Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West.

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Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, has today raised concerns with the Secretary of State about the recent decision by Nissan to build the new X-Trail model in Japan, rather than in Washington, Sunderland as originally planned.

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The Plant has been a great source of employment for Sunderland and the wider North East area, hiring around 7,300 members of staff directly, and around 32,000 in the supply chain. This means that Nissan provides almost 40,000 jobs in the UK, the majority of which are in the North East.

On Monday 4th February 2019, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, made a statement in the House of Commons regarding Nissan’s decision.

This came after speculations over the weekend that Nissan would announce that the new X-Trail model would be built in Japan, rather than in Washington, resulting in the loss of 740 future jobs. Nissan confirmed this on Sunday 3rd February 2019.

On Monday, a letter written in 2016 to Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan at the time, by the Secretary of State, was published. The letter included references to up to £80m funding assurances by the UK Government, including:

“It is contingent too on a positive decision by the Nissan Board to allocate production of the Qashqai and X-Trail models to the Sunderland Plant.”

Significant questions around this funding must now be answered.

During the Secretary of State’s statement, Sharon asked:

“Nissan in my constituency, together with the supply chain, employs around 40,000 people, many of whom will be extremely worried by this decision.

This Government’s chaotic approach to the Brexit negotiations, concerns around diesel, and a new Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Japan have all created a perfect storm of conditions.

With just 53 days until we are due to leave the EU, no Brexit Parliamentary business scheduled for two weeks, the Prime Minister currently engaged in fantasy politics over the backstop, and the sweetheart deal on the rocks, what immediate steps is the Secretary of State taking to re-assure the whole UK automotive industry?”

In response, the Secretary of State said:

"One of the pleasures of dealing with the automotive industry in the UK is that it is one of the most advanced and most capable, in terms of innovation, in the world.

The work that we are doing, through our Industrial Strategy with the sector, in terms of being the leading place in the world, not just for the discovery of battery technologies, but for manufacturing them; the test beds that we have put in place for connected and autonomous vehicles, make Britain the place in the world that people come to for innovation.

We back that in this Government, and it enjoys support, I know, across the House. It is a source of confidence around the world. But it is true that the international business such as the automotive industry is wants to know reasonably what its trading relationships will be with the rest of the European Union in the years ahead.

That is why they’ve been so clear that this House should come together and back the deal. I hope that the Hon. Lady, with the care for her constituents that I know she always has in mind will during the weeks and months ahead do so too.”

After the statement, Sharon said:

“I am disappointed that the Secretary of State has failed to give assurances to the UK automotive industry during these uncertain times.

“Those employed directly or indirectly in the automotive industry will rightfully be concerned by this news, which is why I called on the Government to provide assurances. However, they have failed to do so.

“The Secretary of State spoke about unity over Brexit, but it is down to his own Government’s failings that we are now in uncertain times; just 53 days away from Brexit day, without a deal.

“In light of specific assurances made in 2016 to Nissan, the Government must now be clear about what implications this now has on the future of the automotive industry in the UK, and the funding promised to Nissan’’

ENDS

You can read the Secretary of State's Statement here

You can watch Sharon's question here

Sharon raises Nissan concerns in Parliament

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, has today raised concerns with the Secretary of State about the recent decision by... Read more

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Feb 2019 number 113 Brexit update

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Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Feb 2019 number 113 - Brexit update

Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Feb 2019 number 113 Brexit update Click on the picture above to read Sharon Hodgson MP's report Read more

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Jan-Feb 2019 number 112

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Sharon Hodgson MP's report Jan-Feb 2019 number 112

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Jan-Feb 2019 number 112   Click on image above to download report. Read more

Local Labour MP, and Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon Hodgson has announced she will be giving up fizzy drinks for the whole of February as part of a national campaign to raise awareness of the negative health consequences of drinking sugary fizzy drinks which can lead to obesity and other sugar related illnesses.

