Airbus chief says EU exit would cost UK jobs

Andy Stroomer, director of Airbus. Credit: ITV News

One of the UK's biggest employers of high tech workers has told ITV News that Britain's exit from the EU would cost jobs here.

European firm Airbus employs four thousand people in its Defence and Space division.

At an event to mark the open of the firm's new "Mars Yard" in Stevenage - where the conditions of the red planet have been recreated to test prototype rovers - Airbus director, Andy Stroomer told us: "We would lose opportunity by not being part of this European club."

"Opportunity" he said, meant jobs.

Business Secretary Vince Cable was also at the opening and said "this little bit of Mars in Stevenage" depends on European cooperation.

The Liberal Democrats are putting jobs at the heart of theircampaign ahead of the European Elections this summer.

Last night, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg argued for the UK's continued membership of the EU in a live debate with Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, who said Britain would be better off out.

Read: EU debate shows clear contract between Clegg and Farage

Airbus Defence and Space is planning to send a rover to Mars in 2018 to search for evidence of past or present life.

Many voters may feel they are about as far away from Brussels as they are from Mars.

But with a fierce political debate now underway about Britian's future in Europe - life, it seems, has finally been breathed into the European election campaign.

Read: Bridget, Brian, Bruno on a mission to Mars