Industry responds to Brexit deal defeat

The automotive industry in the UK has responded to a historic defeat for the government’s proposed Brexit deal.

The government was defeated by an astounding 230 votes in parliament last night. Some say this means a no deal exit on 29 March is now more likely, while others believe it means Brexit might not happen at all now.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warned a no deal exit would be hugely damaging for the car industry.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘The vote against the Brexit deal on the table brings us closer to the ‘no deal’ cliff edge that would be catastrophic for the automotive industry. All sides in parliament must work together to find a way forward and put the necessary mechanisms in place to prevent this happening and explore alternatives that protect our future.

‘Leaving the EU, our biggest and most important trading partner, without a deal and without a transition period to cushion the blow would put this sector and jobs at immediate risk. ‘No deal’ must be avoided at all costs. Business needs certainty so we now need politicians to do everything to prevent irreversible damage to this vital sector.’

Meanwhile, Huw Evans, director general of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said, ‘We need a way forward urgently that avoids no-deal. This is uncharted territory and we face a period of unprecedented uncertainty. It is critical that the Government, Parliament and the EU work together to avoid an outcome that would be bad for our economies and bad for our customers.’