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Sharon is also encouraging local schools and constituents to take up the challenge of “Fizz Free February”, to raise awareness of the negative health consequences of drinking sugary fizzy drinks which can lead to obesity and other sugar related illnesses.

Participants will give up fizzy drinks for the 28 days of February.

Sugary soft drinks, mainly fizzy drinks, make up an average of 29 per cent of free sugar intake for 11-18 year olds, the single largest source of sugar in their diet. Studies have also suggested that fizzy drinks can affect the appearance of young people’s skin, cause brittle bones and rotten teeth, as well as causing weight gain and affecting pupils’ ability to concentrate in school.

The initiative is part of a wider campaign to tackle the obesity crisis in Britain. 61% of adults in England are either overweight or obese and 34% of children in year 6 are overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes, a disease linked to obesity and sugar intake, costs the NHS 10% of its entire budget to treat.

In the local area 46% of year 6 children are overweight or obese and 28% of five-year olds are suffering from dental decay.

Public Health England dietary advice says that adults should consume no more than 30g free sugars per day, children aged 7-10 should have no more than 24g and children aged 4-6 should have no more than 19g.

Examples of sugar content in popular fizzy drinks:
• A can of Original Coca Cola – 35g of sugar = 145% of a child’s recommended daily sugar intake
• A can of IRN BRU – 34g of sugar = 142% of a child’s recommended daily sugar intake
• A can of Fanta Orange – 15g of sugar = 63% of a child’s recommended sugar intake
• A can of Original Pepsi – 41g of sugar = 171% of a child’s recommended sugar intake

In 2018 the campaign was started by Southwark Council in London. In 2019 Sharon Hodgson is encouraging councils and schools across the country to take part and help people in the local community to do #FizzFreeFeb

Sharon Hodgson MP said:
“As Shadow Minister for Public Health, I am committed to promoting a healthier nation, and working towards reducing child obesity, which includes raising awareness of how excess sugar consumption can have terrible effects on health.

“That is why I am taking part in Fizz Free February, and encouraging constituents to take up the challenge too, in order to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in fizzy drinks, and the impact this has on our health.

“Obesity is a growing problem in Sunderland, and across the country, so it is important to take steps to help reverse this trend. Of course, Government has a big part to play in this, which is why I am urging them to reverse cuts to public health budgets so that people can be supported in losing weight.”


ENDS

 

Sharon commits to 'Fizz Free February'

Local Labour MP, and Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon Hodgson has announced she will be giving up fizzy drinks for the whole of February as part of a national...

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Dec 2018 - Jan 2019 number 111

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Click on the image above to download the report.

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Dec 2018 - Jan 2019 number 111

Sharon Hodgson MP's report Dec 2018 - Jan 2019 number 111 Click on the image above to download the report. Read more

As the Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon responded to a Backbench Business Debate on Appropriate ME treatment in the House of Commons.

You can watch Sharon's speech here

You can read the debate here

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You can read Sharon's speech below:

Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West) (Lab):

I start by thanking the hon. Members for Glasgow North West (Carol Monaghan) and for Cheltenham (Alex Chalk) and the right hon. Member for Loughborough (Nicky Morgan) for securing this important debate. I thank all hon. Members who spoke; it was great that so many did so. Due to time, I shall not list them all.

I thank the charities—MEAction, Action for ME, the ME Association, the M.E. Trust and ME North East—and all the patients who have been in touch with me to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences of living with ME. The ME Association estimates that approximately 250,000 people in Britain are affected by ME; we have heard plenty of moving stories about those individuals today. However, an article published in the British Medical Journal in July 2018 reported that 90% of cases are thought to go undiagnosed, and that people with ME are substantially undercounted, underdiagnosed and undertreated. As we have heard, patients are often passed from pillar to post with dismissals and misdiagnoses, and sometimes left waiting over a year for a diagnosis. I am sure the Minister does not need me to tell him that that does not meet NICE guidelines of diagnosis within four months of the onset of symptoms. The Government should therefore do more, and considering that they are not doing much for patients with ME at the moment, I do not think that that is too much to ask.

