Open letter to the Prime Minister: 85 organisations join forces to express concerns about a no-deal Brexit

Following recent announcements on the prorogation of Parliament, over 85 organisations from across the UK have called on the Prime Minister to urgently engage with their “grave concerns” about the impact that leaving the European Union without a deal will have on civil society, in an open letter.

Please find the letter and signatories in full below.

If your organisation would like to sign this letter, please submit the following to

  • The name, in full, of the individual attributing their name to the letter

  • The job position/title of this individual

  • The name of the organisation/institution

Dear Prime Minister,

As civil society organisations working with citizens and communities across the UK, we are writing to express our grave concerns about the risk of leaving the EU without an agreement as the 31st October is rapidly approaching. 

 A growing body of evidence shows that a no-deal Brexit would be detrimental to civil society and the communities that we work with. The uncertainty, the predicted economic shock, the prospect of legal uncertainty as well as the regression in rights and standards present a profound risk to the values civil society stands for. 

Leaving the EU without a deal will see a return to a ‘hard’ border on the island of Ireland. This will have significant detrimental effects on trade, the economy, and on the ability of citizens to move easily between the two jurisdictions for work, study and family reasons.

A no-deal Brexit will be a direct threat to the peace process and the safeguards in the Good Friday Agreement. This would be at odds with the UK Government's stated commitment to guarantee these vital protections.  

Business, civil society and communities across the UK are not ready for a no-deal exit. 

There is not enough time to replace EU agencies that monitor and ensure compliance with the law, potentially resulting in food standards, environmental and animal welfare regulations not being sufficiently enforced. 

Legislation to accommodate a no-deal scenario will be rushed through Parliament with little to no scrutiny from MPs and civil society. Neither is there enough time to put in place the necessary common frameworks to guarantee that devolution is respected.

Civil society faces the same Brexit related impacts and uncertainties as business, and yet we have not had adequate support, resources and engagement from the government. We urge you to better engage with civil society, including across the devolved nations, throughout the next stages of the Brexit process. 

Leaving the EU without an agreement will have drastic and wide-ranging implications for citizens and communities, who deserve to be heard. 

Yours sincerely,

Vicky Browning, CEO, ACEVO

Edward Connole, Director, ALL ARTS & MEDIA 

Sara McCracken, Chief Executive, Angel Eyes NI 

Martin Cavalot , Chair, Arts Connection - Cyswllt Celf

Brian Carr, Chief Executive, Birmingham Voluntary Service Council

Darren John Knight, Chief Executive, Bolton Community and Voluntary Services (CVS)

Russel Hobson, Director of Policy and Land Use, Butterfly Conservation

Dr Sam Smith, CEO, C-Change Scotland

Sarah Jones, Head of Policy and Campaigning, Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales

Ruth Harding, Clerk, Cardiff Local Quaker Meeting

Sheila Hendrickson-Brown, CEO, Cardiff Third Sector Council

Dr Anthony Soares, Acting Director, Centre for Cross Border Studies

Dr Michael Warhurst, Executive Director, CHEM Trust

Jackie Brock, Chief Executive, Children in Scotland

Catriona Williams OBE, Chief Executive, Children in Wales

Paddy Kelly, Director, Children's Law Centre

Karla Hill, Global Programmes Counsel, ClientEarth

Jane O'Toole, Chief Executive Officer, Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs

Brian Gormally, Director, Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ)

Dr David Holloway, Director, Community Dialogue

Bijon SINHA, Administrator, Compton’s Yard Charitable Trust

Janis McDonald, Chief Officer, deafscotland

Kevin Doherty, Chief Executive Officer, Disability Action

Rhian Davies, Chief Executive, Disability Wales

Ele Hicks, Policy Manager, Diverse Cymru

Lucy Danger, Chief Executive, EMERGE 3Rs & EMERGE Recycling

Emma Ritch, Executive Director, Engender

Ali Harris, Chief Executive, Equally Ours 

Elizabeth Maria Kardynal, Founder & Director, European's Welfare Association CIC (EWA CIC)

Kush Chottera, Director of Europia, Europia

Ms Shahida Siddique, Chief Executive Officer, Faithstar LLP

Susan Fleming, Administrator, Focus: The Identity Trust 

Rene Meijer, Chief Executive Officer, Food Works 

Craig Bennett, CEO, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Lynne Stafford, Chief Executive, Gaddum

