Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North, has demanded the North East’s voice is heard throughout the UK’s Brexit negotiations, following the Prime Minister’s speech today confirming the Government intends to leave the Single Market when Britain departs from the EU.
Speaking during a statement in the Commons today by the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Catherine said:
‘58% of the North East’s exports are destined for the EU – 10% more than the UK average – leaving our region one of the most exposed to the impact of leaving the Single Market.
‘Could the Secretary of State confirm what specific conversations he has had with business organisations, and others, in the North East to ensure that our voice is heard in these discussions – and that those jobs which depend on our access to the Single Market are not put at risk?’
In 2015, the North East exported £7billion worth of goods to the European Union, from a total of £12.1billion of exports leaving the region – meaning 58% of our international trade was destined for EU countries, well above the UK average of 48%.
It has also been estimated that over 100,000 jobs in the region currently rely on the UK’s trade with the European Union.
Commenting afterwards, Catherine said:
‘Our future trading arrangements with the European Union are particularly important to the North East’s economy and local jobs, so the Government’s complete failure to acknowledge that leaving the EU – and particularly the Single Market – will affect different parts of the country in different ways is deeply concerning.
‘The North East’s voice and interests should be important as anyone else’s throughout this process, and it’s not good enough for the Government to plough ahead with a negotiating strategy which could damage our region more than others.’