The Government do not fund research and clinical care for people with ME at the rate they do for other serious prevalent diseases. As we have heard, the average spent on research for a person living with ME is just £1 a year. According to Action for ME, that represents just 0.02% of all active grants given by the mainstream UK funding agencies. I am therefore concerned that the Government recently confirmed in a written answer that ME research funding is lower now than it was even in 2013-14.

Current treatments of graded exercise therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy have been found to be harmful to patients with ME, and continue the narrative of disbelief and neglect of them, which we have heard about from a number of hon. Members. NICE has already recognised that its guidelines are outdated, and that patients do not receive the full picture on recommended treatments. NICE is updating its clinical guidance on the diagnosis and management of ME, but that is not expected to be published until October 2020. Patients and their families have already waited long enough, so will the Minister work with patients, charities, researchers and NICE to ensure that treatment and care for ME is appropriate?

We have heard today why funding for biomedical research into ME is so desperately needed. According to MEAction, the only year in which the Medical Research Council invested any meaningful sum in biomedical research was 2012, when £1.5 million of funds were ring-fenced. However, no funds have been allocated for biomedical ME research since then.

In the Westminster Hall debate in June last year, I called on the Government to consider funding research, because it is long overdue. Will the Minister commit to doing that today, or will the Government continue to leave it up to the charity sector to do so? Projects such as Invest in ME Research, which has four PhD students researching ME, have been financially supported by patients and their families via crowdfunding in excess of £870,000. That is fantastic, but it should not be left to patients to crowdfund research. More funding for research will enhance healthcare professionals and clinicians’ understanding of ME, which will improve the patient experience and debunk the myths of ME being a primarily psychological condition, as we have heard about today. Clinicians must have access to up-to-date research and information so that they can give patients the best possible care and advice.

In some areas, however, that is not the case, as Jennifer Elliot, the CEO of ME North East, has brought to my attention. Jennifer told me of the diminished services available to patients with ME in the north-east region. There are no services at all for young people with ME in the entire north-east. Adult services in Sunderland are closed to patients altogether, and have been for some months, with no date for them to be reinstated. For 20 years, ME North East has been doing all it can to help and support ME patients but, with a severe lack of funding, it is now at crisis point. I am sure that other regions have similar stories, as we have heard today, so will the Minister please consider the loss of services in his response? Will he ensure that the services are reinstated and supported financially by the Government?

Finally, we must ensure that the stigma of ME is tackled. Funding and research will help, but it cannot be right that, as found last year, more than one in five families caring for a child with ME have been referred for child protection proceedings due to school absences and a lack of understanding by the school, as we have heard. I am pleased that the vast majority of those accusations are dismissed in less than a year, but the added stress and burden to families with children suffering with ME can be overwhelming. We therefore need more funding for research, so that we can understand, care for and treat ME, and break down the stigma.

 

Appropriate ME treatment 24.01.2019

As the Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon responded to a Backbench Business Debate on Appropriate ME treatment in the House of Commons. You can watch Sharon's speech here You...

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website.

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This week, January 21 to 27, 2019, is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, a campaign spearheaded by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, and supported by other charities, such as The Eve Appeal.

As the Shadow Minister for Public Health, I work closely with charities, health professionals and the public to raise awareness of cancer symptoms, so that cancers can be diagnosed early, in order to improve the effectiveness of treatment.

Cervical cancer is currently one of three cancers that are screened for nationally, along with bowel and breast cancer.

However, cervical cancer screening rates are at their lowest rate for two decades.

Three million women across England have not had a smear test for at least three and a half years.

A survey, published this week by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, found that eight out of ten women said they had delayed a smear test or never gone for a screening because they felt embarrassed.

In November 2018, it was found that more than 40,000 women in England have not received information regarding cervical cancer screening.

We must do better.

