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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April 2005, 02:41 GMT 03:41 UK
Andrew Marr on the MG Rover crisis
BBC political editor Andrew Marr considers the political implications of MG Rover's precarious future.

The end of 100 years of volume car making seems to have arrived.

It's a devastating blow - not only for the people there but also for Labour politicians as they begin an election campaign.

Tony Blair apparently spent 25 minutes on the phone to the Chinese premier begging him to reconsider and put some pressure on so the deal could go ahead, but he was unsuccessful and it's the end of the road for MG Rover.

The government has done, they say, everything they possibly could.

'Loan to nowhere'

They've helped with tax issues, they had offered a 100m bridging loan, providing there was some kind of deal with potential Chinese partners to look forward to.

It's appalling news for the government
Andrew Marr

But once it became clear the deal really wasn't there anymore, it would have been a bridging loan to nowhere and the whole thing has collapsed.

It's appalling news for the government. There are, of course, many political constituencies up there and the story of Rover has been intertwined with the story of politics and British manufacturing for so long - it's a terrible moment.

In the end, the days when any British government - even in the middle of an election campaign, even a Labour government - would come to help a company like this and offer them a genuinely large amount of money to stay in business, even to the point of nationalisation, those days, very very sadly for those people in the Birmingham area, are over.




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