BCC demands that Theresa May unite her party and deliver clarity on Brexit ahead of war committee

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May is hosting a two-day Cabinet war committee on Brexit (Source: Getty)

One of the UK's largest business groups has written to the Prime Minister urging her to unite the party and finally deliver clarity over Brexit. 

The British Chambers of Commerce have joined a chorus of voices demanding that Theresa May make decisions about which path she will take on exiting the EU, and "deliver a clear, unequivocal statement of intent" so that businesses can factor it into their planning. It was delivered ahead of a Cabinet war committee meeting, which will run for the next two days.

The letter, signed by BCC president Francis Martin and director general Adam Marshall, said: "The perception amongst businesses on the ground, large and small alike, is one of continued division. Even amongst the many optimistic, future-oriented firms — those who see opportunity in change — patience is wearing thin. Directly-affected companies are poised to activate contingency plans. Many others, worryingly, have simply disengaged."

It added: "While the BCC has campaigned strongly in favour of a status-quo transition period, to give businesses time to plan for change, this transition must lead to a clear endpoint. There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions. The government must set out its plans."

This is just the latest call for the government to act, following former EU commissioner Lord Hill demanding that May get off the fence and pick continuity or growth - suggesting she opt for the latter.

Last week, City A.M. revealed that whips have been placating increasingly frustrated MPs with the promise that a plan on transition and post-Brexit trade would be revealed imminently.

However, that message is not getting through.

Last night former minister Anna Soubry told the BBC that May risked splitting the party over Brexit, saying the Prime Minister should stop being rail-roaded by a handful of hardline Brexiters

See the full letter below

Dear Prime Minister,

As President and Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, we write today to make an urgent appeal for clarity on Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives at a critical moment in the UK’s negotiations with the European Union.

In Chamber business communities all across the United Kingdom, there are a range of views on the depth and breadth of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

As a consequence, the BCC has refrained from entering into the noisy political debate on the shape of the final settlement in recent weeks. We have instead emphasised the need for answers to the many practical questions businesses now face. Our aim has always been to maximise, not constrain, the government’s chances of success as ministers and the civil service work to secure the best possible deal for the UK.

Yet businesses need those elected to govern our country to make choices — and to deliver a clear, unequivocal statement of intent.

The perception amongst businesses on the ground, large and small alike, is one of continued division. Even amongst the many optimistic, future-oriented firms — those who see opportunity in change — patience is wearing thin. Directly-affected companies are poised to activate contingency plans. Many others, worryingly, have simply disengaged.

Clear UK negotiating objectives are crucial to both business and public confidence.

While the BCC has campaigned strongly in favour of a status-quo transition period, to give businesses time to plan for change, this transition must lead to a clear endpoint. There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions. The government must set out its plans.