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Sat, 28 March 2020

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By Hft
By Dods General Election Hub 2019

Defence minister slams Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson over 'inflammatory' attacks on business

Defence minister slams Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson over 'inflammatory' attacks on business
2 min read

Defence minister Guto Bebb has blasted Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson for attacking business leaders issuing warnings about the impact of Brexit.

Aerospace giant Airbus said on Friday that it was poised to quit the UK in the event that ministers opt for a hard Brexit by leaving both the single market and the customs union.

Health Secretary Mr Hunt hit back over the weekend, accusing the firm of making "completely inappropriate" threats.

The Conservatives' Welsh Assembly leader Andrew RT Davies also dismissed Airbus's warnings as "hyperbole".

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was also reported to have said "f*** business" when told that the CBI was warning about Brexit damaging the economy.

But Mr Bebb, who represents Aberconwy in north Wales, hit out at the responses, telling the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales: "The dismissive attitudes shown towards our business community by senior Cabinet ministers is both unworthy and inflammatory."

He added: "Business wants a good deal and so does the Government. Do the leadership aspirations of multi-millionaires trump the need to listen to the employers and employees of this country?

"It is perhaps understandable that a key part of the economic powerhouse that is north east Wales can be belittled by those with a London centric world view but Andrew aspires to speak for all Wales."

Mr Davies on Sunday defended his attacks on Airbus, saying: "Guto and myself will no doubt meet up shortly and have a pint over this and talk it through.

"The comments that I said on Friday... is the UK government's position."

The row follows a series of high-profile Brexit interventions from businesses in recent days, with car manufacturer BMW urging ministers to flesh out their plans for the UK's exit from the EU.

"If we don't get clarity in the next couple of months we have to start making those contingency plans... which means making the UK less competitive than it is in a very competitive world right now," BMW chief Ian Robertson said.

He added: "That is a decisive issue that ultimately could damage this industry."

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