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Brexit deal failure will lead to ‘national emergency’, warns CBI chief

If Theresa May’s Brexit deal fails to pass in the meaningful vote set for Tuesday evening the UK will face a "national emergency", according to one of the UK’s leading business groups.

A rejection of the deal would cause “irreparable harm” to the UK economy, warned John Allan, president of the Confederation of British Industry.

Mr Allan told the BBC: “This isn't a game. It's about people's jobs being put at risk.

“Us crashing out on March 29 I think would do irreparable harm to the UK economy.”

The CBI chief said the vast majority of British businesses are hoping to see the Brexit deal approved by parliament, although he acknowledged that this seems to be an “extremely unlikely” outcome.

He called on the government to come together to find a way to avoid leaving the EU with no deal in place, and said now is the time for “very, very, clear leadership from the government and the time to bring people together”.

“This will be a situation of national emergency. We are only 70-plus days from crashing out of the EU,” Mr Allan said.

The prime minister is braced for a crushing defeat, with 100 of her party colleagues expected to vote against the deal.

The pound is expected to tumble in the event of the deal being rejected, but more volatility lies ahead as the consequences of a defeat are still unclear.