A plea in the Commons from Stockton North Labour MP Alex Cunningham for an assurance that chemical companies on Teesside will have no impediment to their businesses if we get a no deal Brexit was rejected by the Secretary of State for leaving the EU.
Concerned that with just 44 days before the crucial summit of EU leaders to discuss Brexit, the Stockton North MP asked:
“Ministers have implied in the past that the chemical industry can take comfort that good progress has been made on the future of the EU regulation concerning the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals, which governs, among other things, the production and quality standards for chemicals.
“Can the Secretary of State give chemical companies on Teesside the assurance that REACH will apply and that there will be no other impediments to their business if we get a no deal Brexit?”
In reply the Secretary of State said he couldn’t give such an assurance:
“As the hon. Gentleman will know, our White Paper includes proposals for continued co-operation and stability in this area. There is no deal until there is a whole deal, and although my thoughts and ambitions are with him and with his constituents on this point, I am afraid that I will not give out snippets from the negotiation room.
“The reality is that we need to present the package as a whole when we have negotiated it, so that people can see it in a balanced and rounded way.”
Speaking after the questions, Alex said:
“With just over 40 days until the EU summit and just six months to the date we are supposed to leave the EU, there are no agreements, no assurances for our chemical companies but just an attitude of – we’ll have to see what happens.
“That’s not good enough. International companies have production and investment decisions to make that could help industry on Teesside thrive – but the ongoing uncertainty means they can’t make them.”