Steel crisis: Green Party back Labour in demanding Parliament recall

Green Party MP Carline Lucas backs demand from Labour for Parliament to be recalled to debate steel crisis.
Green Party MP Carline Lucas backs demand from Labour for Parliament to be recalled to debate steel crisis.

Jeremy Corbyn claims the Prime Minister has offered 'no solutions' following this morning's crisis meeting on the British steel industry while the Green Party back calls for MPs to return from their break.

The crisis meeting on the steel industry convened by the Prime Minister this morning was attended by the Business Secretary Sajid Javid and steel minister Anna Soubry and discussed the future of the Port Talbot site in Wales following Tata Steel pulling out of its UK assets.

Members of the Unite union and Tata Steel workers gather in Parliament Square, London, in Autumn 2015 ahead of a protest calling on the government to help save the UK steel industry.

Members of the Unite union and Tata Steel workers gather in Parliament Square, London, in Autumn 2015 ahead of a protest calling on the government to help save the UK steel industry.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn took aim Mr Cameron's response as he was backed by the Green Party in demanding that Parliament be recalled from Easter recess to debate the issue.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas claims ministers have so far been 'asleep on the job' and has written to the Prime Minister this morning to make the case for urgent Government action to support the sector.

Mr Cameron said: "We are committed to working with the Welsh government and Tata on a long term sustainable future for British steel making.

"Workers and their families face a worrying time, and our priority is to help those likely to be affected."

Tata Steel announced they are selling their assets in Britain, which will include sites at York, Port Talbot in Wales, and Hartlepool and Darlington in the North East of England.

The future of 300 jobs at York are uncertain.

Mr Corbyn said: “The Prime Minister has offered no solutions today to the threat to our steel industry. His government is failing thousands of Tata steelworkers whose jobs are on the line.

“It’s not good enough for David Cameron to stand by and say the situation is difficult. He should listen to over 100,000 people who’ve already signed the petition calling for parliament to be recalled to debate this crisis. He must act now to protect the heart of manufacturing industry and take a public stake in steel.”

Angela Eagle MP, Labour's Shadow First Secretary of State and Shadow Business Secretary, said Mr Cameron is failing to show leadership.

She said he has shown 'no sign' of getting to grips with a 'very serious situation that has been allowed to worsen on his watch'.

She said: “As a matter of urgency the Prime Minister needs to meet with representatives of steel workers to develop a plan to save the industry, and recall Parliament to address this growing crisis.”

Caroline Lucas MP said: "This week’s crisis in Port Talbot and elsewhere has not come out of the blue – Britain’s steel industry has been in trouble for a long time now. Yet the government appears to have been asleep on the job.

“In December, the Business, Innovation and Skills committee of MPs noted, in its review of the government’s response to last year’s Redcar steel crisis, that other EU countries – including Germany, France, Italy and Spain – have done far more to protect their industries from the collapse in global steel prices, and the dumping of excess steel by China.

“Yet Sajid Javid has had the gall to blame the EU for not introducing tariffs on Chinese steel that is being unfairly dumped on world markets and putting higher quality European production at risk, when it was precisely the British Government that blocked higher tariffs proposed by the Commission.

"No wonder some are concluding that ministers are refusing to protect our steel industry in order to attract Chinese finance for Hinkley Point and pretending it’s about free trade.

“The Prime Minister’s reluctance to contemplate public ownership shows yet again a government putting ideology above practical support.

"Time is now of the essence. Opposition parties need to collectively step up to the plate vacated by Tory ministers, and come together to formulate a plan not only for protecting the 40,000 jobs now at risk, but ensuring a long-term, low-carbon future for Britain’s steel industry. That’s why I’m adding my voice to the increasingly loud and urgent calls for Parliament to be recalled.”