Raymond Doherty 23 Jul 2019 04:25pm

Get us a Brexit deal, business tells PM Johnson

The wish list from UK business is long for new prime minister Boris Johnson, with a Brexit deal right at the top

Earlier today Johnson won a ballot of Conservative Party members to become PM, beating current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt comfortably. He takes over from Theresa May on Wednesday.

While mayor of London, 2008 to 2012, Johnson positioned himself as strongly pro-business; however, at an event last year he reportedly responded “f**k business” to questions about the needs of UK business in the wake of Brexit.

During his leadership campaign, his stance on Brexit – of which he was a chief architect – has been a promise that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October "do or die” and he is willing to accept a no-deal scenario. Business, in the main, wants to avoid this.

“Companies need to know, in concrete terms, what your government will do to avoid a messy, disorderly Brexit on 31 of October - which would bring pain to communities across the UK and disruption to our trade around the world,” said Adam Marshall, director general at the British Chambers of Commerce.

“Securing a pro-business EU withdrawal agreement that can command a majority in the House of Commons is task one for this new administration. Brexit has been absorbing government bandwidth for years now, leaving domestic challenges unaddressed,” added Federation of Small Businesses national chairman Mike Cherry.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, “needs” three things from the first 100 days on the new administration. “A Brexit deal that unlocks confidence; clear signals the UK is open for business; and a truly pro-enterprise vision for our country.

“On Brexit, the new prime minister must not underestimate the benefits of a good deal. It will unlock new investment and confidence in factories and boardrooms across the country. Business will back you across Europe to help get there,” said Fairbairn.
A report today from the International Monetary Fund found that no-deal Brexit ranks alongside US trade policy as one of the top threats to the world economy.