`Stop playing political games and brinkmanship with Brexit', business leaders warn MPs
MPS have been accused of playing "political games and brinkmanship" as business leaders expressed frustration and deep concern over last night's defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons.
Roger Pollen of the Federation of Small Business said the defeat "has further heightened uncertainty, with the next steps now unclear".
"For small businesses, they just want to know what economic environment they will face after March 29. A cliff-edge Brexit is in no one's interest, so despite tonight's setback an agreement must be reached to avoid it."
Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts said called for the British government to "take a new direction and seek a wider deal with Labour and other opposition parties... based upon a customs union and enhanced access to the single market".
"Crashing out of the EU without a deal would be disastrous for our retail sector, causing delays in the supply chain, food shortages and potential higher prices for consumers." he said.
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Aodhan Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said there was "frustration (that)... with less than 20 days to Brexit, Westminster still cannot agree a way forward and the political games and brinkmanship continue".
"Politicians of all shades must put people before politics and economics before ideology to find an agreement that can pass a vote. We need a deal."
The Ibec group representing Irish business said a long extension is needed to "avoid a `no deal' exit, safeguard the Good Friday agreement and allow the UK political system to reach agreement on a way forward".
Chief executive Danny McCoy said the risk of a `no deal' "has already cost Irish business millions".
"The ever-present risk of `no deal' economic chaos needs to be taken off the table. Business will need clarity and an extended transition period to adjust to any new EU-UK trading relationship."