AN URGENT debate in the House of Commons is being called for in light of the expected announcement by Ford today.
Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes has asked for the debate on the plant’s future at Westminster today.
She said swift intervention was vital if the plant was to be saved should Ford bosses decide to pull out.
She said: “This would be incredibly bad news for Swaythling in particular but also Southampton and the wider region.
“There are 500 jobs at the plant, but this would also be horrendous news for people in the supply chain.
“Southampton has been the home of the Transit for many years, and it would be an absolute tragedy when the motor sector is doing well in other parts of the country if the plant was to close.”
Southampton Itchen MP John Denhamhas also called on the Government to step in.
Mr Denham said ministers should “do what they could” to stop Ford pulling out of the city, if that was their plan.
He said: “It would be a huge blow.
It is the last place in the UK where Ford still make complete vehicles. In many ways it would mean the end of Ford’s involvement in the UK.
“I don’t think that the Government should simply say that it is unfortunate.
“It might be Ford’s strategy to maybe shift all of its production to other EU and non-EU countries and I think that the Government needs to put very strong pressure on Ford to rethink their decision, if closing the Southampton plant is the decision they have made.”
Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead said: “It looks potentially devastating if indeed they pull the plug on the plant.
“It appears at a level where the Government really ought to get involved urgently.”
Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne added: “I would be appalled if it was to close, and it would entirely go against the assurance we had from senior Ford management at the time of the last restructure.”
Employment Minster Mark Hoban, the MP for Fareham, was unable to comment as no announcements had been made.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said there had been no meetings with Ford bosses to discuss the expected announcement.
However, the Government is “in constant contact” with the company, he said.