A LABOUR MP has criticised the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and North-East MP for “refusing” to believe concerns that were raised by businesses, during a meeting which discussed the future of the plastics industry in the event of a No-Deal Brexit.

On Twitter, Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald criticised the Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland and Treasury Minister, Simon Clarke for “refusing to accept or understand the existential threat” to the plastics industry if the UK left without a deal, while he criticised the Government’s approach to securing a deal.

Mr Clarke rebuffed Mr McDonald’s claims and said: “As is your refusal to accept a democratic result – and indeed to accept the challenge of a General Election if you feel so strongly.”

Their argument on social media flared after the roundtable meeting, which was held with plastics industry representatives and businesses to originally discuss the ways of improving plastic recycling, was overtaken with Brexit concerns.

After the meeting, Mr McDonald said: “We heard at first hand the difficulties that these major companies were struggling with in the face of the Brexit chaos.

“They are international companies and it was clear to me that their international boards, given the Brexit disruption, no longer regard their UK plants as key to their operations as once they did.

“They are more than alive to the contingency of re-focusing their operations overseas, but the minister seemed to be in denial as to scale of the crisis that the sector faces.”

Mr McDonald said firms had made it “abundantly clear” that a No-Deal Brexit would threaten their existence.

He said: “My real fear is that these businesses where margins are already extremely tight, will close and the jobs and industries that we lose will never return if we leave the EU without a deal.”

But on Twitter, Mr Clarke said: “What they (firms) need is resolution to this impasse (deadlock).

“Not marching the country up to the point of leaving and then Labour sabotaging the process, again and again and again.”

Mr McDonald then referred to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial decision to prorogue Parliament.

He said: “You’re too busy shutting down Parliament and avoiding scrutiny.

“We’ll have an election once we’ve stopped this No-Deal madness and then the people should decide.”

In response, Mr Clarke hit back and said: “We are negotiating and we are leaving.”