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House of Commons Hansard
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Investment and the UK Economy
28 February 2019
Volume 655
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11. What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of the ongoing negotiations for the UK leaving the EU on investment and the UK economy. [909498]

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The Secretary of State has regular conversations with Cabinet colleagues on all aspects of our EU exit. The UK remains a great place to do business. Only yesterday, INEOS announced £1 billion-worth of investments in the UK oil and chemical industries, something I am sure the hon. Gentleman is about to welcome wholeheartedly.

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Yesterday, I met the Cheshire and Warrington local enterprise partnership, which told me how the Government’s prolonged approach to Brexit negotiations was already having a major effect on business decisions in our locality—this is a concern spread right across the UK. Will the Government act now to protect jobs in my constituency and elsewhere? Will they remove those red lines and negotiate a customs union, close ties with the single market and proper protection for workers?

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I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. I think he can probably guess part of the answer: the best way to do those things that he wants is to vote for the deal. May I gently remind him of something he tweeted in June last year? He wrote:

“I campaigned & voted to remain. As much as I don’t like the result of the referendum, as a democrat I have to respect it.”

He should do so.

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Can the no-deal Minister confirm to the House that the UK is No. 2 in the whole world for foreign direct investment after only China and that although the doom mongers before the referendum said that by now we should have been in recession, with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, this year we are going to have the fastest growth in Europe, with record numbers of people in employment?

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I thank my hon. Friend and constituency neighbour for his question, and I can confirm that. I can also confirm that the economy has grown continuously for the past nine years and is expected to grow throughout the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast period. There are now 3.3 million more people in work than there were in 2010, and the employment rate is at a record high of 75.8%. This country is doing well—is that despite Brexit?