Julie Elliott: "Why now is the time for Sunderland to back a People's Vote"
People have got all kinds of views about Brexit but we all deserve to have our voice heard and we can begin to do that in Sunderland at the Beacon of Light on Sunday.
Like many of you I am desperately worried about the mess that’s being made of Brexit with promises being broken, investment already draining out of our North East economy and the prospect that this crisis will just go and on.
Now the 0.25% of the country who are Conservative Party – just 5,000 of whom live in our region – are choosing a new Prime Minister who wants to impose a really harsh form of Brexit on us.
Both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson say they are ready to inflict a car crash Brexit on Britain without the people having the final say.
But the people of Sunderland, even those who voted Leave, did not vote for the No Deal Brexit now favoured by Nigel Farage because it was barely mentioned in the last referendum.
Nor did they vote for the destructive hard Brexit being talked up by politicians like Boris Johnson, which would devastate our car industry and make our communities pay the price for his ambition.
It was never the “will of the people” to put jobs, livelihoods, the NHS and the integrity of the United Kingdom in jeopardy.
Back in 2016, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage promised we would get a deal that had all the benefits of EU membership but none of the responsibilities.
They promised Brexit would improve our economy and the NHS, as well as make us better off.
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Now, after three years of pain and endless negotiations while all the other problems facing us just fester, we know that was a false prospectus.
But Johnson and Farage now shamelessly claim that people really voted for an extreme form of Brexit or even No Deal at all.
Worse still, the Brexit they want to force on Britain will only lead to more humiliation for our country because it does not guarantee our future trading or security relationship with Europe or the rest of the world.
Those peddling No Deal as a solution fail to mention that negotiations or re-negotiations will go on for years with the UK in a very weak position. Instead of ending this crisis, successive Prime Ministers will be forced to bend their knee to foreign powers like Donald Trump.
We all want to end this nightmare for our country and, whether you want Brexit to go ahead or would prefer to stay in, the only way to unlock the political impasse, secure a stable majority in Parliament and legitimise the outcome is to let the people have the final say.
Join us at Sunday’s rally.
It’s time to make our voice heard.
Julie Elliott is the Labour MP for Sunderland Central and a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign.