Sunderland MP Bridget Phillipson calls for second Brexit referendum after deadline is extended for six months

Bridget Phillipson on the BBC News channel
Bridget Phillipson on the BBC News channel

A Sunderland MP has called for a second Brexit referendum after the date for the UK to leave the European Union was pushed back by six months.

Bridget Phillipson was speaking after news that the EU had agreed to a compromise solution which sees the leave date put back to October 31.

Asked on the BBC News channel about talks between Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Prime Minister Theresa May, the Houghton and Sunderland South MP said: "I think they have been entered into in good faith and it is right we have these discussions but whatever can be agreed between the two leaders - if anything can be agreed - I think the ultimate decision on how we go ahead and how we go forward as a country must rest with the British people.

"I don’t think something cooked up here in Westminster and imposed on the British people will work any longer. We’re almost three years now since that referendum and I think we have a growing sense that people were offered these big, big options back in 2016 and the form of Brexit they were promised just cannot be delivered.

"I think it’s only right that the British people have a final say on whether they want to go ahead on that basis.”

She said many of her constituents still supported Brexit but others were growing increasingly tired: "What I hear from people is that as many people voted to leave back in 2016, they would do so again because they believe that is the right choice, but I also hear from lots of constituents increasingly concerned about the direction of our country, who want the chance to have their final say on this.

"I also speak to so many people who are frustrated that Brexit means we aren’t talking about all the other big challenges we face as a country.

"Just the other week we saw that child poverty had risen is a big way, we know that our schools need extra investment, we know our hospitals are under pressure - none of that gets a look in as we spend hours and hours, months and years talking about Brexit when we’ve got so many other big challenges as a country.

"If we in Westminster can’t find a way through this, then I think it rests with the British people to decide how they want to go ahead.

"This is a decision that will define our country for generations to come and I just want to be confident that the decisions we are making here are what the British people want, given we know so much more about what Brexit actually looks like, far more than we did three years ago, and we know this process is far more complicated than any of us ever imagined.

"I don’t think it’s good enough for us in Parliament now just to say that we have decided the way forward. This is such a divisive issue.

"I understand that people feel very, very strongly on both sides but we have only recently, I think, begun to have the kind of conversations that we need to have as a country about what Brexit really involves, the kind of country that we want to build.

"This was meant to be the easy part and we find even the easy part is far more complicated than we had imagined."