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Jo James at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce says nation not ready for 'no deal' Brexit

By Chris Britcher

Business chiefs say allowing the UK to leave the EU without a deal would "take political negligence to new extremes".

It comes following the latest heavy defeat for Theresa May's withdrawal agreement last night - and ahead of this evening's vote on whether to take the 'no deal' option off the table.

Jo James, chief executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, has long called for some certainty in the process to allow for businesses to plan for life outside of the EU.

Jo James, chief executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce
Jo James, chief executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

And with the March 29 exit date fast approaching, anxieties are growing.

She said: "Businesses have warned time and again that the UK is not ready to face the consequences of a messy and disorderly exit from the European Union.

"Government agencies are not ready, many businesses are not ready, and despite two and a half years passing since the referendum, there is no clear plan to support communities at the sharp end of such an abrupt change.

Theresa May suffered a 149-vote defeat in the Commons last night
Theresa May suffered a 149-vote defeat in the Commons last night

“Parliament must demonstrate that it will heed these repeated warnings. It is profoundly obvious that neither government nor many businesses are ready for a disorderly exit – and this must not be allowed to happen on March 29, whether by default or by design.

“Businesses have been failed over and over again by Westminster in recent months, but allowing a messy and disorderly exit on March 29 would take political negligence to new extremes.”

For the latest stories on Brexit impacting on Kent see our special section here.

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