In a boost to Brexit campaigners looking to leave the European Union (EU), aircraft builder Boeing has selected Britain to house the company’s European headquarters, regardless of the outcome of June’s referendum.
Defying the Remain campaign’s ‘Project Fear’-style warnings that a Leave vote in June would drive international businesses out of the UK, Boeing confirmed its new European hub will be based in the UK irrespective of the result, reports This Is Money.
The company announced that Sir Michael Arthur, current President of Boeing UK & Ireland, will be running the company’s European operations from the UK in a bid to strengthen “regional alignment”. Sir Michael said:
“The prosperous partnership between our country and our company goes from strength to strength. The whole Boeing team is committed to the UK, our customers and our partners for the long-term.”
Welcoming the news, UKIP Transport spokesman and Member of the European Parliament Jill Seymour described it as “a massive vote of confidence in Britain and its ability to be the centre of Global business.” She said:
“This is a massive vote of confidence in the UK, and shows that the referendum result will have no bearing on our importance in the world’s economy in the eyes of our biggest investors.
“Boeing has around 2,000 staff in the UK, and has invested £1.8 billion here. Why would the company pledge its future so confidently to Britain if there was any truth in the claims that a Brexit will wreck our economy?”
The move is the first of the the U.S. aerospace company’s significant revamps under new Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg, reports the Financial Times. Marc Allen, President of Boeing International, explained:
“These changes sharpen Boeing’s strategic focus on Europe, make us more efficient in how we operate and emphasise localised decision making on a pan-European basis.”
UKIP’s London Mayoral candidate, Peter Whittle, said:
“This is fantastic news and a great boost for London, a real vote of confidence in our great city. London truly is open for business and I am glad that Boeing will be making London its base for its entire European operation.
“Today’s news also puts to the lie the scaremongering by Sadiq Khan and others that jobs in London rely on our membership of the EU.”