Government letter reveals planned £80m Nissan support package


However, today, Nissan's Europe division boss wrote to Sunderland factory staff confirming the news and telling them that the model will continue to be made in Japan.

"While the decision was made on broader business grounds, Nissan commented on the need for us to come together and to resolve the question of our future trading relationship with the EU". The city backed leave by 61% in the referendum, but some workers blamed Nissan for keeping silent about the potential consequences of the vote.

Justice Secretary David Gauke has said that Brexit could be delayed in order to achieve an "orderly European Union departure", despite attempts for May to get those unhappy with her Brexit deal on board.

The Government has made bolstering manufacturing linked to Nissan in Sunderland a priority, offering the company £80m in the wake of the Brexit vote in 2016 to safeguard the auto maker's investments in the north east.

Clark said the government would "vigorously pursue continued access to the European market as an objective in future negotiations", adding that: "In any circumstances, the government will ensure that the United Kingdom continues to be one of the most competitive locations for automotive and other advanced manufacturing, within Europe and globally, including sites such as Sunderland which are key to the economy of the North East of England".

"This represents a serious blow to the communities that depend on the jobs Nissan creates and supports", Keir Starmer, the opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokesman, wrote on Twitter.

A source said Nissan received a letter from the government at the time promising extra support in the event that Britain's departure from the European Union hit the competitiveness of its Sunderland plant in north-east England.

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Nissan Motor's decision to shelve plans to produce a new model in Britain is fueling concerns about the effects of Brexit.

Nissan has not exclusively attributed its decision to Brexit, saying that new emissions standards and the change in the diesel market as other contributing factors.

Nissan said it opposed Brexit in 2016.

Nissan also confirmed in its statement that future production of the Nissan Qashqai and Nissan Juke would remain at Sunderland, including next-generation models of those cars.

In a post on social media on Monday, Martin Selmayr, the European Commission's general secretary, said "nobody" on the EU side were planning back down when May next visits Brussels, adding that the bloc was right to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

The British vehicle industry has already seen a dramatic drop in investment since the vote, and business leaders have warned of further blows to the sector after the UK's withdrawal.

However, the failure of Britain's government so far to negotiate a smooth exit plan from the EU has made vehicle manufacturers less willing to use Britain as a European manufacturing centre.