BCC Urges Theresa May to Unite Her Party and Give Clarity on Brexit Ahead of War Committee

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One of the largest business groups in the United Kingdom has written to Theresa May, the Prime Minister, urging the Prime Minister to unite her party and finally give clarity over Brexit.

The British Chambers of Commerce have followed a chorus of voices that are demanding that the British Prime Minister make decisions regarding which path she will take on exiting the European Union, and “deliver a clear, unequivocal statement of intent” so businesses can include it into their planning. The demands were delivered before a Cabinet war committee meeting, which will occur for the next two days.

The letter was signed by Francis Martin, the BCC president, and Adam Marshall, the director general. It stated: “The perception amongst businesses on the ground, large and small alike, is one of continued division. Even amongst the many optimistic, future-oriented firms — those who see opportunity in change — patience is wearing thin. Directly-affected companies are poised to activate contingency plans. Many others, worryingly, have simply disengaged.”

The letter also said: “While the BCC has campaigned strongly in favour of a status-quo transition period, to give businesses time to plan for change, this transition must lead to a clear endpoint. There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions. The government must set out its plans.”

The said letter is just the latest call for the government to move, following Lord Hill, the former commissioner of the European Union, demanding that PM May get off the fence and choose continuity or growth – suggesting that she opt for the latter.

Last week, reports revealed that whips had been increasingly placating frustrated MPs with the pledge that a plan on post-Brexit trade and transition would be imminently revealed.

However, the message is not getting through.

Last night Anna Soubry, the former minister, informed the BBC that PM May risked dividing the party over Brexit, saying that the Prime Minister should stop being rail-roaded by some hardline Brexiters.

Below is the full letter of the BCC:

Dear Prime Minister,

As President and Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, we write today to make an urgent appeal for clarity on Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives at a critical moment in the UK’s negotiations with the European Union.

In Chamber business communities all across the United Kingdom, there are a range of views on the depth and breadth of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

As a consequence, the BCC has refrained from entering into the noisy political debate on the shape of the final settlement in recent weeks. We have instead emphasised the need for answers to the many practical questions businesses now face. Our aim has always been to maximise, not constrain, the government’s chances of success as ministers and the civil service work to secure the best possible deal for the UK.

Yet businesses need those elected to govern our country to make choices — and to deliver a clear, unequivocal statement of intent.

The perception amongst businesses on the ground, large and small alike, is one of continued division. Even amongst the many optimistic, future-oriented firms — those who see opportunity in change — patience is wearing thin. Directly-affected companies are poised to activate contingency plans. Many others, worryingly, have simply disengaged.

Clear UK negotiating objectives are crucial to both business and public confidence.

While the BCC has campaigned strongly in favour of a status-quo transition period, to give businesses time to plan for change, this transition must lead to a clear endpoint. There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions. The government must set out its plans.