Labour MPs in the North East have been giving their reasons as to why they voted in favour of a Parliament Bill to trigger Brexit negotiations.
While 47 Labour MPs went against party leader Jeremy Corbyn to vote against the bill, MPs from our constituencies did not.
The EU (Notification Of Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Commons authorises the Government to invoke Article 50, marking the start of the formal two-year Brexit process.
Here's what north east Labour MPs in our constituencies have said on the issue...
BRIDGET PHILLIPSON, Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South:
"Although I personally campaigned and voted for the UK to remain a member of the European Union, I have been clear since the referendum that I respect the decision taken by the British people and will do my best to ensure that we get the best deal possible for Sunderland, the north east and our country as a whole.
"For that reason, I voted for the Second Reading of the Withdrawal from the European Union (Article 50) Bill last night.
"Triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union will set the clock on a two-year period of negotiations with Brussels to decide the terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
"Labour will have an important role to play in Parliament by scrutinising the government’s approach to these negotiations every step of the way.
"That’s why we have tabled a series of amendments to the Article 50 Bill for debate next week in the Commons.
"We are seeking to protect workers’ rights, secure tariff-free access to the Single Market, and ensure that the House of Commons has a say on any proposed deal. Our amendments will also require the government to publish impact assessments of new proposed trading relationship with the EU."
JULIE ELLIOTT, Labour MP for Sunderland Central:
"Since the referendum I have consistently said that I respect the result and that I will not block Brexit - that is why I voted in favour of the Article 50 Bill on Wednesday evening.
"The Brexit negotiations will now formally begin and will last for at least two years. During that time I will fight Sunderland’s corner at every opportunity to make sure we get the very best deal possible."
SHARON HODGSON, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said:
"The referendum result from last summer’s referendum was clear, Sunderland voted to leave, and so that the democratic decision of the people of Sunderland was upheld, I voted in favour of the Article 50 Bill."
IAIN WRIGHT, Labour MP for Hartlepool:
"The people of this country decided on June 23 last year, with a slim but nevertheless clear majority, to leave the European Union. Any thought that such a decision in the referendum was advisory is ludicrous.
"Although it is right that MPs in the main use their judgment and are representatives, rather than delegates, on a matter like this where the people have provided a direct say through the referendum, I think it is right that Parliament reflects that opinion and decision.
"That is why I voted to trigger Article 50 last night. Britain’s future will be outside of the European Union. That is not under dispute. The task now is to ensure that the UK gets the best possible deal."
GRAHAME MORRIS, Labour MP for Easington:
"The UK voted to leave the European Union and as a democrat I believe that you must respect the outcome of the referendum.
"Triggering Article 50 will commence the process, at the end of which the UK will leave the European Union.
"The Government does not have a blank cheque, any deal must prioritise jobs and the economy, as well as protecting workers’ rights and the environment.
"If Brexit is the opportunity promised by the Prime Minister, she will have to explain how communities like East Durham will benefit post-Brexit in terms of regeneration and investment."
EMMA LEWELL-BUCK, Labour MP for South Shields:
"I voted in Parliament last year to allow the Referendum to take place. I then campaigned to Remain in the EU as I believed it would protect our economy.
"I have always respected the referendum result and whilst I have criticised the Government's handling of Brexit, I have consistently stated that I would not vote to block the triggering of our withdrawal from the EU.
"Last night, my vote in favour of triggering Article 50 reflected this stance. I respect democracy and our democratic processes, and will now continue to fight for the best deal for all of my constituents."