Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier put pressure on DUP to back May's Brexit deal - report

Bombardier in Belfast.
Bombardier in Belfast.
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Bombardier has not denied reports it put pressure on the DUP to back Theresa May's Brexit deal.

The Financial Times reports the aircraft manufacturer - which employs thousands in Northern Ireland - has warned of "serious consequences" of a no-deal exit.

Responding to the claims, the company said: "We continue to engage with stakeholders across government.  We will not comment on any specific engagement.”

The DUP is pushing for "legally binding" change to the withdrawal agreement brokered between the EU and the Prime Minister, arguing a backstop without a time limit would break up the UK.

The party's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said his party was committed to getting a deal but an indefinite backstop was an "unacceptable position".

Bombardier has four factories in Northern Ireland employing 6,000 people and has suffered a turbulent time over the years with numerous cuts to jobs.

Its east Belfast plant manufacturers wings for the Airbus part-owned A220, formerly the C-Series.

The firm did not comment to the Financial Times on its report.

In January this year Bombardier said it was "imperative" a solution was found for an "orderly exit". It said the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit did not help business planning.

That followed after Airbus chief executive Tom Enders warned his company could pull out of the UK branding the handling of Brexit a disgrace.

Stephen Kelly of Manufacturing NI told the Financial Times Bombardier was "strategically important" not just in terms of jobs but also on how it accounts for 10% of Northern Ireland exports. He said its supply chain stretched throughout the country.

The DUP has been asked for a comment.

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