Despite many Conservative leadership hopefuls contemplating a no-deal Brexit, business minister Greg Clark said the car industry is ‘crystal clear’ in its warnings about the impact that would have on jobs.
During a grilling in the Commons, Clark told MPs that all his efforts were focused on getting a deal through parliament to allow for frictionless trade.
He was responding to shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, who said Ford had warned that it could close car plants if a withdrawal agreement did not pass.
“Ford had warned that leaving the EU would add hundreds of millions to their costs and after the vote said they were considering closing plants,” she said.
“This warning has come to pass, and Ford is saying another 6,000 jobs could be at risk in the event of no deal which is particularly concerning now it looks likely the next PM will actively pursue it.
“What direct support has the secretary offered Ford to reverse their decision and has he considered the impact of a no deal on manufacturing when deciding who to back for the next prime minister?”
READ: Ford to close Bridgend plant next year after issuing Brexit warningClark replied: “Companies in the sector have been crystal clear that we need to leave the European Union with a deal that allows us to continue to trade without frictions to be able to grasp these opportunities that we have in the future and all my efforts are directed to securing that deal.”
He added that Westminster is working with the Welsh government to try to attract a new investor to the Bridgend facility.
Change UK former minister Anna Soubry later pressed Clark to commit to continuing to do “everything he can to prevent a no-deal Brexit”, whoever the Conservatives choose as the next leader.
Clark responded that he strongly believed it was in the UK’s interest to have a deal which allows it to continue to trade with the EU, before adding: “There are countless industries in which the voices could not be clearer that they depend for their prosperity on that, and I will do everything I can to represent that view in government in the interests of the livelihoods of millions of people right across the country.”