UK Prime Minister Theresa May has received cabinet approval for a draft Brexit agreement, but it has left some drinks trade bodies uncertain about what it means for the industry.

The 585-page draft withdrawal agreement, which May considers to be in “the best interests of the entire UK”, plans to put in place a ‘backstop’ to avoid a Northern Ireland border regardless of the outcome of future talks between the UK and the EU.

This backstop will ensure that Northern Ireland remains tied into some EU rules on goods standards. However, some products being brought to Northern Ireland may be subject to new controls and checks and the UK would be attached to the EU customs union.

In a statement on a possible Brexit agreement, Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright said: “We would welcome any clarity relating to a potential agreement with the EU. While this is a step in the right direction, uncertainty remains.

“Food and drink manufacturers will have to continue planning for a variety of scenarios until our politicians have cast their judgement on the suitability of this deal. This will result in businesses incurring significant costs and devoting additional time and effort to such endeavours. Until the withdrawal agreement implementation bill receives Royal Assent, the spectre of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit looms large over our industry.”

While cabinet approval has been confirmed, several ministers have resigned since the agreement was announced today, including Brexit minister Dominic Raab.

Following a planned EU summit on 25 November to finalise the deal, the UK government will face a parliamentary vote where MPs will be asked to approve of the plans. May stated that MPs are faced with her deal, no deal or no Brexit.

The Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA), which represents over 300 UK companies, strongly argues against a no deal Brexit and its potential effect on the drinks industry.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “The WSTA, from the outset, has repeatedly said that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would have a catastrophic impact on our members. Despite the businesses we represent in place contingency measures, as best they can, a ‘no deal’ Brexit presents a multitude of difficulties which are outside of their control. We need more time to digest the proposed deal and we will be watching intently the passage of the Withdrawal Bill through Parliament.”