The Publishers Association has called for a longer extension to Article 50 after Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement was voted down for the third time by MPs on Friday (29th March).
Politicians voted by 344 votes to 286 against the government’s deal, meaning Britain is now scheduled to leave on 12th April. The European Commission and Mrs May herself have now called for the UK to find an “alternative way forward” to avoid a “no deal”.
Stephen Lotinga, c.e.o. of the Publishers Association, warned the outcome meant “prolonged political deadlock" and the UK was edging closer to crashing out without a deal.
He said: “Although the industry has made significant efforts to prepare for this outcome, we still strongly believe that must be avoided. We are now in a position where a longer extension to Article 50 has to be secured with the additional time used to reach a consensus and, ultimately, find a way out of the impasse and give business the certainty it needs.”
This month, a string of publishers told The Bookseller they had taken steps to prepare for the possibility of border chaos triggered by Brexit.
If a longer extension was thrashed out, it would likely mean the UK would have to take part in May’s European Parliament elections, something the Prime Minister had been keen to avoid.
Giles Clifton, head of corporate affairs at the Bookseller's Association, said: “We regret the continuing uncertainty around Brexit arising from the current chaos in Parliament and continue to press strongly for businesses to be provided with the certainty they need.”
MPs will hold further indicative votes today on alternative Brexit proposals, including a second referendum and membership of a customs union, in a bid to break the deadlock. A previous set of votes on 27th March failed to find a majority in favour of eight different options.
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