Brexit committee MPs visit Sunderland

The Exiting the European Union Select Committee, fronted by Hilary Benn MP, at Sunderland Civic Centre.
The Exiting the European Union Select Committee, fronted by Hilary Benn MP, at Sunderland Civic Centre.
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City leaders have told a committee of a MPs of how they want to see Britain’s exit from the European Union pan out.

Chaired by Labour MP Hilary Benn, the cross-party Exiting the European Union committee was at Sunderland’s Civic Centre to hear from the council leader Paul Watson about what the concerns are about the change.

Also providing evidence to the committee as well as answering questions were Ross Smith, director of policy at the North East Chamber of Commerce, Richard Baker, head of policy and strategy at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and John Elliott, owner of Ebac and a representative of Business for Britain in the North East.

Among the topics discussed was the need for continued investment in the North East once Britain leaves the EU, why Sunderland as a city returned a resounding “leave” vote in June’s referendum and the future possibility of the region being awarded more devolved powers.

Mr Smith told the hearing: “We’d like to see relatively unbureaucratic trade arrangements both with the EU and the wider world.

“We have significant concerns as to what the arrangements for customs could be.”

Following the meeting Mr Benn said: “It’s been a really useful session which we will see what we can take from. People have voted to leave the EU.

“That isn’t the issue anymore.

“Throughout the country, people want to hear about jobs, investment and plans for the future.”

Coun Watson, also chairman of the North East Combined Authority, said: “Government has promised to listen to people from all regions of the country so they should be well-informed once they have.

“Whether they now show common sense over it, we will see.”