`

MEP tells North East MPs to 'move on' over Brexit after calls for referendum on withdrawal deal

Jonathan Arnott
Jonathan Arnott

An MEP has slammed a suggestion by North East Labour MPs that there should be a referendum on the UK's Brexit deal.

Five Labour backbenchers who penned a letter in the Independent saying there should be a "people's vote" on the outcome of the Government's negotiations with the European Union.

The words have sparked an angry reaction from former Ukip MEP for the North East Jonathan Arnott, who now sits as an independent.

Mr Arnott, who is based in Hartlepool, said the referendum should not be "re-fought" and the "conversation should have moved on by now."

"Let's just try to keep things in context, shall we? Yes, we had a referendum at which more people voted Leave than have voted for anything else in British history - including 58% here in the North East.," he said.

“But that one referendum didn't come in isolation. The 2014 European elections, the 2015 General Election and the 2017 General Election were all won by parties pledging to leave the EU, or to hold and implement the referendum result.

"David Cameron, a Remainer, described the referendum as a 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity'. Are we now to reinvent this, and say it should be two, three or four times just because he didn't get his way?

"The conversation should have moved on by now. Leave or Remain should be ancient history; we should be debating what kind of independent nation we want to be, how to exercise our newly-regained power, imaginative policies on global trade or local tax that would have been illegal whilst in the EU,” said Mr Arnott.

The five Labour MPs, who made the call writing in the Independent, are Phil Wilson (Sedgefield), Paul Williams (Stockton South), Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South), Anna Turley (Redcar) and Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle North).

Four of the five constituencies they represent voted for Leave at the referendum.