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More problems for Labour

#1
I know that most of you will be concentrating on the more political side of New Labour's (criminal???) activity, but here is a taste of what the rest of us get on the business side.

Labour's long history of back seat driving

By George Trefgarne, Economics Editor (Filed: 05/04/2005)

The failure of the Government's attempt to engineer a bailout of Rover by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation would be the second blow to Labour's hold over key marginal seats in the Birmingham area in 24 hours.
Yesterday, a judge ordered two council seat elections to be rerun after a postal voting scandal involving Labour activists.

All governments have a history of interfering in Rover and its predecessor, British Leyland. But ministerial involvement in Rover's affairs by this Government has been at the highest level. Last month, Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, even held talks in China himself.

But the most controversial intervention came five years ago, when the company was on the brink and Stephen Byers, then Trade Secretary, was accused of doctoring a press release issued by the DTI on behalf of Rover's then owner BMW.

Mr Byers was scrambling to stop Rover being sold by BMW to a venture capitalist called Alchemy, which was planning to cut production and focus on sports cars. Alchemy would have saved the company but only by cutting jobs dramatically and ending mass production. BMW chairman Joachim Milberg claimed that in December 1999 he had warned Mr Byers that Rover would be in serious trouble without a £152m government grant, which was being delayed by a European Union inquiry into state aid.

Mr Byers subsequently denied he had been warned. He said he was taken by surprise when BMW announced its plans in March 2000 to sell Rover to Alchemy. Tony Blair even rang Mr Milberg on March 17 to express his anger. A Number 10 spokesman said he told BMW: "That is not the way the Prime Minister believes people should do business."

Two weeks later, the disputed press release was issued by the DTI. It said Mr Milberg had told Mr Byers in December: "If the structural aid is not approved, BMW has to consider its investment plans for the R30 at Longbridge." However, BMW then claimed the words "for the R30" had been added to the text it had originally agreed to.

The extra words allowed Mr Byers to suggest he was only warned about the future of a new Rover model, not the entire company. Despite a select committee investigation, the full story has never been established. Nor have the roles of Mr Blair and Mr Byers in the promotion of the Phoenix consortium, which ultimately bought Rover and thereby made huge sums for its founders, ever been totally explained.

On April 5 2000 Mr Blair was tackled by the then leader of the Opposition, William Hague, in the Commons. Mr Blair replied: "What I find absolutely ridiculous is the Rt Hon Gentleman focusing on who knew what when. Surely the real issue is what we do about the thousands of people who face losing their jobs."

Rob Hayward, an election analyst, said Birmingham is vital to Labour's electoral prospects: "Birmingham is one enormous marginal constituency. When New Labour won Edgbaston in 1997, it knew it had a landslide victory. The Longbridge operations are in Birmingham Northfield and affect 11 constituencies directly. "But I think Rover's fate could also have a psychological impact on a total of 29 constituencies in the West Midlands, where there are small engineering companies in every side street."
This has been going on for years, and the Phoenix mob seem to have an unusually close relationship with B*Liar.
 
#3
Do we have such a thing as Parl-ARRSE-mentary privilege? If so I say B-liar is a crook and a nepotist...if we don't then...erm...I just think he is a crook and a nepotist!
 

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