Last week’s poll: what action should follow Honda’s closure of its Swindon plant?

With Honda joining other carmakers in announcing job losses in the UK, we asked our readers what action should be taken by government?


Despite comments from local MPs and, indeed, from Honda itself denying that the UK’s departure from the European Union was the major factor behind the closure decision, many commentators last week were linking the current situation with industry reducing its involvement in the UK with Brexit. It cannot be denied that the recent closure of a free trade deal between the EU and Japan will make it easier for Honda to move all production back to its home country and export to Europe. On the other hand, it is difficult to believe that Brexit uncertainty did not play some role at least, especially when so many other carmakers have also announced plans to roll back UK production.

Nonetheless, almost a third of respondents (32%) believe Brexit was not a factor in Honda’s decision at any level. The flip side is that 33% of those polled now feel that a ‘People’s vote’ is the best response, with many of those presumably hoping for a ‘remain’ option to feature on the ballot paper if a second referendum does materialise. With three cabinet ministers allegedly set to resign if Theresa May doesn’t take steps to prevent a no-deal exit – and with Labour now officially backing another public vote – there has been a shift in momentum away from the ERG and its scorched-earth Brexit plans.

Although a move towards the centre ground appears to be taking place in Westminster as the precipice of no-deal looms, where this ultimately leads is still anyone’s guess. Nearly a fifth (18%) of poll respondents still believe that ensuring a favourable trade deal with the EU should still be the government’s priority, while 10% feel that trade deals with countries beyond the EU should be the focus. Our ‘none of the above’ option was selected by 7% of readers.

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