New PM Johnson urged to avoid a ‘messy’ Brexit and to restore business confidence

July 23, 2019

Business West, the region’s largest business organisation, this afternoon called on new Prime Minister Boris Johnson to avoid a “messy, disorderly” Brexit on October 31 and urged him to rebuild business confidence. 

Mr Johnson, pictured, was elected Conservative Party leader today with 66% of the vote. He will officially become Prime Minister tomorrow after Theresa May steps down.

But with his famous comment about business and Brexit still ringing in many ears – and his constant claims that the UK could thrive by leaving the EU without a deal – he will need to work hard to get organisations like Business West on side.

The British Chambers of Commerce, of which Business West is a key member, will tomorrow recommend 15 specific steps that Mr Johnson should take immediately to restore the confidence of UK plc.

Phil Smith, pictured, managing director of Business West – which runs Bristol Chamber of Commerce and the Bristol Initiative – said: “The message to Boris Johnson from business communities around the UK couldn’t be simpler: the time for campaigning is over — and we need you to get down to business.

“Companies need to know, in concrete terms, what your government will do to avoid a messy, disorderly Brexit on the October 31 – which would bring pain to communities across the UK and disruption to our trade around the world.  

“We need to see swift action on practical, real-world issues here at home that hold businesses and communities back.”

“We will work with you wherever we can to make these proposals a reality, but we will also hold you and your government to account for delivery.” 

CBI South West regional director Deborah Fraser congratulated Mr Johnson and said businesses in the region shared his optimism for the UK.

“Let’s work together to get our economy back on track and working for communities everywhere. It is time to power up the South West,” she said.

Business needed three things in his first 100 days – a Brexit deal that unlocks confidence, clear signals that the UK is open for business, and a “truly pro-enterprise vision” for our country, she added.

“On Brexit, the new Prime Minister must not underestimate the benefits of a good deal. It will unlock new investment and confidence in factories and boardrooms across the country.”

Business across Europe would back the new Prime Minister to help get there, she said.

But there was also no time to waste on UK matters – from a new immigration system to green-lighting major infrastructure.

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