Parties need to replace politics with people’s needs

Theresa May has the support of the business community if not the DUP
Theresa May has the support of the business community if not the DUP

Northern Ireland’s politicians should not turn their backs on the people they represent when a potentially beneficial Brexit deal is on the table, the head of industry body Retail NI has claimed.

Having waded through the 500-plus page document and after meetings with NIO and Cabinet Office officials in London, Glyn Roberts said the deal was by no means perfect but “preferable to the economic disaster of a no deal”.

“If this deal is not voted through the House of Commons then we face the chaos of the UK crashing out of the EU,” he said.

“We are satisfied that it gives protection to the vital retail supply chain and ensures businesses will have full and tariff free access to the UK and EU Single Markets”

As presented, he said Northern Ireland could potentially become a bridge to the EU offering the best of both worlds in a ‘win win’ scenario.

“Nearly every Northern Ireland business organisation and sector of the economy is supporting this deal. MPs in all parties need to listen to what we are saying”

“Our economy, future prosperity and people’s jobs must be put first before politics,” Mr Roberts added.

In Great Britain, the boss of Iceland Richard Walker also urged politicians to put aside personal ambitions and seal Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

The outspoken Richard Walker, MD of Iceland Foods, said there was “no other option” but to agree on the draft deal put to Cabinet by the Prime Minister this week.

“Parliamentarians have got to put aside personal ideologies and definitely career ambitions and think very carefully about delivering on the deal we have,” he said.

“Every deal requires concessions on both sides. We voted to leave and this proposal regains as much control as we can expect whilst still keeping us open for business with our biggest trading partner. Moreover, it delivers a clear path ahead that business so desperately needs.”

Other businesses have come out in support of Mrs May’s deal, with Rolls-Royce boss Warren East saying that politicians must get behind a “practical plan” for Brexit.

BMW, Aston Martin and Airbus are among other backers.

Retailers have repeatedly warned that a no-deal scenario could cause hold-ups at the border and disrupt food supply chains.

Tesco boss Dave Lewis reiterated concerns on Friday that a chaotic Brexit would affect the transportation of fresh food into the UK and said the supermarket could begin building up stocks of packaged and tinned goods in January.