Creative Industries Federation asks Government to rethink Brexit following election

Following the Conservatives failing to win a majority last week, the organisation is pushing for a “soft” Brexit to secure free trade and the rights of EU citizens.

© Tony Baggett

The Creative Industries Federation is pushing for a so-called “soft” Brexit after the results of the general election.

The Conservatives failed to secure a majority government on 9 June, garnering only 318 seats out of the 326 necessary.

Prime minister Theresa May has now confirmed the party will be working with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which secured 10 seats and will bring the total number of MPs up to 328.

The result came as a surprise to many, with opinion polls prior to the election sitting in May’s favour.

Election was expected to secure Conservatives’ majority

The snap general election, which was called by May only two months ago, was expected to secure the Conservatives place as the sole party in Government and therefore guarantee the prime minister’s plans for a “hard” Brexit.

This was to include restricted freedom of movement of goods, services and people, with no membership of the free single market or customs union, which ensures seamless trade between European Union (EU) countries.

The DUP, which is a right-wing party, has a more liberal stance on Brexit than the Conservatives in its manifesto. It asks for no borders or restrictions of trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and a free trade agreement with the EU.

“Non-UK EU nationals important part of the creative economy”

The Creative Industries Federation says the general election result shows “there is no clear mandate for the Government to negotiate a hard Brexit”.

A survey of the Federation’s members prior to the election showed that 96% of respondents were in favour of remaining in the EU.

“Our members saw Brexit as a threat to the continued success of the creative industries, damaging growth and the UK’s global outlook,” says John Kampfner, CEO at the Creative Industries Federation. “This general election vote now offers the opportunity to look at the issue again.”

The Federation is pushing for the UK to remain in the single market and customs union, and is against restrictions on free movement. “We know this would damage the capacity of the creative industries to deliver,” Kampfner says. “Non-UK EU nationals are an important part of the creative economy.”

He says the organisation will be “holding the new government to account”, and will be pushing policies that aim to keep the UK “outwork-looking and international”.

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