Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
As a former Business Minister before the EU referendum, and apparently as one of the chief “remoaners”, may I make it absolutely clear that the unfortunate demise of Monarch has absolutely nothing to do with Brexit? Those who seek to make it an issue based on Brexit do not do anybody any favours. I commend the Secretary of State not only for his statement but for his hard work and that of his Ministers in doing their utmost to bring everybody back to this country. Will he confirm that Transport Ministers and Business Ministers have been doing their absolute best for Monarch for years? Will he continue to work with Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers to look at how we can open up airports, such as Sharm El Sheik and those in Tunisia, to support the rest of our aviation industry?
I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for her words. She is absolutely right. This is a sad tale of an airline that has been struggling for years. A lot of effort has been put in by many people to try to keep it afloat. It is a real disappointment that they were not able to succeed. She is absolutely right about the Brexit issue. If we want another example, it is only a few weeks since Air France and KLM spent hundreds of millions of pounds on a stake in Virgin Atlantic. Those are not the actions of commercial organisations that believe that Brexit is destroying the British aviation sector. Those who suggest it are simply talking down our country and that is not acceptable. I am therefore very grateful to her for what she says. She is absolutely right. I give her an assurance that the Government will do everything we can to support the sector, to support the people who lost out as a result of Monarch’s collapse, and to continue to ensure we have a strong sector for the future.