The first poll of business leaders since the publication of the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement reveals directors back getting a deal approved.
In a survey of over 800 members of the Institute of Directors, three quarters said that it was important that a withdrawal agreement is ratified before the UK leaves the European Union, allowing for a transition period after March 2019.
Two thirds of those surveyed said that a no deal outcome would be bad for their business, with almost a half saying this scenario would be ‘very negative’ for their organisation. Just 13% said a no-deal Brexit would be positive.
Members were split on the question of whether a second referendum would be in their interests, with 46% for and 44% against.
Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, says: “The message from our members is clear, they urgently want to see the UK get a withdrawal deal across the line. Up and down the country, firms large and small are deeply concerned by the potential for a no-deal scenario, and business investment is already being choked off by the surrounding uncertainty.
“The need to avoid no deal must be at the forefront of MPs’ minds when they come to vote on the agreement. The deal we have might not satisfy everyone, but this is still the clearest route to securing a smooth exit. It is a necessary step towards moving on to the future relationship negotiations, which cannot begin in detail until we have legally left the EU.
“A second referendum is not an easy way out of the political bind we are in, with business opinion split on whether it would be a good idea now. The view of our members is that a withdrawal deal has to be the priority.”
Full survey results:
816 respondents, conducted between 16-19 November 2018
Considering the impact on your (primary) organisation, how important or unimportant is it that a withdrawal agreement is ratified before the UK leaves the EU in March 2019?
|1 Very important||50%|
|2 Somewhat important||22%|
|3 Not very important||14%|
|4 Not important at all||10%|
Do you think that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit (in which the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement) would be positive or negative for your (primary) organisation?
|1 Very positive||7%|
|2 Somewhat positive||6%|
|3 Neither positive nor negative||18%|
|4 Somewhat negative||20%|
|5 Very negative||46%|
Thinking of your (primary) organisation, which of the following most closely fits your view on the possibility of a further referendum on Brexit?*
|At this stage, holding another referendum WOULD be in the interest of my organisation||46%|
|At this stage, holding another referendum WOULD NOT BE in the interest of my organisation||44%|
*Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.