Each day, nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and two women lose their lives to the disease.

Seventy-five per cent of cervical cancers can be prevented by smear tests.

It is therefore crucial that women, aged between 25 and 64, firstly know that they are eligible for a smear test, and secondly take up the opportunity to attend.

Most women receive a normal screening test result; but for those that don’t, the results from the screening will provide a gateway to treatment and care.

This is not something women, or men either, should be embarrassed talking about to their families and friends, after all it could save lives.

This Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, I encourage all of my constituents to talk about cervical cancer and smear tests, and the lifesaving benefits of attending appointments.

If you have been invited for a test, don’t delay your booking any longer.

The number of cervical cancer deaths has fallen in recent years, but it remains the most common cancer in women under 35.

If we want to prevent more cancers, we must be open to talking about symptoms and concerns about screening tests.

If you are concerned about cervical cancer, please contact your local GP.

 

Sunderland Echo website

ECHO COLUMN: Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website. This week, January 21 to 27, 2019, is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, a campaign spearheaded...

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health is urging the Prime Minister to rule out a disastrous ‘No-Deal’ Brexit scenario. As uncertainty around Brexit continues from day to day, it is more important now than ever that a viable solution is found to break the current impasse.

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In recent weeks, Sharon has been contacted by local businesses who are growing increasingly concerned by the lack of certainty around Brexit, some of whom have already incurred significant financial costs through preparing for any eventuality.

This comes as a number of high profile trade bodies and businesses issue stark warnings about the reality of a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit – details of which can be found at the bottom of this page. 

Sharon Hodgson MP said:

‘There have been growing calls by some people in recent weeks and months for a ‘No-Deal’ or ‘Clean Break’ Brexit, in which we would leave the European Union (EU) without an agreement. This is being painted by some, as a harmless and convenient way in which to bring the current political crisis over Brexit to an end.

What these latest figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Government’s own financial analysis and the concerns I have heard from local businesses, the North East Chamber of Commerce show, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), and Trade Unions is that this could not be further from the truth.

When the automotive and manufacturing industries highlight the huge impacts that any disruption at the border could have, it’s important to listen. No politician should claim to know more about the intricate nature of industry, than those who actually work within it, and this is something I will never do.

It is all too easy for some to dismiss the concerns being raised as ‘Project Fear’, but the very real truth is that there is now the possibility of severe and long-term damage being done to our region due to the reckless approach to Brexit by this Tory Government. It won’t be the Boris Johnsons or the Jacob Rees-Moggs of the world who suffer, it will be working people in the North-East.

Our region has already suffered disproportionately under 9 years of punishing austerity, and as the proud Labour MP for my constituency I will never inflict more pain on those I represent.

That is why I will continue to back the Labour Party in calling on the Prime Minister to do the right thing by dropping her red lines, ruling out ‘No-deal’ and allow Parliament to decide next steps.’

Sharon Hodgson MP has taken a number of steps in recent weeks to put pressure on the Government into ruling out a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit:

- Sharon joined over 200 MPs from across the political spectrum in signing a letter to the Prime Minister urging the Government to agree a mechanism that would ensure a ‘No Deal’ Brexit could not take place.

- Sharon attended a meeting that followed on from this letter, with the Prime Minister on Tuesday 8th January 2019 where concerns from MPs representing constituencies across the country were aired about the damaging impact that a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit could have on manufacturing and jobs.

- Sharon also supported an Amendment to the Finance Bill which would limit the scope for tax changes following a ‘No-Deal’ unless authorised by MPs. Although the specific effect of this measure may be limited, it signals that there is no majority in the House of Commons for ‘No-Deal’.

