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Leaving the Eu: Airbus Risk Assessment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 25th June 2018.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 3:37 pm, 25th June 2018

I recognise that the hon. Gentleman has more than 6,500 people employed in his constituency in good jobs, and many more in the supply chain. Members from all parts of the House have constituents whose prosperous careers and excellent opportunities come from working in this important sector. Let us be clear: this sector is one of our proudest strengths and it is expanding. The opportunities around the world grow every year and the excellence that we have needs to be nurtured and cherished. I take seriously the representations of all businesses because we are talking about not speculation or visions of the future, but the reality of the lives of many hundreds of thousands of people across the country, which is important.

It is the case that we should listen to businesses. Of course, what Airbus has said was consistent with what it has said before and consistent with what it has said to Select Committees of this House. Very importantly, it was addressed equally to the European Commission and to member states of the European Union. It is very clear that, in order to have the agreement that we seek, it is necessary that both sides of the discussions should participate. Airbus has been clear that it is in the interests of the whole country and the whole company that that should be the case. I hope that that message will be heard in Brussels as well as in this country.

The hon. Gentleman asked questions about listening to business. All Government Members recognise that the livelihoods of millions of people, and the prosperity of our country, depend on business being successful. We will not always agree with everything that businesses say, but they have the right to be heard. The hon. Gentleman was rather one-sided in his representations; I think that he should direct some of his recommendations to his own Front Benchers, who have not been a picture of clarity on what they would like from these negotiations.