Can consulting manage Brexit?
Home » News » May's defeat - reaction

May's defeat: business condemns political failure as no deal looms

Mrs May - meaningful vote

Hurtling to no deal. Staring down the barrel. Fog of uncertainty. Failure of politics. Activate contingency plans.......

There may be no agreement in Westminster but as the dust settles on Mrs May's historic defeat in last night's "meaningful vote", the views of consulting leaders, and of wider business and commerce, are pretty unanimous. We offer a selection below:

Andrew Gray, Head of Brexit at PwC:

"The result of today's meaningful vote shows that the certainty businesses are seeking is still out of reach. Until a way through can be found, it is important to remember that 'no deal' is the default outcome. Businesses in the UK and EU need to accelerate their no deal contingency plans. For those who haven't started implementing no deal actions, there are still steps they can take to minimise disruption. But the longer they leave it, the more difficult this will be.

"We're advising organisations to urgently activate their no deal plans, while still preparing for both a deal and no deal outcome. The time to act is now."

Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors:

"It is the collective failure of our political leaders that, with only a few weeks to go, we are staring down the barrel of no deal.

"As things stand, UK law says we will leave on 29th March, with or without a withdrawal agreement, and yet MPs are behaving as though they have all the time in the world — how are businesses meant to prepare in this fog of confusion?

"The clock is still ticking, and whatever the outcome of tomorrow's confidence vote, the reality is that MPs will still need to find a way to put aside their differences and come to an agreement.

"We are nearly two months out from leaving the EU, and firms still do not know basic information such as the processes they would need to comply with for day one of no deal. This alone makes letting the uncertainty carry on simply unacceptable."

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General:

"Every business will feel no deal is hurtling closer. A new plan is needed immediately. This is now a time for our politicians to make history as leaders. All MPs need to reflect on the need for compromise and to act at speed to protect the UK's economy."

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC:

"This crushing defeat shows that Theresa May is out of options. It's time to give the people the final say, whether through a general election or popular vote."

Share this article