CBI president urges politicians to 'urgently' decide UK's Brexit future

Prime Minister Theresa May speaking at the CBI annual conference. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaking at the CBI annual conference. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

A business leader has issued a fresh warning about the impact on the business industry warning that the country has been "circling the same Brexit roundabout for months."

John Allan, the president of the CBI, has said that firms have been watching a series of parliamentary votes, hearing the same arguments over and over again.

“We’ve been circling the same Brexit roundabout for months, but at some point, we need to find a way forward, and it looks like we’re down to two choices.

“We can take the prime minister’s path. A deal that delivers tariff-free trade and transition. It’s not perfect, but we can work with it.

“And then there’s the other choice on the table. More delay. More circling. Perhaps only to be flung off a steeper cliff in the summer.”

He said if politicians did not back Theresa May’s deal it needed to “urgently” find an alternative to avoid more delay.

No deal could lead to up to 8% off economic output in the long term, according to the IMF, leaving the UK a poorer, less competitive country, said Mr Allan.

He added: “Firms would take delay over that, but what’s keeping businesses up at night is the risk that delay still leads to that bad outcome.

“Delay won’t unite a divided Parliament. Delay won’t build a consensus for the future.

“So our message to politicians is clear. Unite around the prime minister’s deal. Or unite around something else, urgently.

“Something the EU will agree to and that works for the economy. Then let’s move on to the future negotiations.”

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