Prime minister Theresa May announced that she will engage with businesses during the next phase of Brexit negotiations, as she unveiled her “Plan B” to MPs today.
After her Brexit deal was overwhelmingly rejected by parliament last week, May was forced to come back to Parliament with an alternative proposal by Monday 21 January.
May said she will meet with businesses, MPs, trade unions and civil society representatives to develop proposals so that she can try and find the “broadest consensus” regarding the next phase of negotiations on leaving the EU.
May said: “This new phase of negotiation will be different in a number of ways. It will cover a far broader range of issues in greater depth and so will require us to build a negotiating team that draws on the widest expertise available, from trade negotiators, to security experts and specialists in data and financial services. And as we develop our mandate across each of these areas I want to provide reassurance to the House that given the breadth of the negotiations we will seek input from a wide range of voices from outside government.
“We will reach out beyond this House and engage more deeply with businesses, civil society and unions”.
The government is tabling an amendable motion today that will be voted on by MPs on 29 January, before being negotiated with the EU and then voted on again by the UK Parliament next month.
Responding to the ‘Plan B’ statement made today Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said that “parliamentary games” risk a disastrous no-deal Brexit.
“For all the parliamentary games over the last couple of months, we appear to be little closer to a solution, ready to be implemented before 30 March, that ensures frictionless, tariff-free trade with the EU. And while parliament remains fractured, the retail industry is united in saying that a no deal Brexit would be disastrous for both business and the public. If we want to avoid higher prices and less choice on the shelves, then parliament must take steps to ensure we avoid a no deal scenario at all costs.
“While we welcome the prime minister’s offer of engaging with business groups, the first priority must be to ensure we have an agreement that can get us to a transition period.”