The future of Lancashire’s aerospace industry would be in jeopardy if Britain voted to leave the EU, senior politicians said on a visit to the county.
Alan Johnson, leader of the Labour in for Britain campaign, and Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle visited BAE Systems in Samlesbury to highlight industry support for remaining in the EU.
Mr Johnson said workers from the shop floor upwards were “very worried” about a possible Brexit and the effect that would have on BAE gaining orders around the world.
The company makes the Eurofighter Typhoon with its European partners, the Hawk trainer jet and parts of the American and F-35 fighter jets in Warton and Samlesbury.
The two politicians toured Samlesbury and spoke to Unite union representatives who highlighted workers’ support for a vote to remain in the EU.
The chairman of BAE Systems, Sir Roger Carr, has signed a letter with other business leaders in support of remaining in the EU.
Mr Johnson said it would make life extremely difficult for BAE Systems and its counterparts in the future if they were not part of a consortium with other European countries.
He said it would be pointless to try to gain orders outside of the EU rather than from within, which enabled it to trade tarriff-free.
Mr Johnson said he was delighted to to see BAE’s young apprentices at the Samlesbury site.
“I’m delighted to say they had all registered to vote,” he said. “It’s up to them how they vote but they have a choice. They are vital to the future.”
Angela Eagle said she acknowledged the EU had brought with it red tape – but she said some of it was necessary.
“Some of the rules regarding workers’ rights are very important. I have no doubt that the Tories would take us right back if they were able to,” said Ms Eagle.