Honda in Swindon

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:23 pm on 19th February 2019.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 1:23 pm, 19th February 2019

I acknowledge my right hon. and learned Friend’s contribution as part of a succession of Ministers on both sides of the House who have given confidence to investors from Japan and around the world. A particular admiration has been accorded to Britain for the stability and predictability of our arrangements. In a turbulent world, the sense of continuity that we have been able to offer, especially to investors who invest for the long term—and any automotive investment is for the long term—is important. It is essential that we recover that.

It is also important that we listen to and respect the evidence of people who employ hundreds of thousands of our constituents. We have consistently done that. In my response to the hon. Member for Salford and Eccles, I set out the almost unanimous view of investors that the deal that has been negotiated meets their needs. That is not a surprise because they have been consulted during the negotiations. However, this is a moment when the House needs to reach a resolution. The Japanese ambassador is very active on these matters. He summarised his views in a letter to the UK and the EU:

“What Japanese businesses in Europe most wish to avoid is the situation in which they are unable to discern clearly the way the Brexit negotiations are going, only grasping the whole picture at the last minute.”

We should heed that advice. We have the opportunity to bring negotiations to an orderly conclusion. I hope that, for the sake of jobs in constituencies throughout the country, we will do that.