Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”This is not to do with Brexit; it is to do with supply chain issues following the pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine”

Kemi Badenoch, Business Secretary, House of Commons

Facts

When questioned about issues within the UK’s automotive sector, Kemi Badenoch stated that these problems were not to do with Brexit, but had arisen due to the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. 

Her comments came as shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds warned that the “automotive sector has issued warning cry after warning cry that government policy risks shipping jobs overseas”

Two days earlier, Vauxhall’s parent company Stellantis said that it will be unable to keep a commitment to make electric vehicles in the UK without changes to the EU trade deal as a tariff deadline approaches. 

Stellantis were joined by Ford and Jaguar Land Rover who also warned that the transition to electric vehicles will be knocked off course unless the UK and EU delay stricter “rulers of origins”, due to kick in next year, that could add tariffs on car exports. 

Verdict

Whilst Brexit is likely not the only factor driving the current crisis within the UK’s automotive industry, it is misleading to suggest it is not a factor at all, as Kemi Badenoch does here. Kemi Badenoch was therefore misleading parliament. 

According to the Ministerial Code,  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.  Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.” Kemi Badenoch was misleading parliament in defiance of the Ministerial Code, a resignation offence.

We are grateful to the Department of Business and Trade for replying to our email. We quote in full the substantial content of the department’s reply.

  • Since we agreed the TCA, unforeseen and shared external supply chain shocks have impacted the auto industry, increasing the costs of raw materials and battery components for Electric Vehicles, making it harder for them to meet the changing Rules of Origin from 2024.  

  • This is an issue that affects businesses in the UK and the EU, and we are working hard to find a solution.

  • The Business Secretary is acutely aware of this issue and at every opportunity she has raised it directly with her counterparts in the EU.

  • Companies continue to show confidence in the UK, announcing major investments across the country including: over £4 billion from Tata to open a gigafactory; £1 billion from Nissan and Envision to create an EV manufacturing hub in Sunderland; £100m from Stellantis for their site in Ellesmere Port; and £380m from Ford to make Halewood their first EV components site in Europe.

  • We are ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of automotive innovation as well as securing jobs in this critical industry and its wider supply chain.

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