Peugeot should examine union proposals to keep open its factory in Ryton, Coventry, Tony Blair said yesterday.

He was responding to criticism from MPs that the company was refusing to look at plans from the trade unions.

"I certainly agree that it's important the company give the union's alternative proposals to keep Ryton open their most serious consideration and we will do whatever we can to make sure that they do," he said during Prime Minister's questions.

"In the end this will have to be a commercial decision and I think everyone understands that."

The effect on businesses and the community of closing the plant will be the subject of a major meeting held this week.

The Peugeot Partnership, which was set up in the wake of the car manufacturer's announcement that it was halting production in 2007, will meet for the second time tomorrow.

A total of 2,300 jobs are set to go.

The group, which includes individuals from a host of organisations such as local councils, business groups, Advantage West Midlands and the Government Office for the West Midlands will come together at Tower Court off Foleshill Road in Coventry, to discuss how to take the region forward and to review the support currently being provided to the company and the workforce.

Discussions will take place on the future of the workers who are losing their jobs with the car manufacturer, the suppliers hit by the closure, the communities affected by the proposals as well as the wider strategic agenda in order to continue to promote the prosperity of the city and its surrounds.

Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership is the organisation co-ordinating the work of the Peugeot Partnership, with Brian Woods-Scawen, chairman of CSWP, chairing the group.

Graham Hollowell, of CSWP, said: "The first meeting was really to bed down who was doing what so this is our first real opportunity to get more of an idea on the way forward for Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider sub-region.

"We will be getting updates on what employment and training opportunities there are out there for those workers who are losing their jobs.

"There will also be further details and updates on what effect it is going to have on suppliers and how we can help to absorb that blow."

Meanwhile Ryton workers will be making their voices heard at the launch of the new 207 model - the car which will replace the Coventry-built 206 when it goes into production in Slovakia - at Darwins dealership in Holbrook Lane.

Jim O'Boyle, the Transport and General Workers Union's convenor at the plant, said the campaign to save the plant was far from over and he slammed the insensitivity of this evening's launch.

He said: " Once again Peugeot are showing their real side. While sacking 2,300 people, they are rubbing workers noses in it by ' celebrating' the car which will make us redundant," he said. "What a social conscience they have. Well, the public have a conscience too which we will tap into once again."

The demonstration is a part of the wider campaign which is demanding that Peugeot discuss the alternative plan with the unions.

" Peugeot's sales have already slumped both this year and compared to a year ago," added Mr. O'Boyle.

"That must send them a message."