Businesses are losing patience with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding whether Britain will have a clean Brexit, Brexit-in-name-only, or no Brexit at all, as British europhiles and Brussels eurocrats push Theresa May to delay exit day.
UPDATE — 2 p.m.
Theresa May has given a press conference in Egypt in which said the next “meaningful vote” on a deal with the EU would take place “by” the 12th of March, declined to say whether she would sack Cabinet members and other ministers if they voted against her, and declined to say whether she would delay Brexit beyond March 29th or embark on a No Deal Brexit if the deal is defeated again. Original article continues below.
The Prime Minister’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union — which would not conclude a final relationship with the bloc, but only extend negotiations through a lengthy “transition” period with a so-called “backstop” to come into force automatically if no deal is struck — was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs, leaving the United Kingdom on course to walk out with No Deal on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms on March 29th.
Mrs May says it is still her intention to secure a deal of some description before that date, but the EU has shown little intention of compromising on the heavily one-sided agreement, leaving europhile politicians — who make up an overwhelming majority of May’s Cabinet, wider government, and parliamentarians as a whole — pressing her to delay exit day until June.
The EU itself, meanwhile, is apparently considering a delay all the way to 2021, according to three senior officials who spoke to Bloomberg.
I'm clear that I am going to deliver Brexit, I'm going to deliver it on time, that's what I'm going to do for the British public – I'll be negotiating hard in the coming days to do just that. pic.twitter.com/kaMJ8YtY4Q
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) February 7, 2019
Business, however, appears to have finally decided that derailing or watering down Brexit must finally take a back seat to simply biting the bullet and getting on with things one way or another, with the Institute of Directors complaining that a delay now would only “drag out uncertainty”.
“Businesses have lost all faith in the political process and as those first in the firing line of No Deal they deserve to know more,” said Edwin Morgan, the IoD’s interim director.
“There appears to be little realistic chance of a deal being agreed and the necessary legislation getting through by March 29,” he added — urging the Prime Minister to be “absolutely clear ahead of time what the Government’s next steps would be if the vote [on her deal] failed again.”
Mrs May has suggested the next “meaningful vote” on her deal with the EU — which may end up coming back before MPs virtually or even entirely unchanged from the last time, when it suffered a historic defeat — could be delayed to March 12th, barely a couple of weeks before exit day.
PM May Vows ‘Brexit on Time’ While Inner Circle Talk Up Brexit Delay https://t.co/KwvvlGNu6r
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 8, 2019