Sunderland MP to speak with Nissan over firm's Brexit investment freeze

A Wearside MP is to speak to Nissan after reports the car giant is putting investment in its Sunderland plant on hold because of uncertainty over Brexit.

The company's chairman and chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, is reported to have announced the Japanese firm is deferring all long-term business decisions while it remains "in the dark" about Britain's future relationship with the EU.

Sharon Hodgson

Sharon Hodgson

Mr Ghosn was quoted by the BBC as saying that the company's investment plans would be put on hold until there was more clarity.

The news divided Echo readers commenting on social media.

Sharon Hodgson, whose Washington and Sunderland West MP constituency covers the plant, said: "I am extremely concerned by reports that Nissan is putting its long-term investment plans in the UK on hold until there is more certainty over Brexit.

"This is the stark reality of two years of abject failure by the Conservative Government when it comes to Brexit.

Julie Elliott

Julie Elliott

"Boris Johnson can tell Business to 'F Off,' and Tory MPs can laugh in the House of Commons all they like, but we are talking about people’s jobs, livelihoods, and futures.

"Theresa May should urgently drop her ludicrous red lines on Brexit, and listen to businesses who are clearly spelling out that they need certainty when it comes to Customs arrangements.

"I will be speaking to Nissan over the coming days, and pressing Government to stop gambling with the future of my constituents’ lives."

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said: "This is very worrying news, but not surprising.

Bridget Phillipson

Bridget Phillipson

"The Government have been warned numerous times that they need to make the post-Brexit situation clear for business.

"The Prime Minister needs to act quickly to secure the employment of people working in the UK car industry and at Nissan in Sunderland."

Her Houghton and Sunderland colleague Bridget Phillipson said the Nissan announcement showed the need for a second referendum on the term;s of any Brexit deal : "Brexit fantasy is crashing head-first into reality.

"Because of the ongoing Brexit uncertainty, growing numbers of major employers in this country, now including Nissan, are starting to make investment decisions that will have serious negative knock-on effects for jobs and livelihoods.

Coun Niall Hodson

Coun Niall Hodson

"My constituents who work directly for Nissan, or who are employed in their supply chain, will not forgive us if Brexit results in the loss of their jobs. We must stop putting ideology before the livelihoods of the people we have been sent to Westminster to represent.

"Whether you voted leave or remain, just one in ten people now think the Brexit process is going well. It's becoming clear that Sunderland, the North East and Britain as a whole is heading for a bad deal.

"That's why more and more people are supporting the idea of a People's Vote on the final Brexit deal.”

Sunderland City Council Lib Dem leader Coun Niall Hodson said: “Predictably, Nissan has followed Airbus, BMW and Honda in issuing warnings and refusing to confirm future investment and jobs plans as a direct result of the Government’s incompetence over Brexit negotiations.

“With only six working weeks left to secure a Brexit deal with Brussels, the PM and her cabinet have absolutely no idea on what they want when it comes to customs and regulations with the EU. In the meantime people’s jobs are on the line.

"It is all so predictable. The Government must urgently confirm Customs Union and Single Market membership to protect jobs – or come up with a firm alternative that other EU countries – not least Ireland – will accept and that will protect jobs.

"The people of Sunderland deserve nothing less.”

Sunderland City Council deputy leader Coun Michael Mordey said: "Nissan is not alone in making comments about Brexit as we’ve now seen a string of large businesses directing comment and questions towards the Government.

"Not unlike big businesses, uncertainty in any form does make it more difficult and challenging for organisations like the council to also plan ahead.

"In business and public life, as so many others are saying, we all need clarity and certainty on what’s happening with Brexit."

A Nissan plant spokesman said: "Nissan continues to work with the U.K. government to ensure the company’s long-term success and investment in the UK."