Brexit briefing: CBI boss warns against 'severe' no-deal Brexit

Carolyn Fairbairn said a no-deal Brexit would have "severe" effects on British business

Friday, May 31, 2019

The CBI's director-general has warned Conservative leadership hopefuls against a no-deal Brexit, claiming the damage to British business would be "severe".

In an open letter to the leadership contenders, Carolyn Fairbairn said an agreement must be reached with Brussels as the "vast majority of firms can never be prepared for no deal".

And she said the next Prime Minister must listen to "clear, detailed evidence" from businesses when deciding on their Brexit approach.

"We need compromise, consensus and honesty to resolve the Brexit impasse, quickly," Ms Fairbairn wrote. "Prolonged uncertainty is damaging our economy now - driving up costs and reducing sales."

"The CBI urges the next Prime Minister to build their approach to Brexit from the bottom up - from the clear, detailed evidence of firms, on the ground, managing the day-to-day implications for jobs."

She continued: "Only then will the UK have the foundations for a world beating economy."

Esther McVey, who was one of the first to declare her leadership bid, has previously said the UK must "embrace" a no-deal Brexit, while Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab have both said they would work to renegotiate the terms on offer with Brussels but would make sure the UK leaves on October 31, with or without an agreement.

And today former chief whip Mark Harper launched his leadership bid.

Mr Harper, who campaigned for Remain in 2016, suggested a further delay to Brexit beyond October 31 could be needed if the next Prime Minister wants to renegotiate theBrexit deal - something some of his rivals have already ruled out.

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