Hitachi Rail Europe has officially thrown its weight behind MP Phil Wilson’s campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union.
Mr Wilson, the Labour MP for Sedgefield, is chair of a Labour group of MPs campaigning to remain part of the EU.
He told Prime Minister David Cameron during last week’s PMQs that 80% of businesses in his constituency backed his campaign after he carried out a constituency-wide survey on the issue.
He has also suggested Hitachi, which opened its new £82m rail facility on Aycliffe Business Park last September, would favour a ‘stay’ vote in a referendum, likely to be held in the summer.
And the Japanese firm has backed Mr Wilson’s calls.
Hitachi’s director of communications, Paul Barker, wrote in a letter: “Hitachi, like other multinationals, invested in the UK in order to access the whole of the EU market, and unimpeded access to the EU market is fundamental for our position in the UK.
“Whilst we recognise this is a decision for UK voters, from our overall business perspective, Hitachi hopes the referendum will result in a positive decision to remain in the EU.”
Last week, Mr Wilson told David Cameron: “More than 80% of businesses in my constituency want to stay in the EU. More than 50% of the jobs are linked to trade with the EU.
“Our membership is vital to jobs, prosperity and security, and that is why Labour Members are united in campaigning to stay in Europe.
“Do we not need to end the uncertainty, have the referendum as soon as possible, and campaign to stay in the EU?”
Mr Cameron said in a speech in Hamburg yesterday that was “vital to keep Britain in a reformed EU” to face down “dangerous and murderous ideologies” and stand up for democracy and the rule of law.
His address was a final set-piece event before meeting other EU leaders in Brussels next week, where he will need to win the backing of all 27 other member states for his reform demands.