I visited the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port today to see for myself the production of the superb new Astra which was voted European Car of the Year.

It is rolling off the assembly line at one of the most productive manufacturing sites in the whole of the UK. Local Labour MPs Justin Madders, Alison McGovern and myself were joined by shadow Brexit Secretary Kier Starmer and Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey for a tour of the production line.

We were briefed on the likely impact of Brexit on local jobs if the Government do not agree with Labour that we need continued access to the Single European Market as well as barrier free and tariff free trade to safeguard our automotive sector and the well-paid jobs it creates for the future.

The Ellesmere Port plant is one of the most productive plants around, with constant innovation maintaining its impressive track record of winning the race to produce new models. UNITE, who organise the workforce, have achieved 100% trade union membership at the plant and work in close partnership with the company to maintain jobs and opportunities. Our local economy is not only bolstered by its nearly 2000-strong directly employed workforce but also by many more thousands of jobs in the local supply chain. With 85% of the cars made locally being exported to Europe the challenges of achieving a worthwhile Brexit deal are obvious.

That’s why Britain needs a proper industrial strategy so that we can grow our manufacturing sector and continue to lead the world in advanced manufacturing and innovation.

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