Britain EU flags
Sunderland's MPs have vowed to vote against PM Theresa May's Brexit plan, amid an Echo readers' poll showing overwhelming public support to quit the EU - even without a deal.

Labour members Bridget Phillipson, Julie Elliott and Sharon Hodgson insisted they would not back Mrs May's proposals, being put to Parliament tomorrow. They said they had received clear messages from both Remain and Leave supporting constituents against supporting the PM's much-maligned plan.

It was originally due to be put before the Commons in December, but was postponed at the last minute over fears the Government would lose.

Bridget Phillipson

Bridget Phillipson, Labour Party
Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29 under the terms of Article 50, the legal withdrawal mechanism.

Our poll asked: 'Should Brexit proceed without a deal with the EU?'

70 per cent of 1,300 readers who cast their vote favoured leaving the EU, even if a deal is not struck.

In the 2016 Brexit referendum, 61.3% of voters in Sunderland backed quitting the European Union, a vote which stunned politicians.
Julie Elliott

Julie Elliott
Houghton and Sunderland South MP Ms Phillipson, who voted Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum, said: "I remain opposed to the Prime Minister's deal, which puts jobs and livelihoods in our community at risk, and shows that what was promised in 2016 cannot possibly be delivered.

"If the Government cannot get its plans through Parliament, I believe that the people of our country must be given a choice on whether they want Theresa May's deal, or to stick with the one we have now as EU members."
Sharon Hodgson MP

Sharon Hodgson MP
Ms Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, said: "What is clear from the correspondence I have received, and conversations I have had with my constituents over the last few months, is that Parliament should reject the Prime Minister's deal."

And Ms Elliott, who also voted Remain, added: "I am very well aware of my constituents' views.

"It is a deal that leaves the country worse off, and that will make Sunderland and the wider North East poorer.

"When the Government cannot itself decide how to proceed and is in total chaos, I believe the only solution to this problem is to put the question back to the people so they can choose between Theresa May's deal, or the one we have now."

Mrs Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, who campaigned and voted to remain in the European Union, said she respected the result of that vote.
Sunderland, great britain
© Google Maps
Houghton le Spring, Sunderland
But she added: "I cannot in good conscience vote for the Prime Minister's deal, which in my mind represents the failure of her Government's approach to the negotiations.

"It does not protect jobs, workplace rights or environmental standards.

"It will not ensure frictionless trade for UK businesses and the lack of a clear future relationship also means the Northern Ireland backstop is highly likely to come into place, which would have significant implications across the UK.

"Hundreds of my constituents have written to me in recent weeks urging me to vote against the deal, both those who voted to leave the EU and those who voted to remain.

"Almost nothing of what was promised during the referendum campaign has been delivered and as such I will be voting against the Prime Minister's deal."