Business leaders from Northern Ireland to address MPs on Brexit deal

Women in Business hosted Secretary of State Karen Bradley in Belfast for a discussion on issues including politics, education and Brexit
Rebecca Black, Press Association

BUSINESS and civic leaders from Northern Ireland are set to address MPs on Theresa May's EU withdrawal deal.

Representatives from organisations including Manufacturing NI, NI Meat Exporters Association and the Ulster Farmers' Union will be met by Secretary of State Karen Bradley.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Ms Bradley said she hopes they can impress upon MPs the importance to Northern Ireland of the United Kingdom securing a Brexit deal with the European Union.

Companies based in the region sold £14.4 billion of goods and services to Britain in 2017, making a significant contribution to the overall UK economy.

Mrs May's withdrawal deal has sparked opposition from across the political spectrum at Westminster, including Northern Ireland's biggest political party the DUP.

However, pro-Remain parties in the north have been supportive and many business leaders have also said it is preferable to a no-deal scenario.

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Ms Bradley has insisted the deal "sets Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK on course for a better future outside the EU".

She said: "I have been speaking to as many MPs as I can this week to explain the benefits of this deal, and I hope as many as possible will now make time to come along and meet some of the people who will be affected most directly by Brexit.

"This means some great opportunities, with bespoke trade deals and the freedom to spend our taxpayers' money on our own priorities, as well as some severe risks if we leave with no deal.

"I hope that once they have heard about the opportunities and risks first-hand, MPs will realise that this deal delivers for the whole of the United Kingdom."

Meanwhile, some of Northern Ireland's most influential business women have amet Mrs Bradley to discuss issues including Brexit, education and politics.

Women in Business hosted the Secretary of State for a round table discussion in Belfast.

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