Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed she will consult leaders of the English regions about her plans for Brexit - but only after the UK has left the European Union.

It sparked an angry reaction from Birmingham MP Jack Dromey, who said the Prime Minister would be "absolutely wrong" to ignore the Midlands while there is so much concern about the future of the car industry.

Mrs May promised the House of Commons in January that she would "engage elected representatives from Northern Ireland and regional representatives in England".

But although she travelled to Belfast last week to meet representatives of Northern Ireland's five main political parties, she has said talks with England's regional representatives will happen "in the next phase".

The next phase of the Brexit process takes place after the UK leaves the European Union, currently due to take place on March 29.

The UK will enter a transition period in which it remains a member of the Customs Union and Single Market, and begins negotiating a permanent trade deal with the EU.

 

Mr Dromey said: "Theresa May would be absolutely wrong not to listen to the voice of the heart of England, the Midlands.

"There are real and growing concerns, including for the future of our automotive industry, which she needs to hear from civic leaders.

"To say 'no' would be to snub the Midlands."

Jack Dromey, MP for Erdington

Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed it is cutting 4,500 jobs globally while carmaker Nissan has scrapped plans to build the X-Trail model in Sunderland.

The Prime Minister's promise to involve English regions came after her proposed Brexit withdrawal plan was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs.

Mrs May said on January 21 that she recognised the Government’s approach "had to change", and she promised: "We will seek input from a wide range of voices from outside Government."

She said she would meet the first ministers of Scotland and Wales, saying: "I hope to meet both First Ministers in the course of this week and will use the opportunity to discuss this further with them, and we will also look for further ways to engage elected representatives from Northern Ireland and regional representatives in England.

"Finally, we will reach out beyond this House and engage more deeply with businesses, civil society and trade unions."

 

She didn't name the regional representatives she had in mind, but the comment was likely to refer to refer to mayors and council leaders.

Newcastle MP Catherine McKinnell asked for details of discussions with English regional leaders in a written Parliamentary question. She asked: "With which representatives of the English regions she has since engaged; and what form those discussions took."

Mrs May said in a written reply: "As I said in my statement, we will look at further ways to engage regional representatives in England in the next phase."