Theresa May should either ditch the Irish backstop — the most contentious part of the deal she agreed in November — or put a time limit on it, says the the UK Chamber of Shipping, which represents 200 companies including Maersk and P&0 that facilitate 95 percent of the country’s trade in goods.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warns that firms’ reported growth prospects are  at their weakest for almost six years, while other research shows the number of acquisitions of UK companies by foreign buyers is falling 11% year on year.