The Business Minister Richard Harrington, following some comments from Airbus surrounding no deal, has dared the PM to sack him in one of the more unusual comments of the year. The minister was speaking about comments from Airbus’ Chief executive who called the government’s handling of Brexit “a disgrace”.
The MP for Watford who is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry & Energy in a statement said:
“I am very happy to be public about it (the consequences of No deal) and very happy if the Prime Minister decides I am not the right person to do the business industry job”
He continued on to say
“A no deal Brexit would be a disaster for our economy, I was delighted to read Airbus’ comments this morning because it is telling it like it is.”
The comments mark clear frustration from a minister about the PM’s plans and the government’s handling of Brexit at this crucial stage.
The comments from Airbus are just another warning from British manufacturing companies about the damage a No Deal Brexit would cause. The planemaker’s chief executive, Tom Enders, said Airbus:
“will have to make potentially very harmful decisions for the UK”
Airbus employs 14,000 people in the UK. 6,000 jobs at its main wings factory at Broughton in Wales, as well as 3,000 at Filton, near Bristol, where wings are designed and supported. Mr Enders said it was a disgrace that two years after the referendum, businesses are still do not have a plan for the future.
Airbus is not the only company warning about the dangers of No Deal. The CBI have warned against a No Deal Brexit, and Sony have announced that they will transfer their European HQ from the UK to Holland to avoid disruptions caused by Brexit. Appliance makers Dyson also recently announced a relocation of its headquarters to Singapore, from Wiltshire.
Opposition to Brexit from Airbus is hardly new. The company warned of the potential dangers Brexit would cause to its business long before the referendum took place. Last year, the planemakers issued a risk assessment, stating that a No Deal Brexit would force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK and its presence in the country all together.
This comes as the Dutch government announced that more than 250 companies are in touch with the Dutch government about relocating to the Netherlands because of Brexit.
Michiel Bakhuizen, a spokesman for the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, said: “The number of businesses we are in contact with for a possible arrival is growing. At the start of 2017 it was 80, at the start of 2018 150, and now it’s more than 250.
Adding: “This increase will continue and it’s not strange, because there is great uncertainty at the moment in Britain. And if there is one thing that’s bad for business, it’s uncertainty.”