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Nissan’s Sunderland factory: It is understood no jobs will be affected by the decision not to make the X-Trail there. We can hope that announcement isn’t untrue, as it was not made by a Conservative MP.

“There’s no cheque book. I don’t have a cheque book,” said Business Secretary Greg Clark on the BBC’s Question Time in 2016, after he was asked if he had done a “sweetheart” deal to keep Nissan in the UK.

He lied.

He had offered a secret package of state aid to Nissan that could have been worth up to £80 million, if the car manufacturer had gone ahead with its plan to make the new X-Trail in Sunderland.

When a state aid package was formally awarded to Nissan last year, it turned out to be worth £61 million – a sum that appears not to have been enough for the carmaker, as it has announced that it will not make the X-Trail in the UK. It made very clear the fact that its reasons include uncertainty over Brexit.

Mr Clark only acknowledged the existence of the state aid award yesterday (February 4), in a letter to Rachel Reeves, the Labour MP who chairs the Business select committee in the House of Commons.

Apparently Esther McVey hadn’t seen the memo and, in an excruciating appearance on LBC radio, repeatedly denied that Nissan’s withdrawal – meaning the loss of a planned 741 new jobs – was due to Brexit. She was put right by Nissan’s Europe division boss Gianluca de Ficchy, after her appearance on the show.

Tory liars: They even lie to each other.

Worse than that – for This Writer – is the fact that Conservatives are happy to make huge amounts of money available for these so-called “sweetheart” deals with businesses, as they are happy to write off huge amounts of tax when it is dodged by the already obscenely-rich.

But they squeeze anybody on low earnings – hard – to make us pay for their extravagances, and they wouldn’t dream of making sure we are paid a proper living wage, or enjoy a proper, dignified benefit system.

Tory priorities: Take everything away from you and lie to you about it.


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