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Steel Industry — [Mrs Madeleine Moon in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:37 pm on 11th May 2016.

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Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Fair Work and Employment) 3:37 pm, 11th May 2016

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Moon. I start by paying tribute to Tom Blenkinsop not only for securing this debate and his robust speech but for his stout defence of the steel industry during his time in Parliament and previously as a regional trade union organiser. I also pay tribute to Community and the other unions for their work and drive to save the steel industry in Scotland and elsewhere.

We have heard some useful contributions today, including from the hon. Gentleman, and the message that stands out to me is that the steel industry has a future. It is not a basket case. I absolutely agree, and is the fundamental base from which we must approach the issue and upon which it must be grounded. We must talk up the industry as he did, not talk it down as others have in the past.

The hon. Gentleman and almost every other speaker in this debate posed serious questions to the Minister regarding the lesser duty rule and tomorrow’s vote on Chinese market economy status, to which I hope she will respond. We have heard contributions from the hon. Members for Scunthorpe (Nic Dakin), for Torfaen (Nick Thomas-Symonds), for Alyn and Deeside (Mark Tami), for Warwick and Leamington (Chris White), for Newport East (Jessica Morden), for Ogmore (Chris Elmore), for Aberavon (Stephen Kinnock), for Penistone and Stocksbridge (Angela Smith), for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake), for Bury St Edmunds (Jo Churchill), for Redcar (Anna Turley), for West Bromwich West (Mr Bailey), for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty), for Hartlepool (Mr Wright), for Neath (Christina Rees) and for Corby (Tom Pursglove) and from my hon. Friend Margaret Ferrier. The very good debate we have had, to which they all contributed, and the turnout for it are a tribute to the industry.

It is worth stating on the record again that the Scottish National party Scottish Government has worked determinedly to find a new operator for the Dalzell and Clydebridge steel plants, and to maintain industrial steel production in Scotland. We said that we would leave no stone unturned and that is exactly what we did. It is also vital that the UK Government now work more co-operatively with the EU on anti-dumping measures, and bring forward a credible strategy—