North East now split 50/50 on Brexit claims new opinion poll

Houghton and Sunderland South. MP Bridget Phillipson. Picture by FRANK REID
Houghton and Sunderland South. MP Bridget Phillipson. Picture by FRANK REID

A Sunderland MP has backed a People’s Vote on Brexit after a new poll revealed the North East is now an exact 50/50 even split about whether to leave or stay in the EU.

Despite the region voting overwhelmingly for Brexit in 2016 by a 16-point margin, polling by YouGov for the People’s Vote campaign, suggests that it opinion is now split on the issue.

Today’s poll comes as the People’s Vote campaign publishes a detailed impact study on how Brexit would affect the North East.

It claims the region is expected to lose 10% of GDP over the next decade under a “no deal” scenario, meaning every man, woman and child in the North East would be £3,000 a year worse off.

Publication today of the poll of almost 1,000 adults across the North East shows strong support in the region for a People’s Vote on any final Brexit deal which is now favoured by a margin of 40 to 35%.

But if talks break down, or there is no agreement on a Brexit deal, 54% would back the public being given the final say against just 22 per cent who say MPs should the take the decision.

The disappearance of the Leave campaign’s 16-point margin of victory appears to have been driven by younger voters with those aged under 50 dividing two-to-one for staying in the European Union while voters over 50 are still two-to-one in favour of Brexit.

Other key findings from the poll include:

*A total of 84 per cent of voters in the North East think “the process of leaving the EU so far has been a mess”.

*Almost three-quarters - 72%- say “it’s likely that many of the promises made by politicians in favour of leaving the EU will be broken”.

*Only 13% of voters in the region expect the Britain to get a good deal in the Brexit talks with the EU. Even Conservatives in the region are doubtful, with just 27% expecting a good deal.

*Almost two-thirds of people in the North-East, 64%, think a bad deal would be mainly the fault of the British government.

*By almost two-to-one, 41%-22%, voters in the region expect Brexit to be bad for the economy.

Following the publication of the poll, Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson says she thinks a People’s Vote is “only right”.

She said: “I know that many people across Sunderland voted to Leave the European Union in June 2016.

“They wanted a better deal for our community and greater hope for the future.

“But I also know that a growing number of voters are increasingly concerned about the potential impact of leaving the EU – particularly if we crash out on destructive terms which hit the pockets of everyone across the North East for years to come, with a majority of the public now supporting a People’s Vote in such circumstances.

“With the reality and costs of Brexit becoming clearer by the day, I believe it is only right that voters are given a final say on the terms of any deal.

“This is not about opposing the will of the people – but rather, ensuring that people in the North East continue to have a say on our country’s future.”