MPs vote for an extension to Brexit process – industry reaction
In a bid to avoid any no-deal scenario, MPs voted by a majority of one last night to force Prime Minister Teresa May to ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit process.
The bill, which was put forward by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, was passed by the Commons in just one day and will need to be approved by the Lords before it becomes law. It will still be for the EU27 to decide to grant any extension to the UK.
The Prime Minister had met Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn earlier in the day with the two leaders trying to find agreement on a way forward. Talks were described as constructive, Corbyn however also said they were inconclusive. A full day of talks are scheduled for today [Thursday 4th April] to see if May and Corbyn can agree a Brexit plan to put to a vote in the House, ahead of an emergency EU summit planned for 10th April.
If they cannot agree, the Prime Minister has previously pledged to put a number of options to a vote, including her deal negotiated with the EU, which has already been rejected by MPs.
Labour’s Yvette Cooper’s attempts to prevent a no-deal departure from the EU, passed by 313 votes to 312, although it faced significant opposition from Tory Brexiteers.
Commenting on the ongoing situation, Andrew Kuyk CBE, the director general of the PTF said: “Politicians on all sides seem to be suffering from some kind of collective psychosis of delusion and denial at the moment. The current talks should have started weeks ago and now risk being too little too late.
“The EU27 must be looking on in bewilderment as we let deadline after deadline slip by. What few seem to realise is that we are still in a negotiation with Brussels, not just ourselves. Agreement on our terms, whatever they may turn out to be, cannot be taken for granted at next week’s emergency summit. These are dangerous times, with enormous real world consequences for people and businesses across Europe.”
Meat industry comment came from Ian Stevenson, the LMC Chief Executive in Northern Ireland who said: “Filmed in Northern Ireland, the new series of Line of Duty has just started on our TV Screens. It almost feels like we need an inside man to infiltrate the corridors of power to shed some light on the control of the UK Brexit strategy.
“What is certain is that our beef and sheep meat industry continues to look on in amazement at the deep divisions within Parliament in Westminster, but hopefully what is emerging from the ether is a steady move away from an unacceptable and damaging no deal Brexit.
“Our industry needs certainty and clarity to inform business decisions and supply chain planning, but this is becoming ever more difficult the longer we go without a clearly defined path ahead”.
Katie Doherty of IMTA added: “On the Thursday before 29th of March I remember the great anticipation about whether the European Council would agree to an extension, just over a week away.
“It feels slightly like deja vu, the Thursday before the 12th of April exit date, but this time the Council meeting is much closer to the wire and the indications from Juncker and Barnier are, thus far, that an extension would not be acceptable.
“They emphasise the need to get the withdrawal agreement through parliament or else the UK leaves on the 12th of April with no deal. The pressure is on for May and Corbyn to find some kind of consensus in their talks, but it is very late in the day for cross-party talks to have finally started. This state of seeming perpetual uncertainty is not helpful to the industry.”