During a Westminster Hall debate, secured by my colleague Anna Turley, I called the closure of the blast and coke ovens in Redcar an action of industrial vandalism which led to the loss of a strategic asset for our country.
Stephen Kinnock: On the point my hon. Friend has made about what happened in Redcar, does she agree that the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens there was an act of industrial vandalism that led to the loss of a strategic asset for our country? Does she also agree that the steel industry needs to be seen as a strategic asset and in the context of our national security?
Anna Turley: My hon. Friend is right. It was the second-largest blast furnace in Europe and the coke ovens were fantastic; they were capable of producing much more, including foundry coke, for which there was a huge market. It had a huge role still to play in the British steel sector, and we did not have a strategic nationwide approach to looking at those assets and preserving the value they had for our economy and for the future. I know many hon. Friends here want to contribute and share their thoughts and experiences, so I will not take too much time, but I will just give an overview of where we were and where we are now.