May urged to make clear what Brexit means for Nissan

Sharon Hodgson
Sharon Hodgson
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MP Sharon Hodgson was scathing about PM Theresa May's failure to offer any clarity on the UK's Brexit deal today.

Mrs Hodgson's Washington and Sunderland West constituency covers Nissan's Wearside plan: "Just before noon, I sat down with a cup of tea and bated breath to listen to Theresa May deliver her first conference speech as Prime Minister," she said.

Iain Wright MP

Iain Wright MP

"I hoped, along with the rest of the country and especially the 48,000 people whose livelihoods depend upon Nissan and the automotive supply chain that serve the biggest and most successful car plant in Europe, that we would hear more detail about what "Brexit means Brexit" actually means.

"Alas, even though she's been in the job for 84 days now, she didn't give us any further details about what Brexit means for the single market or what Brexit means for the North East or what Brexit means for Nissan and those 48,000 jobs.

"The automotive industry is a North East success story and means our region is the only region with a positive balance of trade with Europe. If that is to continue beyond Brexit then Theresa May really must give us some more details about what Brexit actually means for our region sometime in her next 84 days in the job."

Shadow Business Minister - and Hartlepool MP - Iain Wright condemned the lack of clarity on Brexit: "The automotive industry, and particularly that hugely successful plant in Sunderland and its supply chain across the North East, supports tens of thousands of jobs," he said.

North East Automotive Alliance chief executive Paul Butler

North East Automotive Alliance chief executive Paul Butler

"Yet we heard nothing in terms of 'we will address your concerns.'

"It just shows, genuinely, that they are making it up as they go along. They have no plans in place whatsoever."

North East Automotive Alliance chief executive Paul Butler welcomed the fact the Government had identified the sector as a key part of its industrial strategy, but said the lack of detail on Brexit was a problem.

"It’s great to see that the strategic importance of the automotive sector has been recognised and that the Government will do everything they can to encourage, develop and support the sector," he said.

Jonathan Walker

Jonathan Walker

"It’s also good that the timeframe has been set out for Britain to exit the EU.

"However, until we understand the outcomes of the trade negotiations it is impossible to say how Britain’s exit from the EU will impact the competitiveness of the UK automotive."

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson was unimpressed by the whole tone of the Prime Minister's speech: "No one will be fooled by the Prime Minister's claims that she wants to stand up for the many and not the few, or swallow her hollow words on the importance of ‘good government’.

"After all, she is the leader of a party that has inflicted six years of punishing austerity on the most vulnerable people in our country.

"The speech she delivered today will do nothing to help those who need government on their side, especially in the North East. Instead, she outlined a cynical and divisive vision of the type of country that she wants Britain to become.

"It was Theresa May who first identified the Tory Party as the nasty party. It is clear from her speech today that the nasty party is back."

North East England Chamber of Commerce head of policy Jonathan Walker said the Government needed to show it was committed to addressing the North/South divide.

"It is clear that Theresa May is wanting to set herself apart from her predecessor David Cameron and today’s speech showed a clear desire for the Government to take a proactive role in the wake of the Brexit vote," he said.

"If the Prime Minister is serious about building a country that works for every person, she must be serious about achieving an economy that works for every region."