Land Rover issues ultimatum to Tory hard Brexiteers
Jaguar Land Rover has threatened to close down its British plants in the event of a ‘bad Brexit deal’, throwing down an ultimatum to the Tories ahead of the weekend meeting at Checquers.
Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth warned that without membership of the customs union, backed by Labour, leaving Britain might be the only way to ‘save the company.’ Speth added:
"If the UK automotive industry is to remain globally competitive and protect 300,000 jobs in Jaguar Land Rover and our supply chain, we must retain tariff and customs-free access to trade and talent with no change to current EU regulations.”
Land Rover employs 40,000 people in the UK, mostly in the Midlands, with plants in Coventry, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and Liverpool. Of those areas, only Liverpool voted to remain in the EU in 2016.
The announcement has sent shockwaves through the political bubble and financial markets, with Jaguar’s parent company Tata steel losing 4 per cent of its value when trading opened. The declaration is expected to heap pressure on the harder brexiteers in the cabinet this weekend, after Boris Johnson was recorded saying “f*** business” with regards to Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Unite leader Len McCluskey, whose union represents many of those employed by Landrover told the Conservative party that the jobs were not theirs ‘to play Russian roulette with.’ He added:
“And if you cannot agree to put people before your ideology then move over and let a party that will get on with it.”
Responding to the announcement, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey MP said:
“This stark warning from one of the jewels in the crown of British automotive manufacturing should be a klaxon call to Theresa May and her cabinet. They cannot continue to spar with each other and play ideological games whilst British jobs and industries are being pushed off the edge of a cliff.
“Uncertainty is already hurting investment and if the Government cannot provide urgent assurances to business on negotiating a deal that secures frictionless trade with the EU, our biggest export market, 40,000 jobs at Jaguar Land Rover and countless supply chain businesses could be lost in the blink of an eye, devastating our world leading automotive sector along with the communities that support them.”