/Brexit finally sinks in for business bosses – ‘Have to acknowledge the political reality’

Brexit finally sinks in for business bosses – ‘Have to acknowledge the political reality’

Remainer business leaders have hailed Mr Johnson’s major ballot victory, which has given them a new faith in the democratic process of Brexit, and the notion that Britain will continue to flourish after the January 31 deadline. The Confederation of British Industry is scaling back its lobbying plans to push for reframed goals, the Daily Telegraph reports. Rain Newton Smith, the leading business group’s chief economist, said: “We have to look at the reality of where we are now.

“We used to talk about frictionless trade – that is not the world we’re in.

“We are not going to be a member of the single market and we are going to have a different system of immigration.

“As a service-oriented economy, being open to talent from around the world is a key part of that.

“But it is partly around short-term business travellers. We are moving away from a world of free movement of people, there is a big conversation to be had over free movement of workers.”


Bosses are abandoning their demands for Boris Johnson to scoop a frictionless trade deal (Image: GETTY)


Mr Johnson crushed Labour in the December election (Image: GETTY)

Ms Newton Smith’s comments are a dramatic shift in business leaders’ attitudes towards Brexit.

And they could not come at a better time, with the UK now 17 days away from leaving the bloc.

Ms Newton Smith added: “What do we want to see? Absolutely tariff-free trade.

“Ideally, we would be minimising rules of origin as much as possible, but at the moment the deal on the table includes frictions between and even within the UK market between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

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Remainer business leaders have hailed Mr Johnson’s major ballot victory (Image: GETTY)

“We have to acknowledge the political reality is there will be rules of origin.

“We’ve only just started to have a conversation about what sort of deal we want for services with the EU, and over the long term that is going to be one of the most important things – arguably more important for the UK than our relationship on goods. That is about the harmonisation of rules.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has demanded the EU complete a trade deal with the UK by the end of this year, despite the bloc hinting it may take longer.

Ursula von der Leyen, alongside other EU27 MEPs, have named Brexit as one of the three main challenges facing the EU over the next 6-12 months.

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She made the comments at a European Parliament debate this morning and said she believes the matter of Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc is “anywhere near done”.

It comes after her scepticism that 11 months is enough time to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal and has urged Boris Johnson to consider extending the transition period beyond December 31.

The EU chief said last week it would be “impossible” to reach a comprehensive trade deal by the end of 2020.

She said if the deadline was not extended it was not a case of “all or nothing”, but of priorities.

But the Prime Minister remains defiant and insists a Brexit extension will not be agreed.

Mr Johnson has told Ms von der Leyen he “wanted a positive new UK and EU partnership, based on friendly co-operation, our shared history, interests and values”, as well as a “broad free trade agreement covering goods and services, and cooperation in other areas”.

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