MP urges government to re-start stalled talks over Shop Direct

A GOVERNMENT level meeting to discuss the future of Shop Direct in Shaw has been put on hold because of Britain’s Brexit uncertainty.

Shop Direct site in Shaw

The Linney Lane distribution factory will close in 2020 with the expected loss of 2,000 jobs.

Talks, due to be held at the site on March 14, were cancelled because of Brexit related votes in Parliament.

Before they could be re-scheduled Richard Harrington MP, the minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, resigned his post in protest at Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit proposals.

Mr Harrington’s replacement has yet to be announced.

Now Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams, whose constituency includes Shaw and Crompton, has written to BEIS Secretary of State Greg Clark asking for a new date to be set.

“While I respect Richard Harrington’s decision to ‘speak truth to power’ his departure means the meeting with Shop Direct staff has been left in limbo,” said Mrs Abrahams.

“Theresa May’s Brexit chaos mustn’t be allowed to stop the Shop Direct talks with the Government.

“So, I’ve written to Greg Clark requesting that whoever has taken over this portfolio fulfils the commitment to visit Shop Direct staff.

“The Government have taken action to support workers at the Honda factory in Swindon and rightly so but now we need to see the same level of commitment to our local workers.”

In her letter to Mr Clark, she added: “Richard had agreed to visit the Shop Direct site in my constituency and meet with staff, directors, Usdaw representatives and other members of the Shop Direct Task Force.

“After some delay we managed to arrange a visit for Thursday March 14, 2019 but this had to be rescheduled due to Brexit related votes in Parliament.

“We were in the process of arranging a new date just before Richard resigned.

“This closure is impacting many workers and small businesses in my constituency as well as across Greater Manchester.

“There has been some delay in arranging the initial visit so I am keen to arrange a visit as soon as conveniently possible.”

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