Crisis averted – now end the chaos: Business reacts to second Brexit extension

The second delay to Brexit must be used to end the “chaos” facing the country, business leaders have urged.

Westminster was warned of a “disaster” for confidence in the UK if MPs squander the next six months and fail to find a resolution before the new Halloween deadline.

The extension to Article 50 agreed by Theresa May with fellow EU leaders removed the threat of a no-deal Brexit on Friday, but did not remove it as a potential outcome completely.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, tweeted: “This new extension means imminent economic crisis has been averted, but it needs to mark a fresh start.

“For the good of jobs and communities across the country, all political leaders must use the time well. Sincere cross-party collaboration must happen now to end this chaos.”

Dr Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said businesses will be relieved, “but their frustration with this seemingly endless political process is palpable”.

“For most businesses, the ‘flextension’ agreed by the European Council will be preferable to deadlines that are repeatedly moved forward at the last possible moment,” he said in a statement.

“This extension buys Parliament some time to come to a consensus, but they can’t afford to squander it. Politicians must urgently agree on a way forward.

“It would be a disaster for business confidence and investment if a similar late-night drama is played out yet again in October.

“Our businesses and our communities need answers to plan for the future, and the Government must return its focus to pressing domestic issues, which have been ignored or marginalised for too long.

“In the event that the Withdrawal Agreement is passed by Parliament, businesses need a clear timetable and fair warning of the UK’s planned exit date, particularly those trading in countries where the UK has not yet finalised much-needed trade continuity agreements.”