Blackfriar: May and Corbyn need to step aside for sensible politicians

Veteran City analyst Clive Black summed up the feeling of investors when he said: 'The lunatics have taken over the asylum.'

He said the crushing defeat of the Government’s plans for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is historic, but UK businesses and households are looking on with a sense of bewilderment, incredulity and anger at the farcical, real-life play taking place at the House of Commons.

The Shore Capital analyst said that the UK is a laughing stock and an embarrassment, which is encouraging investors and fund managers to view the UK as “a bit of a basket case”.

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Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said there were no more words to describe the “frustration, impatience, and growing anger” amongst business after two and a half years on a high-stakes political rollercoaster ride that shows no sign of stopping.

Without doubt, business leaders are angry.

The vast majority of UK firms backed Theresa May’s deal.

They may not have liked it much, but they approached it in the same way that the CBI approached it - it wasn’t great, but it would have provided certainty for at least two years as the UK hammered out a future trade deal.

Business needs UK politicians to find a compromise. Theresa May needs to tear up her red lines and start again. Jeremy Corbyn needs to stop wittering on about a General Election that he won’t win and start positive talks with the Government.

We need our politicians to stop putting themselves and their parties first and to put the UK first.

Both arch Remainers and arch Brexiters need to find a compromise that can heal our country. Both sides celebrated Mrs May’s defeat on Tuesday, but if either side wins, the other side will be devastated. It is time to find a solution rather than alienate half the country.

Tory MP Nick Boles has put forward a bill, which is backed by Conservative MPs Nicky Morgan and Sir Oliver Letwin, and by Labour MPs Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Hilary Benn, as well as Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb.

It states that if the House of Commons fails to pass a Brexit deal by February 11, the Commons liaison committee should come up with an alternative plan by March 5, which will then be voted on quickly.

Sir Oliver told the Today programme: “There is no point in us discussing unicorns which are items that live in fanciful forests. We have to discuss real objects.

“(Mrs May) put down right at the beginning of this process what she called red lines.

“This is not a terrain in which you can have things you will definitely never do. You have to sit down and talk and come up with a consensus. That means being much more flexible than we have been so far.”

Very few business leaders want a no deal Brexit. Brexit was supposed to improve the UK’s lot, not damage it irrevocably.

There is no point in trying to appease the far right, headbanger Brexiters. They will never accept anything other than a full blown, no deal Brexit. The vast majority have plenty of money to fall back on if the economy does crumble.

Instead, we need sensible, intelligent, calm politicians from all sides of the house to come together to thrash out a deal that will get past enough Tory and opposition politicians.

Mrs May and Mr Corbyn are not to be trusted with such an endeavour. The two party leaders have failed.

It is now time to see what Mr Boles and his cross-party team can achieve.