UK MPs have again voted against PM Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union (EU) after the deal was defeated in the House of Commons last night (Tuesday) by 149 votes.
MPs will now vote tonight today (13 March) on whether they support a no deal or not. If a no deal Brexit is voted against, they are set to vote tomorrow (14 March) on whether to seek an extension from the EU of Article 50.
As is stand the UK will leave the bloc with a no deal as it stands on 29 March and today the Department for International Trade has for the first time published tariffs in the event of a no deal. These can be read here.
This was the second time PM May’s deal was rejected by MPs as in January they voted against it by an even greater margin.
Reaction has come from the UK logistics, trade and business sectors and the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) head of global and European policy, Pauline Bastidon said the FTA has doubled down on its advice to logistics operators and importers and exporters to prepare for a no deal outcome.
She added: “As further debates and votes take place in the House of Commons over the coming days, FTA is advising those businesses responsible for keeping Britain trading to keep planning for the worst-case outcome for logistics and supply chains – a No Deal Brexit, in order that that raw materials, goods and services continue reach those who need them with limited delays.
“With only 13 working days left until the UK’s planned departure from the EU, time is running out to make these arrangements.”
Bastidon said managing to keep things going in the face of continuous uncertainty and the prospect of significant and sudden changes in regulatory requirements is not a menial task.
“Logistics and supply chain managers in the UK now face what is possibly their biggest challenge in almost a generation. The reintroduction of customs formalities and food safety checks for trade with the EU, the restrictions placed and red tape imposed on transport operators, and the significant cost of reorganizing the way we do logistics and manage supply chains should not be underestimated,” she said.
“The challenge for our members will be to turn sometimes incomplete government procedures into workable business processes to keep supply chains running in an efficient way – in less than 13 working days. This is not a trivial job, and the scale of the challenge should not be underestimated.”
CBI director general, Carolyn Fairbairn said “enough is enough” and “time for Parliament to stop the circus”.
She said: “Enough is enough. This must be the last day of failed politics. A new approach is needed by all parties. Jobs and livelihoods depend on it.
“Extending Article 50 to close the door on a March no-deal is now urgent. It should be as short as realistically possible and backed by a clear plan.
“Conservatives must consign their red lines to history, while Labour must come to the table with a genuine commitment to solutions.
“It’s time for Parliament to stop this circus.”