Sunderland ready to shed its Brexiteer image at major rally for a People's Vote

PUBLISHED: 14:21 04 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:35 04 July 2019

MP David Lammy at a People's Vote march. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA.

MP David Lammy at a People's Vote march. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

People in Sunderland and the North East are "fed up" with being treated as 100% Brexiteers and are planning to make their voices heard at the latest in a series of rallies organised by People's Vote.

The Sunderland rally will include speeches from Labour MPs David Lammy as well as Bridget Phillipson, MP for Sunderland South.

She is expected to say: "People in Sunderland are fed up with being treated as if we all think the same way on Brexit. We're fed up with being taken for granted by right-wing Brexiters or stereotyped by the media. We're fed up with the idea that a tiny minority of this country - the 160,000 Conservative Party members who represent just 0.25 per cent of our country - think they can decide the future of the rest of us."

Sunderland voted to leave by 61%, but recent figures suggest that attitudes have changed. A YouGov poll of Labour voters in the North East shows that 70% blame Nissan's job losses on Brexit, and 67% now think Brexit is a mistake. Meanwhile, the House of Commons Brexit Committee has recently published a report stating that the North East would be 16% worse off if a no-deal Brexit goes ahead.

Sunderland entrepreneur and co-founder of the Leighton Group of companies, Paul Callaghan, will highlight the price the North East is already paying for the Brexit crisis, as Nissan ceases production of its luxury Infinity brand and has decided to make its new X-Trail model elsewhere.

Callaghan is expected to say: "One of the North East economy's great success stories over recent decades has been the growth of our automotive and manufacturing industries. This has been achieved by having both a skilled and committed workforce and, importantly, access to major export markets, particularly in Europe.

"These are the industries that are most vulnerable to a hard Brexit. Without free trade access to their biggest markets, these businesses will lose sales and that will lead inevitably to job losses. The people who will pay the biggest price for Brexit will be the families who will subsequently lose their livelihoods.

"Even the most ardent supporters of Brexit accept that it will result in an economic downturn and unfortunately it is here in the North East that this will have the biggest impact. As the economic consequences of a no-deal Brexit become clearer it is time to ask the people through a vote whether this is a price they are willing to pay."

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, will travel to Sunderland to deliver a tough message for his own party, and will call on Labour to be clearer in its backing of a People's Vote. "Millions of voters who want us to be clearer on this huge issue of Brexit deserted us in the European and local elections," he is planning to say.

"We've got to stop that protest vote against us becoming a habit, we've got to change course of Brexit, we've got to back a final say referendum that gives us all the chance to stay,"

You may also want to watch:

The "Let Us Be Heard" rally in Sunderland will take place Sunday at the Beacon of Light at 2pm.

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