THE new Business Secretary has said the Government will do "all it possibly can" to rescue British Steel.

Andrea Leadsom, who took over the role from Greg Clark last week following Boris Johnson's cabinet reshuffle, told politicians and stakeholders in a meeting on Monday it was still the Government's "absolute priority" to secure the sale of the business as a whole.

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It comes after Mr Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons he would "guarantee" he would do all he could to secure the future of Britain's second-largest steel producer, which employs thousands of workers, including 700 in the North-East at sites in Lackenby and Skinningrove.

Ms Leadsom said: “As the new Business Secretary, I’m determined to do absolutely everything to support British Steel, to find a new buyer and make a success of it.

"I felt it was really important in the first few days as the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to see for myself these amazing steelworkers in Scunthorpe and to meet some of the fantastic workforce here who are really staying positive at what is a tricky time for local workers and of course for the supply chain.

"I just want to assure everybody that Government is doing all we possibly can to make sure that British Steel has a long term sustainable future right across Teesside and Scunthorpe."

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Tee Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: "It is fantastic news that it is still an ultimate priority for the department and Government to support an outcome for British Steel, which is the sale of the whole business.

"It was very clear from the Secretary of State that this is a top priority and it is clear that the work going on is progressing well.

"I was enthused by the feedback we've had that there is a potential bidder and a buyer in sight. There is a bit of a way to go and I know it is frustrating for some people that it isn't resolved yet, but the fact we are making good progress means I think that it will be good news for the local area."

Redcar MP Anna Turley added: "I am pleased Andrea Leadsom has confirmed her support for British Steel following my urgent question in Parliament last week.

"This is a great British business with a fantastic, skilled workforce and an important strategic role to play in the UK."

Last week, Mr Clark told MPs an agreement to ensure "the flourishing of British Steel's operations for many years to come" is "not certain but certainly within grasp."

He added it was "still an uncertain time" but "British Steel is amongst the best in the world".

British Steel went into liquidation in May after rescue talks with the Government collapsed.