Frank McKenna, the Chief Executive of private sector lobby group and business networking club Downtown in Business, has backed calls for a ‘People’s vote’ on the final Brexit deal.
Following the publication of government documents on the implications of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit scenario, the former politician turned business owner said:
“It is clear that to walk away from the EU without a deal would be catastrophic. The Leave campaign promised us less bureaucracy. The realty will be more red tape. They promised wider access to global markets to our exporters. The reality is a shrinking of opportunity for those who sell abroad. They promised seamless trade with the EU. The reality is that ‘No Deal’ would leave us with less market access to the EU than Iceland, Ukraine, South Korea or Japan.
“I am at a loss as to how the government have got us to this point, but here we are. Having been crying out for some certainty of purpose so that we can plan for the future, the publication of these documents simply leaves business owners and entrepreneurs with their heads in their hands.”
“It was the Brexiteers who most wanted the government to prepare for no-deal. If their aim was to convince British business that no-deal was desirable, then they might wish now that they hadn’t been so keen.”
Mr McKenna continued:
“I am now more convinced than ever that Parliament will remain deadlocked on this issue. I cannot believe a no-deal proposal, with these implications, will be countenanced by the House, nor do I believe the alternatives being offered by Theresa May and her colleagues to the EU will be accepted.
“If we get to the point in March where MPs fail to get an agreement, then I see no viable solution beyond a people’s vote to move the country forward.
“If I were as wealthy as some of those advocating the ‘jump- off- a- cliff- edge’ option than perhaps I’d be happy to gamble on Brexit delivering benefits in fifty years’ time. However, for many Downtown members and their employees, the health of the short and medium- term economy is of far greater a priority.”