Retailers “desperately need certainty” about the UK’s exit from the EU following the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, the British Retail Consortium has warned.
The Government suffered a bruising defeat in the Commons last night, losing the vote by 432 votes to 202.
May, who will now face a no-confidence vote, vowed to let Parliament debate other ideas including softer Brexit plans.
But industry bodies have called on the Government to provide clarity as soon as possible as the chances of a no-deal Brexit increase.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “The events in Westminster are cause for serious concern. A no deal Brexit means the public will face higher prices and less choice on the shelves.
“British businesses desperately need certainty about the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU and will be severely disadvantaged by a no deal.
“This really is crunch time and politicians must come together around a workable solution that safeguards consumers from the costs and disruptions of new constraints on the tariff-free and frictionless trade we currently enjoy with partners in the EU. The time for parliamentary games is over.”
The boss of the Federation of Food and Drink, Ian Wright, said: “The prime minister’s deal has been decisively rejected and it is now vital that the political leadership find a way to indicate what alternative should be pursued.
“We are calling for an extension to the transition period in order for parliament to decide what our next steps are; whether that is a new deal, a referendum, an orderly exit from the EU without a deal at a later date, or a general election.
“The Government should now be looking to speak with representative organisations such as the FDF, to ensure they are pursuing an alternative that prevents further damage to the UK’s wider economy.”
British Property Federation chief executive Melanie Leech added: “The Government must set out urgently its plan to find a solution that the country can rally behind. It is critical that the Government avoids the disruption and uncertainty posed by no deal.
“Leaving the EU with no withdrawal agreement would be harmful to investment and the property sector’s ability to deliver new homes, support economic growth, regenerate towns and cities and help increase productivity – all benefits to people and businesses across the UK that the sector is keen to contribute.”