The CBI has launched its election manifesto with a calls put jobs first, and step back from a "no deal" Brexit

Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

The CBI has called on the next government to put jobs first in Brexit talks, and rule out exiting the EU on to default trading terms.

One of the UK's largest business groups, the CBI has today stressed that quitting Europe without a deal cannot be “plan B” for the government.

In a pre-election manifesto of demands published today, it said the next government must establish a long-term vision for the UK's economy.

Speaking to City A.M., CBI deputy director-general Josh Hardie said that businesses want to see “a clear focus” on the ability of firms to promote growth and prosperity.

He added that recent declarations on Brexit negotiations from both Downing Street and the likes of EU commission president Jean-Claude Junker represent an anticipated but “noisy” phase of talks.

“In that sense this isn't a surprise. But the more certainty businesses can have in the negotiations the better,” Hardie said.

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The CBI is also pushing back on Prime Minister Theresa May's refrain of “no deal is better than a bad deal”, asking ministers to commit to not leaving the EU on default World Trade Organisation terms.

“WTO rules would not be of benefit of us, but importantly, it's not in the interests of European business either. There's a shared interest in finding a good deal,” Hardie said.

“No deal should be Plan Z, rather than Plan B and understanding the economic implications of no deal is absolutely fundamental.”

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He added that the CBI's sister federations in Europe are helping to lay out the economic arguments for a deal with their local politicians “much more than they were before”.

“It's really helping them to refine what they believe success or not is,” Hardie said.

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