Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said in a statement businesses will be relieved "but their frustration with this seemingly endless political process is palpable".

“With less than 48 hours to go, the prospect of a messy and disorderly exit on Friday has again been averted. Businesses will be relieved, but their frustration with this seemingly endless political process is palpable.

“For most businesses, the ‘flextension’ agreed by the European Council will be preferable to deadlines that are repeatedly moved forward at the last possible moment.

“This extension buys Parliament some time to come to a consensus, but they can’t afford to squander it. Politicians must urgently agree on a way forward. It would be a disaster for business confidence and investment if a similar late-night drama is played out yet again in October. Our businesses and our communities need answers to plan for the future, and the government must return its focus to pressing domestic issues, which have been ignored or marginalised for too long.

“In the event that the Withdrawal Agreement is passed by Parliament, businesses need a clear timetable and fair warning of the UK’s planned exit date, particularly those trading in countries where the UK has not yet finalised much-needed trade continuity agreements.”

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