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Ministers face questions from MPs over the controversial takeover of GKN 

The hearing will ramp up the pressure on Business Secretary Greg Clark (pictured)

Ministers could be hauled before MPs to face questions over the controversial takeover of engineering giant GKN by City predator Melrose.

The Daily Mail understands that the defence and business select committees are considering holding a joint hearing into the £8.1billion deal.

It will ramp up the pressure on Business Secretary Greg Clark, who is facing mounting calls to block the sale on national security grounds.

GKN is based in Redditch, Worcestershire and employs 58,000 around the world making parts for planes, cars and fighter jets. There is increasing political concern that the takeover of the 259-year-old firm could harm the UK’s industrial base and defence capability.

Sources said MPs were determined to challenge ministers’ thinking on the deal, which was narrowly approved by shareholders last month after a hostile takeover battle.

Many critics, backed by a Mail campaign, are concerned about GKN’s future under City turnaround firm Melrose because of its strategy of selling firms on at a profit, usually within three to five years, which could see GKN broken up and parts flogged off around the world.

The takeover has become a lightning rod for discussions about Britain’s industrial future.

Unite assistant general secretary for aerospace Steve Turner said last night: ‘Melrose’s self-professed short-term business model is totally at odds with the long-term investment cycles of the UK’s world-beating aerospace sector and raises significant concerns for the defence interests of the UK and its allies. 

‘It would only be right and proper for both the defence and business committees to quiz ministers on the Government’s thinking on a takeover which will have a significant impact on a key sector of the economy and the nation’s security.’

The deal is due to finalise next week, although Melrose is still waiting for clearance from military and security agencies in France, the US and Germany, as well as facing potential government intervention in the UK.

Redditch-based GKN makes parts for cars, airplanes and fighter jets, employing 58,000 around the world, including 6,000 in the UK

Redditch-based GKN makes parts for cars, airplanes and fighter jets, employing 58,000 around the world, including 6,000 in the UK

The Ministry of Defence is set to advise Mr Clark on whether he should oppose the deal on national security grounds. Security agencies MI5 and MI6 are also due to have their say.

GKN’s military work includes making parts for the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet, Airbus A400m military plane and US-UK joint strike fighter.

Melrose said it is now in talks to hammer out potential conditions to help lay any fears to rest. Mr Clark stepped in two days before the shareholder vote to win assurances from Melrose including that it would invest at least 2.2 per cent of GKN’s sales in research and development.

It also offered to pledge not to sell the aerospace division, where the defence work lies, for at least five years. However, it has yet to turn the pledge on the aerospace division into a legally-binding post-offer undertaking.

Earlier this week a Melrose spokesman said: ‘We are continuing our discussions with all parties to enforce in law the binding undertakings we have already given to the UK Government.

‘We welcome scrutiny from all legitimate agencies. Melrose is a British company with the best interests of the UK at the centre of everything we do.’