Trade warns May's Brexit defeat leaves industry 'limbo'

Trade warns May's Brexit defeat leaves industry 'limbo'

Trade leaders have warned Theresa May needs to “urgently” come up with a Plan B after MPs rejected the government’s Brexit deal in an historic defeat last night.

Stephen Lotinga, c.e.o of the Publishers Association, told The Bookseller a consensus “urgently needs to be found” as he highlighted how the government’s deal did provide the book industry with “some assurances”. 

He said: “Yesterday’s vote leaves us in limbo and there is still a long way to go before the political, legal and economic implications of Brexit play out. It is very concerning and we urgently need a consensus to be found. The deal voted on last night, while by no means perfect, did give some of the assurances publishing needs – for example around bringing books to market and around copyright. With no will in parliament for that deal, we need to ensure that any further deal can both command political consensus and provide the assurances that our industry needs.”

Society of Authors chief executive Nicola Solomon warned the clock is ticking with Mrs May under pressure to quickly come up with a Plan B. MPs defeated Mrs May’s deal by 432 votes to 202 - the largest Commons defeat in history. The prime minister faces a confidence vote at 7pm tonight after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence in the government. 

Solomon said: “The defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement comes as no surprise but provides no further clarity on where we are heading. The clock is ticking and the Government urgently needs to come up with a Plan B.”

Last night’s vote comes after export and printing logistics emerged as key trade concerns in the event of a no deal Brexit, with indie publishers and printers warning shipping and customs delays could bring the book trade “to a halt” if Britain leaves the European Union on 29th March without an agreement.