The last week or so has seen serious speculation around the future of the Hitachi plant at Newton Aycliffe.

This is a site I have visited many times since being elected as the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield.

It is an operation that is important to my constituents not just whether they are employees or part of the supply chain but also because of the iconic symbolism of the Hitachi brand and its association with modern railways.

It is incredibly important that all possible efforts are made to keep this business located here in Aycliffe at the home of passenger railways. The first passenger railway in the world was loaded onto the tracks at the Aycliffe levels just yards from the Hitachi factory.

I continue to work with everyone from Hitachi Management and the Unions to the Secretary of State and his team as we try to find a solution.

I find it incredibly disappointing that the Labour party are trying to use this challenge as a stick to beat the Government with and trying to imply that an easy solution is possible that costs the Government nothing and could be delivered at the stroke of a pen!

It seems as though any Labour politician who is even so much as passing through our region now claims intense and detailed understanding and is clear that it could be resolved in an instant. I am sorry but this is just the continuation of Labour saying anything that they think will carry favour to get them elected before they then revert to type and break their promises.

I would ask anyone reading their disingenuous nonsense to consider the following. Why would the Government not deliver a solution at the stroke of a pen if it could?

There is only one reason and that is because it can’t be done! They are saying the Government has sat on its hands whilst it has been quite the reverse with Government exploring all possible ways to find a solution with Hitachi, but it has not been possible so far.

It is so hypocritical for Labour to be saying this when it is well known that not long ago when Labour held the pen in their hands re the Nexus contract, they placed the contract overseas as they said they had to follow rules!

So, they are in effect saying that, the Conservative Government shouldn't comply with procurement law and instead spend taxpayers money on expensive law suits, whilst simultaneously making no impact on this problem as it would all fall into a legal minefield with no timely outcome.

I and the Secretary of State's view is that we need to focus on what can be done rather than offer false hope of delivering solutions that arent feasible.

In his public letter on X debunking the Shadow Transport Secretary's claims, Mark Harper concludes that he “remains committed to working with officials in his department, colleagues across Government and manufacturers to identify what can be done to support the rolling stock manufacturing sector in the short, medium and long term.”

I encourage everyone to read this letter which shows the level of commitment this Government is making to support Hitachi.

I am completely behind them and as demonstrated I will work with anyone and everyone to support the team at Hitachi and I just wish others would stop trying to play politics distracting from this clear priority.