LONDON (Reuters) – British politicians have let business down over Brexit and must stop “chasing rainbows” and instead take politically difficult decisions to find a consensus, the head of one of Britain’s main business associations said on Thursday.
Leaving the European Union in a messy or disorderly way would be a “flagrant dereliction of duty”, Adam Marshall, the director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said in unusually sharp remarks ahead of the BCC’s annual conference.
Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that she would step down once a Brexit deal had been secured, but later that day MPs rejected eight different options presented in parliament for a way forward.
“To Westminster, we say: We are frustrated, we are angry. You have let British business down,” Marshall said.
“Our elected representatives cannot keep chasing rainbows. Like all of us in business, they need to start making tough decisions, however personally or politically difficult they might be,” he added.
May is still seeking to win parliament’s support for the Brexit withdrawal plan she negotiated with Brussels last year, and has already had to postpone an exit that had been long-planned for March 29.
May’s effective deputy, David Lidington, is due to address the BCC later on Thursday, in the face of business upset over uncertainty about how, when or even if the world’s fifth-largest economy will disentangle itself from a four-decade relationship with its main trading partner.
Business investment fell every quarter of last year, the longest decline since the 2008-09 financial crisis.
Last week the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress issued a rare joint statement calling on May to change her approach to Brexit.
(Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Andy Bruce)