Sputnik: Today Honda have confirmed that they will close their factory in Swindon putting over 7,000 jobs at risk, citing Brexit uncertainty. What urgent actions should we be seeing from Theresa May's government to protect and keep these manufacturers in Britain after Brexit?
Pete Durnell: The free trade agreements that EU signed with Japan have triggered some of this desire to move back to Japan. It's made it a lot more attractive for them to do that; in regards to the question of what we can actually do about it — I mean we presumably were at the table when this trade agreement was drawn up, which is saying something about our influence. If we can actually act after Brexit, we can give things like state aid and assistance to companies that do still manufacture in the UK, hopefully, to potentially re-employee some of the skilled workers who lose their jobs because you can't do that when you're in the EU — its specifically outlawed. The other thing which we could do, which I think we definitely should is incentivize buying British. So where we got companies who are manufacturing here, we can help them to employ more people by incentivizing buying British.
Pete Durnell: I think the EU will go down to the wire without any doubt. They're going to play hardball because they know that there are plenty of people over here trying to undermine the process. I do think that if we do carry on and actually take it to the wire, which is unfortunately the way these things work, that they will actually budge. Essentially they're facing recession in Germany, a bit of a people's revolt in France (The Yellow Jackets), they have a credit crunch hitting Italy or Italy's banks, Eastern Europe is refusing to take Mrs. Merkel's migrants on the whole, Southern Europe is still struggling from a strong Euro… so the EU has never been weaker. I think a no deal Brexit would very much potentially be the straw that breaks the EU's back — they are desperate to avoid it just as much as we would like to avoid it. So absolutely, we should stay firm and basically take it to the wire because that is when the EU will budge unfortunately that's the way they work.
Pete Durnell: I would hope they've been considering them for a long time and preparing — I suspect they haven't as much as they should have done. Remainers like to talk about taking no deal off the table and there's one reason for that predominantly, and they know that it is the only meaningful Brexit option left. If it's May's deal, it was effectively staying in until the EU wants to allow us to go so don't hold your breath and also they will extract a lot more concessions, fishing water rights etc. in order to actually get out of the customs union and the single market. Absolutely they should be looking at 'no deal', absolutely preparing for it and realize it will cost money but that money is going to be absolutely well spent because the cost of going into a terrible deal, like Mrs May's deal, is going to far outweigh any costs that we should spend level to prepare for a 'no deal'. Yes, we should be looking at a 'no deal'. Yes we should be preparing for it and spending money on it and it will be repaid 10 times over if we actually managed to get a good deal out of the EU instead of Theresa May's awful one.
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