Former business minister and Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has weighed in on Jaguar Land Rover.
He says JLR isn’t messing about and urges the Conservatives to treat business with more respect.
“When I was in government I worked very closely with Jaguar Land Rover. It took some considerable effort to get JLR committed to the UK.
“I got to know Ralf Speth well enough to know that he’s not bluffing when he says JLR’s position is a hard Brexit would make the company’s position in the UK untenable.
“The Conservatives should listen. But there’s no evidence that they are willing to treat major employers with anything other than complete contempt.”
Jim Pickard of the FT has heard that Speth is feeling more and more “distressed” about the impact Brexit will have on his company.
Ouch. Labour MP Alison McGovern has roasted Owen Paterson for his claim that a hard Brexit would be good for JLR.
McGovern points out that tariffs aren’t the only worry. Non-tariff barriers (such as ‘rules of origin’ restrictions, or time-consuming border checks) could hit sales and gum up supply chains.
“It is quite stunning that Owen Paterson thinks himself better placed to comment on Jaguar Land Rover’s future than their own CEO. Perhaps even more striking is his obvious total ignorance of the just-in-time supply chains which make the car industry profitable, and the fact that it is not tariffs, but non-tariff barriers which would be the major obstacle to manufacturers in a no-deal Brexit.
People in manufacturing towns across Merseyside, the North and the Midlands know all too well what it feels like when Tories show they just don’t care about our communities and our families’ livelihoods, and they will not stand for it. To protect jobs in the manufacturing industry, the only feasible solution is to stay in the Single Market and the Customs Union.”
McGovern’s Wirral South constituency includes the Vauxhall car plant at Ellesmere Port, and is also close to JLR’s Halewood plant.