girling, chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that “after consideration I am going to remain tight-lipped on this one”.