UK business leaders have called on MPs to back the Windsor framework in today’s House of Commons vote.
The Chairmen of Virgin Group and the International Chambers of Commerce, and the former CEO of Siemens are encouraging members of parliament to vote for the deal, arguing that it will remove red tape and give businesses the certainty they need to make investments.
In a joint statement coordinated by internationalist campaign group Best for Britain, 77 business leaders representing 67 organisations including Cobra Beer, Neals Yard and Unipart, voiced their support for the settlement.
The group said that the deal would be welcomed by businesses across the UK struggling with challenging economic conditions and that it can mark a new chapter in UK/EU relations.
The full statement reads:
As representatives of the business community we welcome the successful conclusion of UK/EU negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol and voice our support for the settlement that has been reached.
This agreement will be of greatest significance to the people of Northern Ireland but its positive impact for businesses large and small, in every corner of the country, and for the UK economy as a whole should not be underestimated.
For businesses and their customers, struggling in difficult trading conditions, this deal represents welcome pragmatism from all sides and upholds the level playing field with our closest and largest trading partners. It demonstrates what is possible when we engage in constructive dialogue and work in the common interest with our European neighbours.
It can and should mark the beginning of a new chapter in UK/EU relations, one built on trust, mutual respect and shared prosperity.
Jürgen Maier, Co-Founder VOCL, Vice Chair Northern Powerhouse Partnership & Former CEO Siemens UK
Paul Drechsler, Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce (UK)
Sir Mike Rake
Sir James Wates
Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman, Cobra Beer
Peter Norris, Chairman, Virgin Group Holdings
Anabel Kindersley, Co-owner/Co-Chair, Neal's Yard Remedies
Francis Toye, CEO, Unilink Software
Phil Smith, Chairman, IQE PLC
The agreement followed months of negotiations and years of debate over the Northern Ireland Protocol which was part of Boris Johnson’s 2019 Brexit deal. The fallout from the deal has left Northern Ireland without a functioning government for almost a year.
Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of Best for Britain, said:
“This agreement shows what can be achieved by turning the page on previous disputes and by breaking down barriers with our closest neighbours, we can provide businesses across the UK with the certainty and stability they desperately need to prosper in an extremely challenging economic environment.
“Successful negotiations always involve compromise and while some will focus on what has been given up rather than what has been gained, we should all welcome the flexibility shown by both the EU and UK in the interests of providing stability for the people of Northern Ireland.”
Peter Norris, Chairman of Virgin Group and Co-convener of the cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission said,
“This deal has given hope to businesses in every corner of the UK that we are on the cusp of a new more collaborative relationship with the EU which can see barriers to trade removed and costs come down.
“In the current adverse economic environment, it is vital that MPs seize this opportunity and vote for the Windsor Framework today.”
Jürgen Maier, Co-Founder VOCL, Vice Chair Northern Powerhouse Partnership & Former CEO of Siemens UK, said:
“The Windsor Framework gives businesses in Northern Ireland the certainty they need to make investments, reduce red tape, and boost trade.
“This spirit of cooperation should signal the start of a more grown-up relationship between the UK and the EU to also reduce red tape for businesses across the rest of the UK and to recement our relationship in key value creating EU programmes like Horizon Europe. Our economy can’t thrive if our Government can’t work responsibly with our closest neighbours. It’s important that all politicians recognise that, and vote for this framework.”
Paul Drechsler, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (UK), said:
“With the UK economy and businesses facing difficult times, we must forge new paths to sustained growth both domestically and internationally, and we can’t do that without a strong partnership with Europe.
“The markets have already responded positively to this new pragmatic approach and so I strongly encourage MPs to back this deal and begin a world beating international charm offensive to rebuild the UK’s reputation and attractiveness as a commercial trading partner.”