EU

Business groups are feeling “exasperated” after MPs failed to vote in favour of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement last night (Tuesday).

Failure to approve May’s deal increases the risk of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, which the vast majority of businesses and business leaders agree would be disastrous. However, MPs will vote tonight on whether or not to rule out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

Business groups are calling on MPs to rule out that possibility and come up with a workable solution.

CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said: “It’s time for Parliament to stop this circus.”

Stephen Phipson, chief executive of manufacturers’ group Make UK, said: “It is now essential that Parliament brings the curtain down on this farce and removes the risk of no deal.

“That outcome would be disastrous for the UK manufacturing, jeopardising many thousands of jobs in every constituency in the land.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, the car industry’s trade body, said rejecting the Prime Minister’s deal leaves the UK “perilously close to the ‘cliff edge'”.

He added: “No-deal would be catastrophic for the automotive industry.

“It would end frictionless trade, add billions to the cost of manufacturing and cost jobs.

“UK automotive businesses will be put at immediate risk. Parliament must reject no-deal and take it permanently off the table.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said a no deal would “push up costs and reduce the choice on the shelves we currently enjoy”, adding that businesses are “exasperated by the lack of clarity over their future trading arrangements”.

She said: “Hundreds of ships are currently sailing towards Britain without a clear understanding of the tariffs, checks, or documentation requirements, they will face when they arrive.”