The Publishers Association has cautiously welcomed the outcome of last night’s no-confidence vote, with Theresa May’s continued leadership increasing the chances of a deal-based Brexit which would at least give publishers "a basis on which they can plan for the future". But it shared concerns that "time is running out" and urged politicians to "come together".
The British prime minister managed to avoid being ousted after securing the backing of 200 Conservative MPs to 117. As well as allowing her to remain in the top job, despite the narrow margin (a majority of 63%), the result means she cannot be challenged in the same way for at least another year.
The leadership ballot had been called after May this week delayed a vote in the House of Commons on her EU-approved withdrawal agreement that it is widely thought would have been rejected. This morning the PM is attending an EU summit in Brussels to seek further “legal and political assurances that assuage concerns”, including over the Irish backstop.
Commenting on the latest developments, PA c.e.o. Stephen Lotinga - who previously condemned the political uncertainty “unacceptable for businesses of all kinds, including publishers” - said May's deal, despite its drawbacks, would help give publishers "many of the assurances [they] need to continue to do business in their largest export market", whereas no deal at all would present "enormous challenges".
"While [last night's] vote provides some certainty over the future leadership of the Conservative Party, parliament is still no further towards reaching a consensus on the terms of our departure and time is running out," said Lotinga. "Theresa May’s deal, whilst not as good as full access to the single market, provides many of the assurances publishers need to continue to do business in their largest export market and gives them a basis on which they can plan for the future.
"No deal would present enormous challenges and with little time left we urgently need our politicians to come together and agree a way forward that protects world leading industries such as publishing."
May has given herself until 21st January to pass a Brexit deal through parliament. If she can’t, it leaves only a couple of months to prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU without one.