Rover-BMW

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 9th May 2000.

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Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry 3:30 pm, 9th May 2000

My hon. Friend is correct. There have been some difficult times over the past few weeks—some of them, I have to point out, created by his Select Committee, although I do not want to dwell on that point; the Trade and Industry Committee played a valuable role in the process.

On the substance of my hon. Friend's question, the Phoenix consortium is clear that, for the foreseeable future—the short and medium term—it has a viable project. However, the consortium makes it clear that it wants to enter a joint venture or an alliance with a major global car manufacturer for the long term. The consortium has been precise publicly as to its intentions: the short and medium-term approach is to safeguard the maximum number of jobs at Longbridge, but it is looking for an alliance with a global player in the near future so as to develop in the way described by my hon. Friend.