London business demands Government stops the clock on Brexit to avoid crashing out
8 January 2019
London First, the business campaign group with over 200 of the capital’s leading employers in membership, is demanding the Government stops the clock on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to avoid the economic damage of leaving without a deal.
While the Withdrawal Agreement the Government reached with the EU last year was far from perfect, it was supported by London business as the only alternative to crashing out of the EU at the end of March. With the Government having cancelled a vote in Parliament because it did not have the votes to pass the Withdrawal Agreement in December and a meaningful vote next week looking increasingly likely to be defeated, London First is calling on the Government to stop the clock on Brexit if it loses or postpones the vote.
Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of London First said: “The political reality is that the agreement now looks unable to secure Parliamentary support and the country is left teetering on a cliff edge.
“Time has run out and continuing to head towards a no deal is irresponsible, irrational and risks further damage to jobs and growth.
“If we don’t have a deal next week, it’s time to stop the clock and revoke Article 50, so the Government can stop spending billions on last-ditch efforts to manage a no deal and instead come up with a plan that works.
“If such a plan cannot be found, the decision must go back to the people. Continued uncertainty is never welcome, but it will be vastly less damaging than crashing out of the EU.”
Recent research from London First revealed that just 41% of businesses feel they’ve been able to plan effectively for Brexit and that continued uncertainty is the overwhelming reason why businesses feel unprepared (79%)1.
London First argues that falling back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules would mean huge practical and logistical problems for UK companies and has been calling for a Brexit deal which retains the benefits of the customs union, safeguards the service sector and keeps the UK open to the talent and skills the UK economy needs.