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Robinson rebuffs Edwardes

3 December 1979

BL management
From Mr Geoffrey Robinson. MP for Coventry North West (Labour)


In view of certain innuendoes I feel a reply is required to Sir Michael Edwardes' letter (November 30) - I am not clear what he means by saying that I had a first hand involvement in many of the company's problems when I was at Leyland. If the insinuation is that I was responsible for them and the previous performance of the company, then he should make it clear.

My track record could then be put on the line and I would be delighted. Of course, BL could not "be restored to health" in two years. But its performance should have improved over that period, and not deteriorated, if the management was succeeding. That is all I said. It is rather worrying that Sir Michael cannot, or does not want to, understand plain English.

It is equally incomprehensible to me that Sir Michael finds a sneering tone in a constructive letter written more in sad disappointment than scorn by a person who has given the company and himself consistent support in and outside Parliament over the past two years. However, there comes a time when home truths have to be spoken.

His reasons for BL's failure to improve under his stewardship are the same as we have heard from all previous management. If he really thinks he has the full support of the workforce, he should find the time to visit the plants- more often and to listen to, not hector, the men. If he cannot find the time, then he might care to remember something else I told him two years ago about the sheer size and structure of the company- he is trying to run.

Yours faithfully
House of Commons.

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