It looks like Nissan is about to cancel investment in its Sunderland manufacturing plant, where it had promised to build the new model of X-Trail SUV.
According to Sky News, the Japanese company will announce on Monday that instead of ploughing a significant investment into the Sunderland factory to make the car here -- as it originally said it would do after receiving government "reassurances" about Brexit in 2016 -- it will cancel the plans and manufacture it elsewhere.
The cancellation shouldn't affect the 7,000 people who already work at the plant, but it does mean the hundreds of new jobs the investment would have created will no longer be available. It's also yet another nail in the coffin of Britain's future as a global competitor in pretty much anything once we back out of the EU in two months' time.
Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson expressed concern on Twitter:
If confirmed, this would represent deeply troubling news for the north east economy. So many jobs and livelihoods depend on Nissan’s success https://t.co/VwlfytkZcB
— Bridget Phillipson (@bphillipsonMP) February 2, 2019
While reaction from the public was a mix of despair and Brexit-bashing:
— ALAN (@alan_darbyshire) February 2, 2019
Sunderland voted for Ukip and #brexitshambles so if Nissan don't invest in the X-Trail, then they have no one to blame.
— ianjedi48%Jam (@ianjedi24) February 2, 2019
Hardly ‘Project Fear’ when people can be guaranteed worse off. Shameful politics causing this mess. So many people I know still think there will be upsides to Brexit. There just aren’t.
Nissan 'U-turn' expected on new X-Trail SUV in Sunderland https://t.co/ITmtBsartN
— Martin Greenbank (@MartinGreenbank) February 2, 2019
— Hardwick Labour (@HardwickLabour) February 2, 2019
Come on #Brexit warriors tell us how Nissan cancelling the X-Trail is nothing to with Brexit and will actually be good for the people of Sunderland in the long run. It’ll wean them off their dependence on jobs.
— Iain Macintosh (@IainMacAndDog) February 2, 2019
— Karen K #FBPE (@mojitobot) February 2, 2019
We'll see on Monday if Sky's intel turns out to be correct, but with 8 weeks to go and still no sign of any reprieve from the no-deal national shambles, we wouldn't be surprised.
Main image: the NRMA via Flickr CC