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Bombardier Project

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2009

For the purposes of clarification, I should say to the hon. Gentleman that Bombardier is not a project; it is actually a global aviation company that has been, and continues to be, very successful around the world, not least in Belfast, where its pioneering new project will create up to 1,200 new jobs, and up to almost 3,000 new jobs in the UK as a whole.

An article in The Guardian on 31 December had the headline, “DUP was rewarded by government for backing 42 days, claims first minister”. According to the article, he said that

“his party’s decision to support counter-terrorism bill helped deliver major economic investment for Northern Ireland”.

He also said that the Government

“came up with the goods in terms of the Bombardier deal ... they bent over backwards to help us.”

Whatever the merits of this investment, does not the Secretary of State agree that this smells of pork barrel politics at its worst and without principle?

It is perhaps encouraging to see that the hon. Gentleman now takes to reading his information about Northern Ireland in The Guardian. Clearly the one big difference between his party and the Labour party is that what we were prepared to do consistently since 2004 with Bombardier was to hold discussions to see how we could help bring jobs to Northern Ireland. Significantly, thanks to the assistance of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Government since 2004, which has allowed the company to secure the investment that has come to Northern Ireland, up to 1,000 new jobs will come to Northern Ireland. I am very sorry that where the Conservatives will do nothing, we will secure the jobs for the future.