Top Tory MPs urge Theresa May to listen to business ahead of crunch Brexit meeting

Posted On: 
5th July 2018

A group of top Tory MPs have urged Theresa May to heed the warnings of businesses ahead of a critical Brexit meeting of the Cabinet tomorrow.

A number of big businesses have warned the Government over the slow progress of the Brexit negotiations
PA Images

Forty-six Conservative MPs, including 11 former cabinet ministers, wrote to the Prime Minister calling on her not to ignore the voice of business ahead of tomorrow’s crunch cabinet meeting at Chequers to discuss the post-Brexit deal Britain hopes to get from Brussels.

In the letter, obtained by the Financial Times, the MPs say that they are “united in the Conservative belief in enterprise and support our businesses large and small".

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They add: "The Conservative Party’s commitment to UK businesses, of all sizes and in all sectors has never been, and should never be, in doubt.

"Companies which are profitable and create jobs pay both significant business taxes and personal taxes and their employees do too – all of which help to fund our vital public services."

And in a bid to pile pressure on the Prime Minister, the MPs highlight a recent poll showing that pro-enterprise policies are among the strongest held values of grassroots Tory members.

They add: “That is why we want to urge you to listen to the voice of business now, as you lead the discussion with Cabinet about the UK’s future relationship with the EU. We all have a real interest in ensuring the UK agrees the best possible Brexit deal.”

The group, including former home secretary Amber Rudd, ex-international aid secretary Andrew Mitchell and former trade minister Mark Garnier, says any deal that failed to address the concerns of business would “miss the point”.

The comments come after Boris Johnson was reported to have said “f*** business” at a Foreign Office reception following comments from big business that they could be forced to relocate their operations in the event of a bad Brexit deal.

This morning carmaker Jaguar Land Rover heaped further pressure on the Government with a warning that 40,000 jobs in the UK could be put at risk if ministers fail to thrash out an acceptable customs deal with the EU.

“A bad Brexit deal would cost Jaguar Land Rover more than £1.2bn profit each year," the firm said.

“As a result, we would have to drastically adjust our spending profile.

“We have spent around £50bn in the UK in the past five years, with plans for a further £80bn more in the next five."