Places like Sunderland may have voted for Brexit, but no one voted for this

Aerial view of the mouth of the River Wear in Sunderland. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA.

Aerial view of the mouth of the River Wear in Sunderland. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Communities like Sunderland were lied to during the EU referendum campaign - the voters there have not seen any of the things they were told to expect. ALEISHA STANSFIELD writes why she will be speaking out at the next People's Vote rally.

I didn't vote for Brexit, and neither did my home city of Newcastle. However, in Sunderland next door, the majority of people did. Those involved in the Leave campaign tell us now that Brexit must be delivered because of the people, like those in Sunderland, who voted in favour of it in their majority. That democracy is on the line unless parliament gives the people what they voted for.

But let's be clear, people in Sunderland, when they voted for Brexit, to put it simply, were voting for their lives to get better. There was a reason why it was communities who have seen less prosperity, and less investment, that voted for Brexit over the bigger cities like Newcastle.

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Communities like Sunderland were promised more money for the NHS, more money for local investment, and a better standard of living by the Leave campaign. These are all things they could see their community was in need of. They voted on the basis of these promises, on the assurance that Brexit would improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

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It is clear now that those promises were false. The reality of the Brexit facing us is far from the utopia sold to places like Sunderland in 2016 by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. Our communities were lied to. 3 years on, Sunderland has not seen any of the things they were told to expect. Instead of more money for the NHS, the NHS is having to stockpile medicine. Instead of a better standard of living, people are being told their livelihoods are at risk.

What they have seen, however, is the potentially devastating consequences of an increasingly likely No Deal that not one of them voted for.

When the leave campaign came to Sunderland in 2016, did they tell people here that huge employers like Nissan would prepare to leave the town, putting thousands of jobs at risk? Did they tell us, as the Confederation of British Industry recently did, that the North East would be the hardest hit by a no-deal Brexit?

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It is clear that there is no democratic mandate for no deal and its consequences, and as a young person I am concerned for where my future will be if we continue on this path.

But there is another way. The tide is turning in places like Sunderland, and people are beginning to wake up to the realities of Brexit, and the three million young people like me, enfranchised since 2016, are fighting for their right to have a say now.

We need a People's Vote, to ensure democracy is upheld, and our communities in the North East, like Sunderland, aren't sold down the river whilst we hurtle towards a No Deal brexit.

Let us be heard.

- Aleisha is a For Our Future's Sake (FFS) supporter and activist from the North East, she will be speaking at the Let us Be Heard rally in Sunderland on Sunday.

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