A CAMPAIGN to ensure the new electric Mini is built at Oxford's Cowley plant has gone into overdrive amid fears BMW could pull its investment out of Britain.

Greg Clark, the business secretary, has travelled to BMW’s headquarters in Munich twice in the past six months to make the case for the plant to build the new model.

Mr Clark is lobbying for future investment for the current home of the Mini, as Brexit negotiations begin today.

A decision is still yet to be made on where the Mini E will be manufactured, but BMW bosses have previously hinted productions could be moved to a plant in the Netherlands if a favourable Brexit deal is not struck. 

A German politician close to Angela Merkel said that BMW was prepared to pull all investment out of Britain, putting 8,000 - about 4,500 at Cowley - jobs at risk, in order to defend the single market if Brexit talks became confrontational, according to The Times.

The politician is in close contact with Harald Krüger, the chief executive of BMW, who told him that Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten, the brother and sister who hold a controlling interest in the carmaker, were prepared to write off their British investments worth £2billion, to defend the EU.

The pair have pledged to shut down their British operations if Mrs Merkel indicated that it was necessary to defend the single market, especially if there was no Brexit deal.

"The single market is our home market, German industry will defend it at all costs in our national interest," the politician told The Times.

Concerns were first raised in February when reports emerged BMW was considering building its new electric car in Germany rather than in Oxford if the UK left the single market.

The continued uncertainty comes as union Unite and BMW representatives continue to hold meetings over the proposed pension changes.

Sources said it ‘wouldn’t make sense’ to invest in the Mini plant in Oxford if a hard Brexit deal was done.

A spokesman for BMW has said the decision on the production location of the new Mini will be taken before the end of 2017.

A spokeswoman for Mr Clark, the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy confirmed he had visited BMW chiefs in Munich twice in the last six months.

She added: "As we negotiate our exit from the European Union, the Department is continuing to work with business to deliver an ambitious Industrial Strategy and ensure a successful outcome from our Brexit negotiations that creates jobs, spreads growth across the country and builds a high-skilled economy.

"The automotive industry is an important part of this strategy."