`

Nissan's future in Sunderland will be in doubt if Theresa May's negotiation skills are anything like her dance moves

Prime Minister Theresa May dances as she arrives on stage to make her speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham
Prime Minister Theresa May dances as she arrives on stage to make her speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham
0
Have your say

As uncomfortable to watch as Theresa May’s dance moves may be, it’s what she sorts at the negotiating table that really counts.

It matters not a jot to the people of Sunderland if she can move smoothly to the beat of an ABBA hit (she can’t, by the way), what concerns them is whether she’s in step with people calling the tune.

And in the North East, it’s people like Nissan that we need to keep happy or, if the worst-case scenario is realised, they will leave.

Read more: Nissan warns of hard Brexit risk to Sunderland plant
The more bullish Brexiteers say we should call Nissan’s bluff, claiming we can survive without their business. They’re kidding themselves.

Nissan has made it clear for years that it prefers to do business in Europe’s frictionless trade environment. It employs nigh on 8,000 people, with tens of thousands more in the supply chain, so what it says matters to the stability of the Wearside economy.

Nissan says a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would harm its business. It is couched in careful terms, calling for UK and EU negotiators to work towards an ‘orderly balanced Brexit,’ but the killer line comes in fears expressed that a ‘sudden change’ could have ‘serious implications’ for its business. As much as we’d like to think Nissan has huge loyalty to our region, in truth, it probably has a greater loyalty to itself and the profits it can make.

Read more: ‘Devastating’, ‘scaremongering’ and ‘madness’ - readers react to Nissan’s pause on UK investment plans
That Nissan’s warning comes as figures reveal new car sales in the UK plunged last month may be no coincidence. Business is tough enough without a ‘no-deal’ Brexit making it unworkable for big industry.

At the EU negotiation table it does, of course, take two to tango for a satisfactory Brexit.

In that case, we can only hope that the PM talks a better game than her dance moves suggest.

Read more: Even the end of the world can't knock Brexit Boris off top of the news agenda