Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen, Labour MEPs for the North East have called for the region to have a strong voice in future negotiations for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. In the coming months, they 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. The 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 be 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 Kindgom and whether we need a greater emphasis on reforming our own institutions, once we no longer have a European tier of governance.
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 the European negotiators as well as negotiators in Westminster and Whitehall.
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.