Brexit disruption won’t end when we leave, warns Major
Former PM speaks to Yorkshire businesses
THE UNITED Kingdom and its businesses face disruption and uncertainty for “a long time” after Brexit even if Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement is approved by MPs, former Prime Minister John Major has warned.
Sir John warned that the outcome of Brexit “could scarcely be more uncertain” as he spoke in Yorkshire ahead of the crucial vote on Tuesday, which could prompt a constitutional crisis if the Commons rejects the deal over the terms of the country’s exit from the European Union.
Downing Street yesterday sent dozens of Ministers around the country in a bid to win over public opinion in favour of the Prime Minister’s deal, including Tory chairman Brandon Lewis who met staff at family-run Heck Foods in North Yorkshire.
And as senior Conservatives suggested Mrs May should consider pushing back Tuesday’s vote to give her more time to win concessions from Europe, she answered questions from readers of
The Yorkshire Post about the impact of Brexit on their lives.
She told The Yorkshire Post: “The people of Yorkshire voted to leave the EU and I truly believe the Brexit deal is the right one for you – taking back control of our money, borders and laws.
“But whichever way you voted, I believe now is the time for us all to come together as a country, as we look to the future.”
Sir John, who served as Prime Minister between 1990 and 1997 and has been a vocal opponent of Brexit, told the Yorkshire Business Awards at the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds yesterday: “Life for business is never easy during times of uncertainty.
“Whether one is in favour of Brexit or not, and I emphatically am not, let there be no doubt about that. It will disrupt and be unsettling for our country and its business community for a long time. It isn’t going to go away after next Tuesday or after March 29.
“It will be around a long time. And the outcome at present could scarcely be more uncertain.” Meanwhile, writing in The
Yorkshire Post today, former Labour Home Secretary and Yorkshire MP David Blunkett warned those preparing to vote against the Prime Minister’s deal that they would need to “get real” to deal with the resulting chaos if the agreement is rejected.
The ex-Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP said the country “deserves better than the manoeuvrings of the moment” and added: “I regret that the transition deal is not better but Theresa May, who may well be sacrificed once an agreement has been ratified, will be remembered more kindly in years to come than anyone at the moment can envisage.
“And if I’m wrong? Well tell me which of the alternatives will succeed? When and with whom at the helm? And who has the statecraft and the stature to carry it through?”
BUSINESSES SHOULD make “their views swiftly” known regarding the impact of Brexit before it is too late, former Prime Minister Sir John Major has warned.
Speaking at the Yorkshire Business Awards at the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds, Sir John said the impact of Britain’s departure from the European Union would be felt on a long-term basis and entrepreneurs should campaign for what they need to survive and grow before the process takes place.
Sir John, who served as Conservative Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997, told the audience that Brexit would continue to cause and create uncertainty for the foreseeable future and that it would not end come March 29.
“Life for business is never easy during times of uncertainty,” he said.
“The only plea I make today is for business to examine the reality of what lies ahead and make their views swiftly known. Because once the decisions are taken it will be too late. Brexit is not an interlude, Brexit is probably for good.”
Sir John, who along with his fellow former Prime Ministers David Cameron, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown campaigned for Remain, has been a been a strident critic of both the decision to leave the EU and the politicians who led the campaign in recent years.
Speaking in Leeds after attending the funeral service of former US President George Bush senior on Wednesday, Sir John said: “We have been led to a rupture with the richest free trade market in history by decades of misinformation and misunderstanding.
“For all our sakes, now is the moment to be crystal clear about what is in our national interest.”
His views found a once unlikely backer in former Labour Home Secretary Lord Blunkett.
Receiving the Bobby Caplin Award for excellence, Lord Blunkett, a former MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, told the audience that he agreed with Sir John’s views.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post prior to his speech, he said: “I regret that we are where we are, and that the deal is not as good as anyone would wish. But we are leaving on March 29, time is literally running out.
“Unless you believe there is going to be a second referendum, and I don’t think there is going to be one, or you are in favour of crashing out without a deal – and that would be catastrophic – then we have got to reach an accord with each other.”
Lord Blunkett also predicted there was a strong chance a deal could be finalised even if Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals are voted down in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
“There is no question that the Government’s proposals are going to be defeated on Tuesday and there will almost certainly be a motion of no confidence. I think that will be defeated, the DUP are not going to vote to put Labour into power. And therefore after Christmas people are just going to have to get real. In Yorkshire, we say it as it is and in the end there has got to be a deal.”
When asked for his thoughts on the Brexit stance adopted by the current Labour Party, Lord Blunkett said: “I think Keir Starmer, Paul Blomfield and the team are playing a very clever and canny hand in the sense that they have managed to keep their party involved. But the crunch will be coming very quickly following the vote of no confidence. Labour will have to come to terms with the reality, there will have to be a deal.”
The only plea I make today is for business to examine the reality of what lies ahead and make their views swiftly known. Because once the decisions are taken it will be too late. Former prime minister Sir John Major speaking in Leeds.
CONCERNS: Sir John Major told the Yorkshire Business Awards that Brexit would be unsettling for ‘a long time’.
CALL TO ACTION: Sir John Major raised the alarm at the Yorkshire Business Awards night, where he was backed by former home secretary David Blunkett.