Business groups react to draft Brexit deal

Business groups have reacted to the government's draft Brexit deal with the EU.

Following a five-hour debate on the matter, Prime Minister Theresa May secured her Cabinet's backing for the deal. However, a handful of MPs have resigned following the agreement, with some stating that they cannot support the draft deal, including Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, Shailesh Vara, and Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.

Commenting on the deal, Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: 'The UK has had many months of discussion and division. A long journey still lies ahead, but now is the time for decisions. And the first decision is to avoid no deal.'

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said that the deal is a 'welcome step back' from the 'no deal cliff edge'. Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, commented: 'Many small businesses will be relieved to finally see some progress being made.

'If this deal passes Parliament, small businesses will be given the security of a transition period which will allow them to carry on operating as they do now from 29 March 2019 until at least the end of 2020.'

Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) stated that firms need 'clarity and precision' on the terms of trade. Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: 'Businesses will be looking carefully and deliberately at the real-world implications of this agreement over the coming days, and expect their elected representatives to do the same.'

Providing nothing 'extraordinary' happens, the EU will hold an 'emergency' summit on 25 November, in order to 'finalise and formalise' the deal.