A new union leader says Brexit must be delivered to uphold democracy and respect the result of the EU referendum - but has also warned about the rise of right-wing political groups.
Alan Mardghum, who has taken on the double role of secretary and president of Durham Miners’ Association, has said those who voted for the UK’s departure from the European Union must be respected.
But while he slammed the Conservative government for its handling of Brexit he also called into question calls for a second referendum as part of the People’s Vote movement.
The former Monkwearmouth Colliery powerloader also insists everything must be done to keep the far right from grasping political power, and ahead of this month’s European elections, has accused Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage of captialising on dissatisfaction for his own gain.
Mr Farage will address a Brexit Party rally to be held on Wearside this Saturday.
Mr Mardghum says the Labour Party would have ensured a withdrawal agreement on better terms than the deal so far.
“I support the people who voted to leave, that was a democratic vote,” he said.
“People who say we need a People’s Vote, what we had in June 2016 was the people’s vote, what do they want, the best of three?”
Mr Mardghum fears division over the issue will create a space where the far right could thrive.
He added: “I voted remain, but that was in the minority, and they have played down this majority.
“It was the job of politicians to see that was mandated and unfortunately they have let us down and I think it’s very hard for working people, the uncertainty is very damaging.
“Unfortunately, we have now got European elections.
“I would urge people to vote Labour because the alternative is the far right party we have got coming through.
“You’ve got Farage and people like that and we need to bring these politicians to account.
“Farage has objected to it that much he’s on the gravy train of Europe and so the only way we should be voting is to vote as left as we are comfortable with –- if that means voting Green, so be it, but I advocate voting Labour, but anything but the far right.”
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will host the event at Rainton Meadows Arena in Houghton on Saturday.
Mr Farage is set to be joined by former Conservative MP turned Brexit Party candidate Ann Widdecombe, who is set to stand in the upcoming European elections. Party chairman Richard Tice will be there alongside North East election candidates Brian Monteith, John Tennant and Richard Monaghan.