Sharon is backing a listening consultation with the people of the North East by Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen, Labour Members of the European Parliament for the North East on the upcoming negotiations for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
The North East has the most to lose from leaving the EU, and it is up to the elected representatives in the region to be a strong voice during the negotiations to get the best deal possible for the North East.
Over the coming months, Labour’s two MEPs will be organising a consultation with the region’s political leaders, businesses, universities and trade unions as well as residents from across the North East before putting a regional view to the negotiators at European and UK level and it is paramount that the people of Sunderland have their voices heard.
This move follows concerns that other places such as Scotland, Wales and Cornwall have made their views clear potentially leaving the North East and its interests behind.
The consultation process will begin with an open survey to gauge opinion followed by a series of meetings and discussions with interest groups. These meetings will involve business leaders in the region, universities, cultural leaders, faith groups, the voluntary community sector, the unions, rural communities and schools. There will be a focus on reaching out to ordinary people, especially those who voted to leave, to hear what their priorities are for the next stage of the exit process.
The consultation will seek to find out how important access to the Single Market is for the North East and explore the question of how European regional and social funding could be replaced from other sources. There will also be a focus on what shape rights for workers and consumers would be and whether environmental standards should be maintained at the current level.
The consultation may also consider how well represented the North East is within the structure of the United Kingdom and whether we need a greater emphasis on reforming our own institutions, once we no longer have a European tier of governance.
“The result of the EU referendum was clear, and it is now time that the people of our region, both those who voted to remain and those who voted to leave, have their voices heard and are not left behind as the negotiations begin. That is why I welcome the consultation by our two Labour MEPs to ensure that our region’s voice is heard during these negotiations.
“I hope as many people in our region as possible, especially here in Sunderland, will engage with this consultation and have a measured and respectful debate about our future outside of the European Union and what guarantees we can get for our region to ensure our fragile economic prosperity is not weakened.”
Jude Kirton Darling MEP said:
“The decision to leave the EU brings an unprecedented array of challenges for the region, but possibly new opportunities, too. We believe it is important that the region has a voice in these times of great change. We intend to carry out far-reaching research to try and identify the region’s key priorities and to understand what the North East needs from an exit negotiation from the EU. Ultimately we intend to present our findings to the European negotiators as well as to negotiators in Westminster and Whitehall."
Paul Brannen MEP said:
“We believe that this referendum was an expression of frustration and disillusionment with politics and society in this country, and that we must listen to all voices, in order to try and get the most beneficial deal for all. We want to hear from everyone. This vote will affect every single person in this region and every person’s voice counts. So if leaving the EU will affect you, your business, your studies, or your household bills, please get in touch.”
You can find the link to the initial survey and further updates on the consultation here.