22 November 2018


Theresa May continues to defend her Brexit deal

Theresa May renewed her efforts to pitch her Brexit deal at the CBI’s Annual Conference on Monday. The CBI continues to back progress on the deal and wants to move on quickly to technical talks, avoiding no deal.

Theresa May continues to defend her Brexit deal

Last Wednesday, UK and EU negotiators reached a draft agreement on the Withdrawal Agreement, which defines the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU.  After heated Cabinet discussions and ministerial resignations, Theresa May used her platform at the CBI’s Annual Conference on Monday to defend her plan; stating it preserves the union, protects jobs and secures transition for business.

This is the first hurdle in a lengthy process the Prime Minister faces to ratify the deal in UK and EU parliaments before the UK leaves in March 2019. Having consulted with its Chairs’ Committee, a group of senior business leaders who inform CBI policy, the CBI has been clear that while the deal is not perfect, it represents progress, securing a jobs first transition and removing the dangerous precipice of no deal.

Significantly, this deal opens a route to securing a deal based on frictionless trade in goods, ambitious access for services and a say over the rules.

Read the CBI’s full reaction to the draft agreement

As events develop, the CBI will be talking to Government to keep up to date with developments and ensure the voice of business continues to be heard above the political noise. We will also be in close contact with our political and business contacts in Brussels, particularly our Irish counterparts IBEC and other European sister federations, to ensure businesses across Europe are united against the threat of a no deal.

On Sunday, there is an emergency European Council Summit where EU leaders will meet to formally sign off the Withdrawal Agreement and the adjoining Political Declaration, setting out a framework for the future FTA the UK and EU will seek to negotiate once the UK has become a third country on 31st March 2018. Following this, a ‘meaningful vote’ is expected to be held in parliament on the 10th December. All eyes in Westminster are now closely following groups of rebellious Conservative MPs to see if they will back the deal, and a handful of Labour MPs who may rebel against their party whip and side with Theresa May. There is a significant amount of speculation as to what would happen were this vote lost.

The CBI will continue to monitor any developments and report back to members with the best analysis and insight available. The CBI will also keep members up to date on the Political Declaration as more information is released over the coming days.

The political and economic stakes could not be higher over the coming weeks.  The CBI would encourage individual businesses to speak to local MPs - regardless of individual Brexit views- to highlight the impact of no-deal on jobs and investment. If you would like more information or advice to use when talking to your local MP, please contact russsell.antram@cbi.org.uk.