Westminster saw MPs rejecting the idea of Britain leaving the EU without a deal last night (13/3/19) and clearing the way for Brexit to be delayed.

In response, Theresa May said there was a clear majority against a no-deal Brexit, but that the legal default, if no deal is reached, was that the UK would still leave without a deal on 29th March.

Parliament will now get a vote on delaying Brexit and that vote will take place this evening 14th March. If it is passed and if the EU agrees to it, the UK will not leave the EU as planned on 29th March.

Industry comment came from Andrew Kuyk of the PTF who said: “We are fast running out of strong enough words to describe the chaos and confusion which food businesses – and their suppliers and customers (not to mention their staff, shareholders and bank managers) – are continuing to face as our political institutions are tested to destruction by Brexit.”

Whilst Ian Wright, the Chief Executive of the Food & Drink Federation (FDF) commented: “Parliament’s decisive rejection of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit on 29th March 2019 is an encouraging first step. However, ‘no-deal’ remains the default legal outcome. Food and drink manufacturers cannot stop planning for that outcome until the Withdrawal Act is amended and the EU has consented to a UK request for a delay. These steps must now happen very quickly.”

Before MPs voted yesterday they backed an amendment tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, rejecting a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances – by just four votes. This development led to the government ordering Conservative MPs to vote against its own motion.

However the government motion, as amended, was actually passed by 321 votes to 278, reinforcing the message that majority of MPs do not want to leave without a deal.

Andrew Kuyk of PTF concluded: “While it is tempting to think after last night that no deal may now be off the table, it unfortunately remains the case this morning that the only certainty is still uncertainty, with all that brings”.