As the European Council reconvenes this week to review the state of play in Brexit negotiations and adopt conclusions on the progress made, North East Labour MEPs have a strong message to send to the UK government: listen to the many worried voices from across our industries.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said:
“This week marks another key milestone in the Brexit process. Unfortunately what is becoming ever more apparent is that this government, instead of putting a good and viable proposal on the table for leaving the EU whilst minimising any damage, is busier negotiating with itself. Brexit is bigger than their party and it’s time the Tories opened their eyes to that. It’s also time they started listening to concerned voices from across the business community and the trade union movement.
“Businesses are increasingly enraged by the lack of certainty to future trading prospects for our country after we leave, but particularly for the North East – the region with the most at stake from our EU membership. The North East Chamber of Commerce was right to call out the Prime Minister on the poor progress made in the negotiations, stating that North East businesses are exasperated at the way her government has been handling Brexit. Aerospace giant Airbus has warned it will seek to move production away from the UK. BMW has expressed concerns about their operations that might force UK closures. The Japanese Ambassador to the UK has been strikingly undiplomatic in his tone on behalf of major Japanese players like Nissan, Hitachi and Komatsu. The list goes on and on, yet this government isn’t taking any of these worries seriously at all. These are people's jobs and livelihoods at risk – it is time that the government stepped aside if it can't negotiate the best for Britain.”
Paul Brannen MEP said:
“In the 2015 general election, the Conservative Party’s top manifesto aim was ‘to make Britain the best place to do business in Europe’. Ironically, a year later Liam Fox – tasked precisely with seeing that aim through as we leave the EU – accused British business of becoming ‘lazy and fat’. This week the abuse escalated with an extraordinary comment from chief Tory Brexiteer Boris Johnson of: ‘f*** business’. After such an outrageous remark how can the Tories ever again claim to be ‘the party of business’?
“The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have revealed that investment in Britain’s car industry has halved because of uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with Europe. The CBI and TUC have joined forces to demand a faster pace and sense of urgency to be injected into the Brexit talks, along with a call for measurable progress. In the North East we have both our car manufacturing giant Nissan to protect and our train builder Hitachi. A hard Brexit will soon become a reality unless Theresa May listens to the perfectly legitimate concerns of business.”