Promises, promises … Greg Clark’s foolishness over Nissan exposed

Letter reassuring carmaker over Sunderland commitment was merely hot air

Now we know why the government was so keen to keep Greg Clark’s letter to Nissan in 2016 under wraps. The document was embarrassing. The business secretary was making promises he couldn’t underwrite and was offering cash he would struggle to reclaim if the Japanese car company didn’t stick to its half of the supposed bargain at Sunderland.

On both scores, the foolishness has been exposed. Clark’s vow that Nissan’s UK plants would not be “adversely affected” by Brexit was merely an expression of hope. Two months before the UK is supposed to leave the European Union, the minister is in no position to guarantee that a no-deal exit can be avoided or, if a deal is secured, say what trading terms with the EU will apply.

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