Sunderland in the spotlight as BBC visits city for Brexit documentary

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, pictured by Dominic Lipinski of PA, will feature Sunderland in her Brexit documentary.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, pictured by Dominic Lipinski of PA, will feature Sunderland in her Brexit documentary.
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Sunderland will be featured as part of a prime time documentary looking at the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

The city was one of the first to declare its result in the EU referendum after the country went to the polls on June 23.

In Sunderland - an area where the result sent Britain’s political classes into shock - voters, politicians and activists will describe how the groundswell of protest grew.

BBC preview of Brexit: The Battle for Britain

A total of 82,394 Wearsiders voted to leave the EU in the referendum, 61% of the 134,400 votes cast.

In the aftermath of the vote, a New York Times article was widely slammed by civic leaders and residents for its tone, describing Sunderland as a ‘once-proud working-class city’ which ‘never recovered’ from the loss of its shipbuilding industry, with shops which appeared ‘as if out of a time warp’.

In tonight’s BBC2 documentary Brexit: The Battle for Britain the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg visits Sunderland.

A preview of the broadcast states: “In Sunderland - an area where the result sent Britain’s political classes into shock - voters, politicians and activists will describe how the groundswell of protest grew.

“And Laura will explore how a gulf opened up between Westminster and large parts of modern Britain.

“Just weeks on from the referendum, British politics is already transformed: we have a new Prime Minister, Nigel Farage has bowed out, and Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents within Labour have moved against him.

“But that is just the beginning: the effects of this result will be felt for decades.

“This film tells the inside story of how it happened.”

The result of the vote, which saw 51.9% of voters across the UK back a decision to leave the European Union, led to the resignation of David Cameron as prime minister.

The show will look at how his “gamble went wrong” and how the outcome led to the pound to fall in value and left Westminster in crisis.

The documentary will feature politicians and people who ran the opposing campaigns as well as how Britain will be reshaped by the decision.

In recent days, Nissan’s leaders has said the future decisions about the car manufacturers Sunderland plan will depend on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

The boss of Nissan has said future decisions about the car giant’s Sunderland plant will depend on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

However, Carlos Ghosn said he was “reasonably optimistic” that the UK will continue to be a key partner of the European Union, with most companies waiting to see what would happened before making a choice about investment.

The hour-long show will be on BBC2 at 9pm tonight.