Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

NOW IS THE TIME TO PULL TOGETHER; MPs Speak out over Attacks on Corus Jobs

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

NOW IS THE TIME TO PULL TOGETHER; MPs Speak out over Attacks on Corus Jobs

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDY PASSANT

A CALL for leaders in the Teesside community to pull together in the face of the threatened Corus closure has been made by Middlesbrough MP Sir Stuart Bell.

Sir Stuart was speaking in the wake of a blistering attack by Boro chairman Steve Gibson in which he said the Government didn't care about Teesside.

Mr Gibson also said local MPs should stop hiding behind the Labour Party and tell people where they stood on the issue.

Sir Stuart told the Gazette: "It is important that leaders in the Teesside community pull together in these difficult times."

Sir Stuart said that he had been working for two years to get development of gas fields west of the Shetlands, which would provide pounds 200m of steel contracts for new pipelines.

"The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his pre-Budget report said he was encouraging this development and talks are on-going."

He said the Corus Response Group was providing leadership and the Government had allocated pounds 60m for Teesside.

"By pulling together it will not only get over the present difficulties but ensure that the steel mill is mothballed for the shortest possible time."

Redcar MP Vera Baird said: "I am not entering into a squabble, which Mr Gibson seems to want to provoke. He is wrong to abuse my colleagues, me and the Government.

"As Ray Mallon said on Radio Tees last Friday, I have worked hard throughout the crisis at Corus.

"It was I who told Peter Mandelson at the meeting in Westminster last week, at which we gained pounds 60m investment for job creation, that we still have to fight to keep the steelworks. Peter Mandelson accepted that and gave me his full support.

She said she wanted both Mr Gibson and Mr Mallon to ring her "so that we can exchange ideas".

"People in Redcar this weekend were urging me to keep fighting, despite what somebody called 'sniping from the wings', and I will keep fighting, with or without them. …

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