The result of the general election has ended in a hung Parliament, sending shockwaves around the country as no party has the 326 seats needed to get an overall majority in the House of Commons.
Some 40 Welsh business leaders attended a breakfast event hosted by Blake Morgan in Cardiff to discuss the results and how a hung Parliament might impact Brexit negotiations.
Blake Morgan’s Regional Senior Partner Emyr Lewis was joined by a panel of guests including Peter Hughes, Managing Director of Principality Commercial; Dewi Williams, Managing Director of Antur Teifi; Ian Price, Director of CBI Wales; Sian Jones of Newgate Communications and Stephen Widnall of Rightacres Property.
A wide-ranging discussion covered the likely impact of the election result on Brexit negotiations and the Welsh economy, as well as reflections on the way in which the election campaign had developed
Chairing the discussion panel, Emyr Lewis, Senior Partner for Blake Morgan in Wales said: “This is unchartered water. It is clear that Welsh businesses and the Welsh economy need confidence and clarity. While there is a fairly clear consensus about what Wales’s economy needs in the context of Brexit negotiations, there has been little evidence to date of this in the UK Government’s approach.
“Furthermore, the Brexit negotiations are meant to start soon, and the election has eaten up valuable preparation time. Of course, the UK could ask the EU to delay the start of talks. Indeed, the early signs from the EU are that they may agree a delay but meantime the Article 50 alarm clock will be ticking, and unless all EU countries individually agree to extend the timetable, it will time out sooner than we think.
“One thing we can be sure of is that a proper Brexit needs time, patience, and less strident rhetoric. The Conservative/DUP coalition which has emerged from today’s results may help, given the desire in Ireland to keep an open border post Brexit, but the free movement of people is likely to be a key issue when so many Conservative MP’s seem deeply opposed to it as a matter of principle.
“This has been a fascinating discussion and we will be watching events over the coming hours and days with great interest.”