Business leaders have called on the government to offer an “iron-clad guarantee” that the UK will not leave the European Union without a deal, following a weekend of further delays to the Brexit process.
Over the weekend, MPs voted through an amendment which delayed a meaningful vote on prime minister Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal, and forced him to send a letter to the EU requesting an extension beyond the 31 October deadline.
The vote is now expected to take place on 21 or 22 October.
Adam Marshall, director general of the business representative body British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The onus is on the government to answer the many questions businesses are posing on the prime minister’s deal – and its potential impact on trade, investment, communities and jobs.
“At such a critical moment in the process, the government must give business an iron-clad guarantee that it will not seek to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31 October. Getting a Brexit deal is far more important than simply getting it done.”
Marc Bunch, EY’s lead on Brexit and international trade, told The Sunday Times: “There’s an audible sigh across many quarters of business. The majority may want to remain in the EU, but they have deadline fatigue and will strongly question parliament’s decision.
“Prolonged uncertainty is damaging bottom lines and investment decisions — businesses need a clear outcome either way.”
The value of the pound dipped slightly against the dollar as markets opened on the morning of 21 October. The first chance for markets to respond since Saturday’s vote. The pound dropped 0.6% against the dollar and 0.4% against the euro - a more muted response than had been expected by many analysts. On Friday, the pound had been trading at its highest level for five months.