- Sharon intends to support amendments that seek to take ‘No-Deal’ off the table and allow Parliament to have a say on options to break the Brexit deadlock.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recently released information on the impact of a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit scenario on the North-East:

Source:
http://www.cbi.org.uk/insight-and-analysis/impact-of-a-no-deal-brexit-across-the-uk/impact-of-a-no-deal-brexit-across-the-uk-continued/#northeast2

- If the UK fails to secure a deal, by 2034 real GVA – a measure of the value of goods and services produced in the region - could be 10.5% lower in the North East than under the UK’s current arrangements with the EU1. This could amount to an annual loss of output worth £7 billion by 2034 (in today’s prices), equivalent to twice the amount of public spending on schools and education in the region each year2.

- North East, and many of the region’s manufacturing businesses are particularly exposed to the risk of higher tariffs and other trade costs that would hit firms in a no deal scenario. The manufacturing sector accounts for 15% of the North East’s GVA and 10.4% of employment, making it the region’s largest sector3. With 89% of the North East’s exports being goods, and with 59% of these going to the EU4, a deal is really important for jobs and growth in the North East.

- The prospect of higher tariffs, border delays and administrative costs are a particular risk for the North East’s automotive sector – which spans small technology companies making steering systems to one of the largest car companies in the world. Transport equipment makes up the greatest share of manufacturing GVA in the North East (15.0%), and 94% of this comes from motor vehicles3. At a national level, the automotive sector is likely to be one of the most severely impacted sectors in a no deal scenario, with sectoral GVA projected to be around 23% lower by 2034 than it would be if today’s arrangements persisted1.That is because tariffs on cars could be up to 10% and every completed component in a car would have to be tested twice over before being sold, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

- The North East’s important chemicals, refined petroleum and coke sector, which accounts for 13.7% of the region’s manufacturing GVA3, is also highly exposed to no deal. The chemicals, pharmaceuticals, rubber & plastics sector is set to be one of the hardest hit sectors in a no deal, with sectoral GVA estimated to be around 22% lower by 2034 than if today’s arrangements with the EU continued1. That is because chemicals sold or traded to the EU are highly regulated and for safety reasons would have to be carefully tracked and traced through a complex system that UK firms would have to go through twice.

As reported in the Sunderland Echo, Assistant director of policy at North East Chamber of Commerce, Jonathan Walker recently warned that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could see “death by a thousand cuts” for Sunderland firms

Source:
https://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/business/no-deal-brexit-could-see-sunderland-firms-suffer-death-by-a-thousand-cuts-fears-business-leader-1-9542941

- The result of a no deal or disruptive Brexit, he argued, could affect future investment, disrupt supply chains and even see some businesses relocate.

- “When we have surveyed businesses in the region, among exporting businesses, the overwhelming majority want an outcome that keeps us in the single market or customs union or both. “This is for the very simple reason that goods flow freely across borders into Sunderland. “Any disruption to that trade fall we believe really exposes us to short-term disruption and risk but in the long-term makes Sunderland and the North East a less attractive place to invest in. “We have a lot of companies based here where this is their European presence and they’re there to serve a European market.

- “The reason we’re concerned is because the manufacturing sector in Sunderland is part of the jewel in the crown of the North East, we’re a region that continues to punch above its weight when it comes to export, particularly value.

In a recent statement, Nissan said:

‘Since 1986, the UK has been a production base for Nissan in Europe. Our British-based R&D and design teams support the development of products made in Sunderland, specifically for the European market.

Frictionless trade has enabled the growth that has seen our Sunderland plant become the biggest factory in the history of the UK car industry, exporting more than half of its production to the EU.

Today we are among those companies with major investments in the UK who are still waiting for clarity on what the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU will look like.

As a sudden change from those rules to the rules of the WTO will have serious implications for British industry, we urge UK and EU negotiators to work collaboratively towards an orderly balanced Brexit that will continue to encourage mutually beneficial trade.’

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said in a recent statement:

‘’Leaving the EU, our biggest and most important trading partner, without a deal and without a transition period to cushion the blow would put this sector and jobs at immediate risk. ‘No deal’ must be avoided at all costs. Business needs certainty so we now need politicians to do everything to prevent irreversible damage to this vital sector.”

