A botched Brexit will hit 'Sunderland companies big and small - not just Nissan', MP warns Parliament

Kevan Jones
Kevan Jones

A botched Brexit deal will hit companies of all sizes in Sunderland, not just large firms such as Nissan, a North East MP has warned Parliament.

Concerns have long been held over the impact of Brexit on Sunderland's Nissan plant - though fears were eased last year when the car giant announced it will build two new models in the city, appearing to signal its commitment to the future of its operations on Wearside.

However, recent controversy surrounding the Tory Government's Brexit plans and handling of negotiations has led some to fear the consequences of a "bad deal" or "no deal" situation.

Nissan and other UK car plants produce cars which are exported to Europe and the rest of the world, and the continent's car industry relies heavily on the transport of parts between EU nations.

Thousands of jobs are provided not just in Nissan, but in its supply chain - and one North East MP warned jobs in companies large and small serving the plant and other manufactures are at risk if the Brexit negotiations produce a bad deal for the UK.

North Durham MP Kevan Jones, whose constituency includes Chester-le-Street, raised his concerned in Parliament yesterday in the debate following the Queen's Speech.

He said: "I was one of many who argued for Britain to remain in the EU. I have always been very passionate about that, and I argued for us to remain on the basis that it would be in the best interests not only of my constituents in the North East but of the country.

"The decision was taken that we should come out of the EU, and I accept that, but it is vital that, whatever we do with our new relationship with Europe, we protect access to the single market, particularly for regions such as the North East , which depends on exports to the EU and exports £7 billion of goods to it each year—58% of all exports from the North East/

"It is not just the large manufacturers such as Komatsu, Nissan and Hitachi that will be affected; it will also be their supply chains—companies big and small—throughout the North East. If we get this wrong, it will affect not just those corporations, but the livelihoods of our constituents—hard-working families who are dedicated to their local communities.

He added: "We also need an early resolution on EU citizens’ rights in this country, because the issue is damaging our economy. It is a strange thing to say, but one of the driving forces of the North East economy is our regional universities, and they depend on EU nationals. If we get that issue wrong, it will affect the North East."