Government to hear what Sunderland wants from Brexit

Votes at the Sunderland EU Referendum count
Votes at the Sunderland EU Referendum count
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The Government's new Brexit watchdog is coming to Sunderland.

The cross-party Committee on Exiting the EU will be on Wearside on Thursday to hold its first public evidence hearing away from Westminster.

Brexit committee chairman Hilary Benn

Brexit committee chairman Hilary Benn

The hearing will form part of the Committee’s inquiry into the UK's negotiating objectives for withdrawal from the EU.

Members of the Committee will also be meeting throughout the day with councillors, businesses, unions and local community groups to talk about what people in theregion would like to see the Government prioritise in negotiations.

Committee chairman Hilary Benn MP said : "Parliament has set up our committee to scrutinise the Government’s plans for Brexit.

"To do that job effectively, we want to talk to people from all over the UK. Sunderland is the first place we are visiting and we are looking forward to hearing about the priorities for the North East, as the UK leaves the EU.

Sunderland's Nissan plant has dominated the headlines post-Brexit

Sunderland's Nissan plant has dominated the headlines post-Brexit

"There will be both opportunities and risks from what will be a big change, and we are here to listen to the hopes and concerns of local elected representatives, business groups, unions and community leaders.”

Witnesses for the hearing are still being confirmed and will be announced early next week. Issues that are likely to be covered in the hearing include:

• What Brexit will mean for Sunderland – opportunities and challenges;

• What Sunderland and the North East want the Government to prioritise in the Brexit process.

Sunderland's EU referendum declaration was the first sign that the UK was likely to part company with the EU.

A total of 82,394 people out of 134,400 voted to leave the European Union in the city's referendum poll, with 51,930 voting Remain.

The news, combined with a weaker victory than expected for Remain in Newcastle, saw the value of the pound drop instantly.

The city became a by-word for Brexit and has continued to dominate the headlines with controversy over what assurances the Government has given Nissan to persuade the firm to continue its investment in Wearside.

The firm had originally suggested it might freeze investment until the outcome of the negotiations became clear, but announced in October that it is to build two new models at the Sunderland plant.