LEAVING the European Union without a deal would be "business suicide", according to an East Lancashire MP.

Hyndburn's Graham Jones was speaking at a meeting of Amazing Accrington, which regularly brings together the borough's industry leaders.

He believes the instability generated by Brexit discussions have proved toxic for a number of local firms, as they look to plan for the future.

Mr Jones said: "I can only tell people that if we continue along this trajectory then it will continue to be a mess and it will continue to affect business, which for me is unacceptable."

The MP believes a deal like that enjoyed by Norway, with a customs union, would find favour with Parliament.

Andrew McLoughlin, chief executive of wallpaper machine maker Emerson and Renwick, which exports 90 per cent of its products, said his firm had benefitted during the Brexit run-up, due to a weak pound.

But he accepted there would be "winners and losers' once the process was underway.

Miranda Barker, chief executive of East Lancashire Chamber, said firms often felt opportunities had been missed to promote potential trade deals with non-EU partners.

"They are very disappointed about the fact that over the last two years....not enough work has been done to develop these trade deals," she added.