No-deal Brexit makes people's vote essential, says McKenna

The increasing likelihood of a no-deal Brexit means the public must be given the chance to vote on the final outcome, says Frank McKenna.

Frank McKenna

The former politician and chief executive of private sector lobby group Downtown in Business said that a no-deal Brexit would be 'catastrophic'.

"The Leave campaign promised us less bureaucracy. The realty will be more red tape," said Frank.

Despite promises of seamless trade with the EU, Frank believes the reality is a shrinking of opportunity for those who sell abroad.

"They promised wider access to global markets to our exporters. The reality is that ‘no-deal’ would leave us with less market access to the EU than Iceland, Ukraine, South Korea or Japan," he said.

"I am at a loss as to how the government have got us to this point, but here we are. Having been crying out for some certainty of purpose so that we can plan for the future, the publication of these documents simply leaves business owners and entrepreneurs with their heads in their hands.

"It was the Brexiteers who most wanted the government to prepare for no-deal. If their aim was to convince British business that no-deal was desirable, then they might wish now that they hadn’t been so keen.”

Frank is now convinced that parliament will remain deadlocked, with the house rejecting no-deal proposals and the government unable to offer alternatives that the EU would accept.

Frank said: "If we get to the point in March where MPs fail to get an agreement, then I see no viable solution beyond a people’s vote to move the country forward. "If I were as wealthy as some of those advocating the ‘jump-off-a-cliff-edge’ option then perhaps I’d be happy to gamble on Brexit delivering benefits in fifty years’ time. However, for many Downtown members and their employees, the health of the short and medium-term economy is of far greater a priority."