 

Sharon Hodgson MP urges the Prime Minister to rule out a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit, which would be a disaster for Sunderland and the North East

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health is urging the Prime Minister to rule out a disastrous ‘No-Deal’ Brexit scenario. As... Read more

Sharon receives a response to her letter (of 13th Dec, 2018) requesting an update from Sunderland City Council, regarding the gasification plant application in Washington.

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Click on image above to download letter.

Update from Sunderland Council regarding gasification plant application in Washington

Sharon receives a response to her letter (of 13th Dec, 2018) requesting an update from Sunderland City Council, regarding the gasification plant application in Washington. Click on image above to download... Read more

On Wednesday 9th January 2019 Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington & Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health spoke in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 Debate and vowed to vote against the Prime Minister’s deal on Tuesday.

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Sharon was due to speak in the debate before Christmas recess, but it was suspended due to the Prime Minister abandoning her vote on the Brexit deal.

During the speech Sharon spoke about the abuse that some MPs have been receiving, including some directed at her in recent days and set out her reasons for voting against the Prime Minister’s deal when it is brought before the House next week.

Sharon said:

‘Although I campaigned and voted to Remain in the European Union in the referendum, I have set out to respect the result of that vote and taken great care to listen to the concerns of my constituents as the process unfolds.

I cannot in good conscience vote for the Prime Minister’s deal, which in my mind represents the failure of her Governments approach to the negotiations. It does not protect jobs, workplace rights or environmental standards. It will not ensure frictionless trade for UK businesses and the lack of a clear future relationship also means the Northern Ireland backstop is highly likely to come into place, which would have significant implications across the UK.

Hundreds of my constituents have written to me in recent weeks urging me to vote against the deal, both those who voted to Leave the EU and those who voted to Remain.

Almost nothing of what was promised during the referendum campaign has been delivered and as such I will be voting against the Prime Minister’s Deal next week.’

You can read the full text of Sharon's contribution to the debate below: 

Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West) (Lab)

"As we have a little more time than I thought we would, before I get into the substance of my speech tonight I just want to start by thanking you, Mr Speaker, for your support with regard to the harassment and targeting of MPs on and around the estate. The abuse that the right hon. Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry) and others on both sides of this House and this issue are being subjected to is truly despicable and genuinely worrying for the stability of our democracy. My worry is that the genie may be out of the bottle and the country may not heal for decades, no matter what happens here. That is why, as others have said, this is probably the most important decision and vote that I will have made in my almost 14 years as an MP, and perhaps may ever make.

I say this as I have had brought to my attention details of a threat that I have just received, calling me

“a traitor who should be hung for treason”.

This threat was not even made anonymously. It was made very publicly and traceably, and the man—I believe it is a man because I have seen a photograph of him—who made this threat must know that it is public and easily traceable, which makes this change in our national and political discourse all the more worrying. My crime that ​precipitated this threat was to be one of the 213 MPs of all parties to have signed the letter against crashing out without a deal—which we now know, after the vote last night and today, is the will of the majority of Members in this House. I say all this to reinforce the point about the pressure of the political climate that we are all operating in and dealing with. I know that none of us is taking any of this lightly at the moment.

Two years ago, over 62% of people in Sunderland voted to leave the European Union. That is an average across the three Sunderland constituencies. My canvassing told me at the time that the vote in my constituency may have been more in the region of 65% to 67%. The fact that—as I am sure you know, Mr Speaker—Nissan, the most productive car plant in the whole of Europe, is in my constituency explains why that first result on results night had the impact that it did on all of us, not just the three Sunderland MPs. I campaigned and voted to remain in the European Union, and did so because I believed that it was the best decision for the security, social cohesion and economy of the north-east and the country as a whole. Despite this, I recognised that a majority of my constituents had voted to leave, and I set out to respect the result of the referendum.

