Anti-Brexit campaigners take to Sunderland streets to call for a second referendum

Anti-Brexit protesters took to the streets of Sunderland to demand a 'people's vote' on the final deal.

Saturday, 6th October 2018, 5:28 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th October 2018, 5:33 pm
Peoples Vote Brexit march and rally, Sunderland City Centre.

Cross party campaign group North East for Europe organised the march through the city centre today followed by speakers including MPs, a hospital doctor and ex-serviceman of the group Veterans for Europe.

A couple of hundred people took part in the march and chanted things like 'Theresa May, give us a final say'.

Peoples Vote Brexit march and rally, Sunderland City Centre.

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They were faced with opposition from a smaller group of pro-Leave supporters who made their voices heard.

They accused the marchers of being 'traitors to democracy' and shouted that the result of the 2016 referendum should be respected.

Police were on hand to keep the two groups apart and ensure everyone's safety.

March organiser Greg Stone, a Newcastle Lib Dem councillor, said: "We are increasingly concerned that we're moving towards a no deal Brexit situation.

Alan Fowler and Christine Hartas joined the march in Sunderland for a people's vote

"We're speaking up very much in favour of a people's vote and a final decision being taken by the people on the deal they get from the government.

"We're increasingly concerned that the government's negotiations with Brussels are not going well.

"We are saying that if there is no vote in parliament or no mandate for her negotiations, it needs to go to the people for a people's referendum."

The parade marched from Mowbray Park, through the shopping centre to Keel Square where there was music and speakers.

One of the marchers.

Marcher Alan Fowler, 72, who is originally from Sunderland and now lives in Newcastle, said: "I think it's important that people have a final say on what is going to be the future for them.

"I suspect areas like Sunderland would be most adversely affected by a poor deal or Brexit altogether because our manufacturing businesses would be damaged."

Fellow marcher Christine Hartas said many people voted in 2016 without fully understanding the issues or consequences of leaving the European Union.

She said: "The more information and analysis we get of what the problems might develop the more important it is for us to thing again and vote again."

People in Sunderland voted by 63% to 39% to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.

But Ann Soubry, Conservative MP for Broxtowe, in the Midlands, believes businesses such as Nissan in Sunderland will be affected by Brexit and could even move to another country still in the EU.

She said: "I think that people are entitled as they understand and know more about the reality of Brexit to have their say on any deal the government comes up with and people are entitled to change their mind which is why I want 'remain' on the ballot paper."

Labour MP for Sedgefield Phil Wilson added: "It's not just going to affect our lives, it is going to affect the lives of our children and our children's children.

"It is the biggest decision facing the country since the Second World War. I would vote to remain where we are and reform Europe."