Business Secretary Greg Clark did not merely make a secret payment, as the media are saying today. Under pressure in 2016 from left-wing guests and host David Dimbleby, he repeatedly told Question Time viewers that there no financial incentive had been offered
The media has given some coverage to the statement by Business Secretary Greg Clark that Nissan will have to ‘re-apply’ for a special fund from the government now that the company has announced that it will not build its new model in the UK post-Brexit, as it had said it would.
They have largely skimmed over the fact that the payment was agreed secretly.
But it was not merely secret. When challenged directly whether the government had offered financial sweeteners to the Japanese car-maker in return for its commitment – at a time when Theresa May was desperate for any manufacturer to shore up her Brexit credibility – Business Secretary Greg Clark lied outright to the public during an appearance on the BBC’s Question Time programme in October 2016.
When Clark was asked directly and persistently by guests Ken Loach and Keir Starmer, as well as by then-host David Dimbleby, Clark tried to simply keep repeating that the government had only offered assurances and to claim it was the Tories’ good relationship with Nissan that was decisive.
But when they would not stop asking, he eventually lied. The programme has long since expired from the BBC’s iPlayer and is not easy to find, but here it is for SKWAWKBOX readers:
The government had, in fact, promised Nissan funding of up to £80 million to produce its new model here – and Clark has now been forced to tell them to re-apply if they want it – which is a pretty big ‘cheque-book’.
When the Tories were officially on the hook, telling the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) about the impact of Brexit, the government merely refused to say what the financial cost of Nissan’s assurances would be, they refused flat-out to answer – as the SKWAWKBOX revealed at the time.
But on the BBC to an audience of millions, they flat-out lied.
The SKWAWKBOX told its readers at the time that the idea that the Tories had not promised a huge amount of public money was patent nonsense. That has now been exposed.
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