WYRE Forest's MP is still backing Jeremy Hunt for Prime Minister despite him saying he would back a no deal Brexit as a last resort, effectively "wiping out" 350 jobs at a Cookley factory.

Mr Hunt visited Titan Steel Wheels on Friday to launch his Conservative Party leadership bid, during which time he told The Shuttle a no deal Brexit would "wipe out this factory and turn it into a housing estate".

The following day, Mr Hunt said at a Birmingham hustings event that he would continue without a deal if it was the only way to deliver Brexit.

He said: "I was at an amazing company that manufactures steel wheels for offroad vehicles. They've got about half the European market sewn up.

"It employs just over 350 people just outside of Kidderminster. Their margins are about 4 per cent. A 10 per cent tariff on their products would wipe them out so there would be an economic impact of no deal.

"If that was the only way to deliver Brexit then I'm afraid we have to do that because that is what people have voted for and we are a democracy first and foremost."

The statement has been met with anger from local politicians.

Shazu Miah, chair of Wyre Forest Liberal Democrats, described the comments as "one of the most heartless and irresponsible political statements ever made about employment in this constituency".

Councillor Fran Oborski, who is the cabinet member for economic regeneration on Wyre Forest District Council, added: "Some 16,500 local jobs are dependent upon exporting to our EU partners and it is deeply disappointing that it would appear that these jobs, and the families they support, might be sacrificed on the altar of a no deal Brexit.”

Meanwhile MP Mark Garnier said he is still backing Mr Hunt for the top job because he is "more committed than Boris to securing a deal".

Mr Garnier said: "The Titan situation is absolutely typical to why a Brexit deal is so important.

"We've got two candidates here - one is committed to getting a deal so that Titan doesn't have these problems, while Boris thinks it's absolutely fine to go crashing out of the EU on October 31, whether we get a deal or not.

"It's important for politicians to be honest. We live in a constituency where 63 per cent voted to come out.

"Jeremy is much more committed to getting a deal and that is why I'm supporting him. He's the candidate with a far better plan."

Titan did not wish to comment on Mr Hunt's comments, but managing director Chris Akers told The Shuttle on Friday that a no deal Brexit could well mean the end for his company.

He said: "I would hope very much that Brexit for us means our passports become blue and everything else remains the same.

"This business makes a niche product and most of our customers are in Europe. If there were tariffs on that it would make it incredibly difficult for our company to continue operating.

"For us it's really important that we get this right. We're a huge employer in the Kidderminster area and generations of families have been brought up by this company.

"It would be a real shame after making wheels for 100 years if the Brexit issue is what kills us."