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Business Secretary Sajid Javid flies back from Australia to face steel crisis - but MPs WON'T be recalled





Business Secretary Sajid Javid flies back from Australia to face steel crisis - but MPs WON'T be recalled Business Secretary Sajid Javid flies back from Australia to face steel crisis - but MPs WON'T be recalled

Shamefaced Business Secretary Sajid Javid is cutting short a trip to Australia to face the steel crisis.

The Business Secretary will return from New South Wales to South Wales within hours - but sunkissed David Cameron is refusing to recall Parliament.

The Tory minister angered campaigners by flying out for a trade mission at the same time as a crunch meeting decided the future of British steel.

His touchdown in Sydney was marred within minutes as it emerged Britain's flailing industry faced losing up to 40,000 jobs.

News leaked last night that Indian steelmaker Tata had decided to sell its British assets, including Britain's biggest steelworks in Port Talbot.

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Now Mr Javid is ending his trip at least two days early to return to Britain for crisis meetings.

The move comes after Jeremy Corbyn cut short a holiday with his wife in Devon today to visit stricken steelworks in South Wales.

But Prime Minister David Cameron - who returns today from his sojourn in Lanzarote - has refused the Labour leader's call to force MPs back to Parliament.

Mr Corbyn wrote to him earlier today: "MPs must have the chance now to debate the future of steel and hold ministers to account for their failure to intervene.

“Steelworkers and their families will be desperately worried about the uncertainty. The Government is in disarray over what action to take.

"Ministers must act now to protect the steel industry, which is at the heart of manufacturing in Britain and vital to its future."

But a Number 10 spokesman said: "Ministers will continue to hold briefings to update representatives of other parties on the situation but we have no plans to recall Parliament.

"Our focus is on finding a long-term sustainable future for steel making at Port Talbot and across the UK."

A source at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills suggested Mr Javid had considered flying back the moment he arrived.

But he maintained meetings with Australian leaders, including the country's Prime Minister, before "consolidating" the less urgent items at the end of his schedule.

Mr Corbyn, who had been enjoying an Easter break in Exmouth, has now started a petition calling on the Prime Minister to U-turn and recall Parliament.

It was signed by more than 6,000 people in its first hour on the government's official petitions website.

The Labour leader said the government should "take a public stake in steelmaking to protect the industry" if necessary - echoing the multi-billion pound banking bailout under Gordon Brown.

Business minister Anna Soubry said today 'temporary ownership' of Tata steel's assets could be an option.

But she was shot down by her boss Mr Javid, who told journalists in Australia he did not think nationalisation was "the solution".

He said: "At this stage, given the announcement from Tata has just come out, it's important I think we talk to them properly and understand the exact situation and we look at all viable options.

"I don't think nationalisation is going to be the solution because I think everyone would want a long-term viable solution.

"And if you look around Europe and elsewhere I think nationalisation is rarely the answer, particularly if you take into account the big challenges the industry faces."


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Business Secretary Sajid Javid flies back from Australia to face steel crisis - but MPs WON'T be recalled
Bernie Hall

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