Professor Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)

Kevin Hanratty, Director, Human Rights Consortium

Mhairi Snowden, Coordinator, Human Rights Consortium Scotland

Dr Sally Witcher, Chief Executive, Inclusion Scotland

Michal Chantowski, Development and Services Manager, International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS)

John Harris, Chair, International Group of the Church in Wales

Jen Ang, Director, JustRight Scotland

Professor Nicole Busby, Professor of Law, Law School, University of Strathclyde

Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive, Locality

Mike Wild, Chief Executive, Macc

Catrin Devonald, Prif Swyddog / Chief Executive, Menter Iaith Casnewydd

Fizza Qureshi, Co-CEO, Migrants' Rights Network

Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies, Prif Weithredwr/Chief Executive, Mudiad Meithrin

Gaynor Richards MBE BA(Hons), Dip H&SW, Msc, LLD (hon), Director, Neath Port Talbot Council for Voluntary Service

Seamus McAleavey, Chief Executive, NICVA (Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action)

Chris Quinn, Director, Northern Ireland Youth Forum

Professor Robert Moore, North Wales Regional Equality Network

Zamzam Ibrahim, President, NUS UK

Robert Murtagh, NUS-USI President, NUS-USI (N. Ireland Student Movement)

Janet Thorne, CEO, Reach Volunteering

Helen Crickard, Co-ordinator, Reclaim the Agenda NI

Anne Bonner, Chief Executive, Riverside Community Health Project

Alison Page, Chief Executive, Salford CVS

Charles Dundas, Chair, Scottish Environment LINK

Shaben Begum, Director, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance

Gary Christie, Head of Policy, Scottish Refugee Council

Kim Dams, Director, Scottish Rural Action

Ann Shrosbree, Director, Small World Theatre

Judi Rhys, Chief Executive, Tenovus Cancer Care

Jackie Murphy, CEO, TGP Cymru

Dr Cath Larkins, Director, The Centre for Children and Young People's Participation - University of Central Lancashire

Janie Oliver, Executive Director, The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility

Owen Reidy, Assistant General Secretary, The Irish Congress of Trade Unions

Kenneth R. Curran Snr, Chair, The Manor Assembly

Menai Owen-Jones LLB Dip IoD FRSA, Chief Executive Officer, The Pituitary Foundation

Peter Kelly, Director, The Poverty Alliance 

Colin Tudge, Trustee, The Real Farming Trust

Siôn Edwards, Communications Manager, The Venture I.C.C

Peter Hussey, Clerk, the Wales Focus Group of Meeting of Friends in Wales, (Society of Friends (Quakers))

Lindsay Cordery-Bruce, CEO, The Wallich

Wiard Sterk, Advocate - Wales / Cymru, the3million

Laura Bannister, Senior Adviser: EU-UK Trade, Trade Justice Movement

Dyfrig Rees, General Secretary, Union of Welsh Independents

Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON

Chris Dabbs, Chief Executive, Unlimited Potential

Alexandra Runswick, Director, Unlock Democracy

Carol Botten, CEO, Voluntary Organisations' Network North East

Steve Nash, Chairperson and Coordinator, Voluntary Sector Advisory Group (VOLSAG)

Revd Dr Noel Davies / Parch. Ddr Noel Davies, Chair / Cadeirydd, Wales & Europe Working Party of Cytûn (Churches together in Wales) / Gweithgor Cymru ac Ewrop Cytûn (Eglwysi ynghyd yng Nghymru)

Ruth Marks, Chief Executive, Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)

Susie Ventris-Field, Chief Executive, Welsh Centre for International Affairs

Maria Constanza Mesa, Operational Director / Cyfarwyddwr Gweithredol, Women Connect First / Menywod Gysylltu’n Gyntaf 

Sarah Powell, Chair, Women's Equality Network

Caroline Willcocks, Manager of WHISC, Women's Health Information and Support Centre (WHISC)

Anne McVicker, Director, Women's Resource & Development Agency

Tim Frew, Chief Executive, YouthLink Scotland

Rt Hon Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales

John Tizard, Strategic Advisor