MP demands promises Nissan and Hitachi won't go same way as Tata in savage attack on Business Secretary

A North East MP has demanded promises from the Business Secretary Sajid Javid that he will work with Nissan and Hitachi to protect jobs in the region.

Tuesday, 28th June 2016, 1:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:16 pm
The Nissan plant in Sunderland.

Mr Javid was acussed of focusing on his leadership bid and ignoring the uncertainty facing British businesses as he championed the "opportunities" of Brexit.

Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah accused him of complacency in dealing with the fallout of last week's decision to quit the EU.

Standing to Labour shouts of "Go on Chi", Ms Onwurah said: "Can you reassure the many worried workers and businesses that unlike with Tata, when you were on the other side of the planet, you will be in the boardrooms of Nissan in Sunderland, Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe, Jaguar and Land Rover in Solihull and across the country sharing with them your plan for a secure economic exit as they make their investment decisions in the weeks and months to come?"

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She added: "Isn't the truth that the only plan that you have is for your leadership bid and British businesses and jobs stand to lose from the economic uncertainty your party's divides have unleashed?

Mr Javid, who faces difficulties in landing the top job because of claims he privately backed Leave while advocating Remain, had insisted the UK should "embrace" the opportunities of Brexit.

He will host a round table meeting with businesses later on Tuesday to discuss the outcome of the EU referendum.

He said: "What I can assure you ... yes, because of last week's decision, of course there are some short term challenges for businesses but we must also remember that there are medium term and long term opportunities for business as well and that includes the auto industry."

"As well as looking at challenges, there are plenty of opportunities and when I meet with businesses later this afternoon that's exactly the message I will be giving to them.

Questioned over Australia and New Zealand's preparations for a joint trade deal with the UK, he said Britain should start "embracing those opportunities" brought about by Brexit.

"Free trade agreements with many more countries is just one of those."

Ms Onwurah may or not be shadow business secretary. It is unclear if she has accepted the job in Mr Corbyn's cabinet.