MP hits out at Airbus over Brexit stance

July 04 2018
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Airbus are engaging in 'sabre rattling' and appear to be in a 'state of confusion' over Brexit, according to Filton's MP.

Airbus are engaging in 'sabre rattling' and appear to be in a 'state of confusion' over Brexit, according to Filton's MP.

Jack Lopresti said claims by Filton-based Airbus, that they could be forced to leave the UK after Brexit, were 'empty threats'.

On its website, Airbus said: "The UK exiting the EU next year without a deal – therefore leaving both the single market and customs union immediately and without any agreed transition – would lead to severe disruption and interruption of UK production. This scenario would force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country, severely undermining UK efforts to keep a competitive and innovative aerospace industry, developing high value jobs."

But Mr Lopresti, who backed Brexit, said: "On June 21 I had a meeting at the Airbus offices at Filton, with their Senior Vice President Katherine Bennett, with other Senior Airbus managers, and with Richard Harrington MP, the Minister for Business and Industry. Other Aerospace companies such as GKN and Rolls Royce were also present.

“Airbus, who made a profit reported to be approaching £4bn last year, were requesting further taxpayer funded support from Government.

"They have also invited the Prime Minister to open their new ‘Wing of the Future’ facility in Filton. "At no point was Brexit mentioned by Airbus. Airbus seem to be in a state of confusion about their position.” "Airbus have used these heavy handed tactics before.

"They threatened to leave the UK if we didn’t join the Euro, which, thank goodness, we didn’t. "During the Referendum they tried to interfere in the democratic process by writing letters to their employees instructing them how to vote.”

“In recent months, they have tried to interfere in what was a perfectly legal and legitimate take-over bid by Melrose for GKN, saying: “It would be ‘practically impossible’ to give new work to the Aerospace and Automotive Energy Group should the turnaround specialist take it over”.

"This was another ridiculous empty threat from Airbus.

"There were GKN representatives around the boardroom table. ”

"I have spoken with Government colleagues, who have confirmed that we are working closely with companies to understand their concerns."

“The employment and wellbeing of my constituents as Member of Parliament for Filton and Bradley Stoke will always be my highest priority, and I am struggling to believe this sabre rattling from Airbus is helpful or credible.”