South Tyneside’s two MPs want Britain to remain part of the EU.
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and Jarrow’s Stephen Hepburn are both backing the official Labour party line and urging voters to support the ‘In’ campaign in the EU referendum on June 23.
Emma Lewell-Buck said: “The Conservative Party are tearing themselves apart over Europe, with the debate being all about Boris Johnson.
“People in the North East are not interested in Boris’ ambitions to become Prime Minister, they are interested in having a say on the future of our relationship with the EU.
“Whilst I agree there are reforms needed, such as removal of the second seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, I believe reforms are better negotiated from within the union and not as an outsider.
“I will be voting to remain in the EU not just because the North East benefits economically, with 160,000 jobs reliant on our trade with the EU, but because I am from a generation that have grown up as British Europeans.
“In that time we’ve had peace between member states, we have seen workers’ rights favourably transformed and we have seen investment in our region.
“Put simply – we are stronger in.”
And Stephen Hepburn said being part of the EU was good for the region: “I strongly believe we should remain part of the European Union because the North East does well out of it,” he said. Our region are net beneficiaries of EU funding.
“We are the only region which are net exporters of manufactured goods and we have major employers such as Nissan and Hitachi who have located here for ready access to the EU’s massive market.”
Nissan, which employs 6,000 people in the North East, is backing the ‘In’ campaign.
Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “Our preference as a business is that the UK stays within Europe – it makes the most sense for jobs, trade and costs. A position of stability is more positive than a collection of unknowns.”