Business leaders today ramped up their campaign for the UK government to take a soft approach to Brexit. They want the UK to remain inside both the EU´s single market and customs union during a transitional phase.
With the government appearing fragile following last month´s general election, business leaders were using a meeting with Brexit Secretary David Davis to hammer home their arguments for a soft Brexit.
Ahead of the meeting, the CBI adopted its most voracious argument since last year´s Brexit vote, calling for the UK to stay inside both the EU single market and customs union. It wants the UK to remain a member of both mechanisms until there is at least a fully comprehensive trade agreement in force.
The CBI claims that the UK is already suffering from the impact of cancelled or delayed business decisions as Brexit-related uncertainty continues.
“Instead of a cliff edge, the UK needs a bridge to the new EU deal. Even with the greatest possible goodwill on both sides, it’s impossible to imagine the detail will be clear by the end of March 2019. This is a time to be realistic,” said Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General.
With mounting scepticism that the UK will be able to agree a trade deal by the time Brexit negotiations end in March 2019, the CBI is effectively calling for the UK to make a transitional agreement with the EU beyond March 2019.
It wants such a deal to preserve the exact same rights that UK businesses currently exercise in trading with EU member states.
Brexit Secretary David Davis was today hosting a number of senior UK business leaders at his ceremonial country estate in Kent. Many of those attending were set to argue for a soft Brexit.
Along with leaders from pro-single market firms such as EasyJet, Tesco and BT, Davis was also set to face representatives from the CBI and manufacturers organisation EEF. The latter is also lobbying aggressively for a soft Brexit.