IT is worth reminding ourselves that a decade ago, the British government was considering buying trains to run on British railways from a French company.

Part of the argument that led to the Hitachi factory being located in Newton Aycliffe was that this was economic madness when we could create our own factory with British jobs building trains for British railways, with a supply chain supporting many local jobs and therefore families.

We are faced with re-running that argument now. It is known that in 18 months time, HS2 will need trains, but if we allow our two train-building factories, in Aycliffe and Derby, to close, we will again be buying from abroad.

It would be madness if, in the age of electric trains, Britain shut down its factories, with the taxpayer footing all the bills and then paying once more to repurpose the site, when we know that there will be a demand for green travel – where will the trains for the east-west Northern Powerhouse rail that everyone says is a necessity come from?

The pro-active way the Government worked to bring Hitachi to Aycliffe was a prime example of levelling up before the term was invented. It would be such a blight on the Government’s record if Hitachi were allowed to close without all possible avenues being explored to keep it open in the short term so it can continue to build for Britain’s railways in the long term.