An MP says she is backing a call for a “people’s vote” to protect the jobs and livelihoods she says could be in doubt because of Brexit.
Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson was among five Labour backbenchers to support the suggestion the public should have a final say on the deal because of its impact on the North East.
She was joined by Redcar’s Anna Turley, Newcastle North’s Catherine McKinnell, Stockton South’s Phil Williams and Sedgefield’s Phil Wilson.
Writing in The Independent, they said the region risks losing its status as an “export powerhouse” if Britain leaves the customs union and the single market.
In response, Echo readers have said the decision to leave the EU should be respected and she does not back the views of her constituents - 61% of those who voted in Sunderland opted to leave the EU.
Others expressed support for the idea and voiced concerns about the “devastating affect” it could have on the region.
Since the referendum, I have made clear that I will fight for a relationship between the UK and the EU that protects my constituents’ jobs and livelihoods.Bridget Phillipson
As the Echo went to print yesterday, an online poll asking readers if they would back a second referendum stood at 53% against another vote.
But there was a surge in the online voting and before it closed yesterday afternoon, with a massive swing to 81% in favour, indicating the issue remains contentious in the city.
Ms Phillipson said: “I fully recognise that the issue of our country’s future relationship with the EU arouses strong feelings on all sides.
“I believe it is the responsibility of MPs, as elected representatives of the people, to acknowledge and address such concerns – but also to act in the best interests of their constituents.
“Since the referendum, I have made clear that I will fight for a relationship between the UK and the EU that protects my constituents’ jobs and livelihoods.
“That is why I am concerned by economic analyses – including the Government’s own assessments - suggesting that the North East will lose out under any Brexit deal, putting jobs at risk and leading to the cost of living going up.
“With the impact of Brexit likely to have a lasting impact on our region for decades to come, I believe it is only right that voters are given a final say on the terms of any deal.
“Such a position is not anti-democratic – but rather, ensures that the British people continue to have a say on our country’s future.”