In that vein, I have largely refrained from commenting publicly on Brexit or speaking about it here—check Hansard!—choosing instead to listen to my constituents to understand the result, the vote. So I ran two surveys on Brexit. I took great care to read all of the significant amount of correspondence I received on the topic. I held three large public meetings. I engaged regularly with major employers in my constituency, such as Nissan, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and others, to hear their concerns about the process as it has unfolded over the past two years. Many of these companies, in particular, have been unnecessarily placed in a position by this Government where they are already spending vast sums of money on preparations for a no-deal scenario—something that none of us here will ever allow to happen.

Voting, and how one votes, is an extremely personal decision, and it would be wrong of us to claim to know exactly what led people to vote in the way that they did. We do know, however, what issues come up on the doorstep, in emails and letters, and through polls and surveys. We also know what was promised to people. As part of the survey that I ran last year—I ran one straight after the referendum and then one again last year—I asked people who had voted to leave in 2016 to rate a number of factors involved in their decision from “very important” to “unimportant”. The three issues with the highest number of people ranking them “very important” were, first, the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK; secondly, concerns that remaining would mean little or no choice about how the EU expanded its membership or powers; and thirdly, the incentive of trade opportunities outside the EU. It will be noticed that in this sample, immigration did not make the top three of the “very important” issues. It was an issue that people could choose but was actually near the bottom of the list in the final analysis. Make of that what you will.

During the referendum, people were also promised that voting to leave would mean more money for the NHS, more controls on immigration, and significant trade opportunities around the world—and ultimately that it would mean “taking back control”.

Mark Tami (Alyn and Deeside) (Lab)

Does my hon. Friend accept that they were also led to believe by the leave campaign that this would be a very simple process?

Mrs Hodgson

Absolutely. That would be one of the biggest ironies of any of our political careers, as we are all finding out that it is anything but simple. It has got to be the most complicated thing I have ever had to try to get my head around.

Can anyone in this place honestly say that the deal on offer delivers any of the things I have listed? Far from delivering back control, this deal means giving up our voice within the EU and becoming rule-takers until at least 2020, at which point the problematic backstop could come into place. The Government’s own analysis shows that the economic benefit of further trade deals around the world is minimal, will not come for a while and will be outweighed by GDP falling by around 3.9% under their deal.

With regard to immigration, the Government’s recent White Paper failed to provide overall clarity on the issue and included plans to disgracefully label workers on less than £30,000 a year as “low-skilled”. That policy will only contribute to existing staffing shortages in the NHS in particular, as it rules out nurses, care assistants and paramedics coming from abroad. As shadow Minister for Public Health, I am well placed to know that the much promised extra money for the NHS—remember the £350 million on the side of that big red bus?—could not be further from the truth.

It is no wonder that all this lack of clarity has left people on both sides of the debate hugely disappointed. Indeed, in recent weeks I have received hundreds of emails, letters and postcards regarding this deal, as I am sure every single Member of the House has. There are people who say that the Prime Minister’s deal fails to respect the result of the referendum and would like me to vote against it. There are people who would like me to vote against this deal and then push for a people’s vote. There are people who would like to bypass another vote altogether and for us to remain a member of the European Union. There are people who would like a Norway or Canada-style deal, and there are people who believe that we would now be better off leaving the EU without any deal at all.

However, it is astonishingly clear from the percentages of 87% to 13% that very few people would like me to vote for this deal. It is no wonder that almost 60% of those who took part in my survey now think that the electorate, as well as Parliament, should have to approve any deal agreed with the EU before it is ratified.

Almost nothing of what was promised and expected has been delivered. People who voted to leave the EU are not happy with this deal. People who voted to remain in the EU are not happy with this deal, and 87% of my constituents who contacted me about this deal are against it. As such, I will be voting against it when the question is put on Tuesday."

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Sharon Hodgson MP speaks in European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 Debate and sets out reasons for voting against Prime Minister’s deal

On Wednesday 9th January 2019 Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington & Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health spoke in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 Debate... Read more

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