DEFENCE secretary Gavin Williamson visited one of Dorset’s major employers and insisted Theresa May would continue to “battle for Britain” over Brexit.

Mr Williamson was at the Wimborne headquarters of defence and aerospace company Cobham to meet apprentices and tour the factory.

The business employs almost 1,000 people in the town.

He watched a 120ft helicopter refuelling hose being tested and tried his hand at a mid-air refuelling via simulator.

His visit came as Theresa May visited Brussels to seek more assurances from the European Union that might persuade MPs to back her Brexit deal.

He told the Daily Echo: “Have you ever known a negotiation that’s simple and easy? Often these things take a while and it’s making sure that you keep battling away – and the prime minister is one of the most determined and resilient women, who is putting the interests of her country first, and she will continue to battle for Britain.

“What’s sometimes forgotten is it’s very much in the European Union’s interests as well as British interests to have a deal.”

He visited the factory with Mid Dorset and North Poole MP Michael Tomlinson and Poole MP Sir Robert Syms, both of whom were intending to vote against the government’s withdrawal agreement.

Mr Williamson said the government was working to “make sure we get an excellent deal with the European Union” but was not frightened of leaving without an agreement.

“That’s why we’ve continued to invest large sums of money to make sure we have the capacity, plans and resilience that’s needed if we don’t agree a deal,” he added.

“As we leave the EU, this is our opportunity to raise our eyes to see the new horizon, the opportunities that are there.

“If you look at a company like Cobham, this is a business that’s not just trading in the UK, doesn’t just trade in the EU. This is a global business. So many of these jobs are on a global basis, so many of these jobs are not EU-related. They’re selling their products to the US and many other countries beyond that.”