Norfolk united - MPs shed party colours to back campaign to keep Colman’s and Britvic in Norwich

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis, right, speaks to Unite regional officer Miles Hubbard at the Unilever

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis, right, speaks to Unite regional officer Miles Hubbard at the Unilever Colman's factory in Norwich. Picture: D Faulkner - Credit: Archant

Politicians in Norfolk have shed party colours and united to back the growing campaign to keep two 'iconic' companies in Norwich.

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, signing the EDP's petition to keep Britvic and Unilever

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, signing the EDP's petition to keep Britvic and Unilever in Norwich. Picture: Staff - Credit: Archant

Drinks manufacturer Britvic last week announced plans to move production from its Norwich factory, prompting Colman's mustard maker Unilever - which shares the Bracondale site - to begin its own review into its future in the fine city.

Since then, 9,000 people have signed our petition to keep the brands in the city, at the same time saving more than 350 at-risk jobs and keeping Norwich's 200-year link with Colman's.

And today, Norfolk's MPs joined the 'crucial' fight.

Among them was Brandon Lewis, for Great Yarmouth, who said: 'It is an iconic brand that identifies with Norwich and we should make sure the owners are aware of the value people put in that historic connection.'

The Britvic and Unilever site at Carrow Works in Norwich. Picture: Nick Butcher

The Britvic and Unilever site at Carrow Works in Norwich. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Archant


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Norwich's MPs were both quick to respond - with Clive Lewis, for Norwich South, showing his determination.

'Many will feel the steady stream of manufacturing closures as inevitable,' he said. 'But that's not the case anymore. If enough people care about this we'll keep it here. People can make a difference.'

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Chloe Smith, for Norwich North, also backed the campaign and said she has contacted Penny Mordaunt, minister for work, over the 'very worrying' news.

'First of all it is for the companies to look at every option to see if the jobs can be kept,' she said. 'I want to see good jobs like these stay in Norwich, at both Britvic and in the historic Colman's factory.'

Colman's Mustard made by Unilever. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Colman's Mustard made by Unilever. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The call was echoed around Norfolk - Elizabeth Truss, South West Norfolk MP, signed our petition and said: 'Colman's Mustard is an iconic product that has deep roots here in Norfolk and it would be a huge shame for it to move elsewhere. I think Unilever need to think again.'

George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, also backed the fight, along with Keith Simpson, MP for Broadland, who said Colman's was part of Norfolk's 'DNA', and Henry Bellingham, North West Norfolk MP, who said MPs needed to work closely in the 'crucial campaign'.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb urged the firms to reconsider and said: 'I want them to show some social responsibility and do everything they can to maintain a viable business in Norwich.'

We were unable to contact Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk, for comment.

To show your support please click here and search for 'Britvic'.

• Have your say by writing to Letter's Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or emailing edpletters@archant.co.uk.

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