Brexit ‘clearly a major factor’ in Nissan withdrawal - Cable

PUBLISHED: 10:40 03 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 February 2019

Production at the Nissan plant in Sunderland. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Production at the Nissan plant in Sunderland. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

PA Wire

Britain’s EU exit is likely to be one of the main reasons Nissan is reportedly withdrawing from plans to manufacture its X-Trail model in the UK, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has said.

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA WireBaroness Shami Chakrabarti. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

The car manufacturer’s pledge to make the new 4x4 vehicle in Sunderland was seen as a major vote of confidence in the country following the Leave vote in 2016.

But there are now reports, albeit still to be confirmed, that the Japanese car maker will withdraw from the arrangement on Monday.

Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Liberal Democrat Vince Cable said Nissan leaving the agreement would be “very worrying for the north-east and the workers and their families”.

He also said it raised “fundamental questions” about the UK’s Brexit strategy, because the agreement showed “Nissan thought Britain was a good place to be”.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable. Picture: Denise BradleyLiberal Democrat leader Vince Cable. Picture: Denise Bradley

Even though Cable admitted that any decision to withdraw from the agreement could be down to other factors, such as tougher rules around the production of diesel vehicles, he said: “Brexit is clearly a major factor.”

And he said that is “not just for Nissan” but that: “The whole industry is rethinking its approach.

“It originally saw Britain as the gateway to Europe and now that gateway is closing.”

Speaking on the same programme, Labour’s shadow attorney general Baroness Shami Chakrabarti said any announcement of Nissan withdrawing from the agreement would be “very, very troubling for the north-east”, adding: “That’s a region that doesn’t need any more uncertainty and turmoil.”

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