'They've Completely Lied': Sunderland Question Time Audience Member Wouldn't Vote For Brexit Now

Minister Graham Stuart on the back foot as Northern Ireland hailed as "world’s most exciting economic zone" after new deal with EU.

A Brexit voter from Sunderland has explained to a government minister why he would not back leaving the EU now – arguing it has “been a complete mess from the beginning”.

BBC’s Question Time this week came from the city in the north east of England, which has became emblematic of the decision to quit the bloc as it was the first area to return a vote in favour of leave.

The opening question came from an audience member named Michael, who asked: “Were we the people of Sunderland wrong to vote to leave the EU given that Northern Ireland is now the world’s most exciting economic zone?”

His question was prompted by Rishi Sunak’s hailing Northern Ireland’s access to both EU and British markets as part of his new Brexit deal with the EU.

Critics were quick to point out that the entire UK had full access to the EU’s single market before Brexit.

On the BBC show, presenter Fiona Bruce pressed Tory minister Graham Stuart on the apparent disparity, telling him “if Northern Ireland is the world’s most exciting economic zone, presumably we’re not as exciting”.

Stuart, who campaigned for remain in 2016, stressed Northern Ireland has “special circumstances” because “we must protect peace in Northern Ireland and on the island of Ireland”.

But it did not sway the audience member, who explained why he would change his vote now.

He added: “It just goes to show that they’ve messed it up from the beginning, that the economic downturn is very clearly related to the EU, and even the prime minister, by his words, believes that.

“So somewhere along the line, they’ve they’ve completely lied. They’ve sold us the wrong thing.

“It wasn’t this so called oven ready Brexit or it wasn’t, so it’s just just being a mess.

“And if it was to go again, I’m likely to change my vote.”

On Tuesday, Sunak was extolling the virtues of the Brexit deal he struck with the EU.

The biggest plus-point, the prime minister said, was that it put the country in a uniquely advantageous economic position.

Under the terms of the “Windsor Framework”, Northern Ireland will be able to trade freely with both the EU single market and the rest of the UK.

Speaking to business leaders at a Coca-Cola factory in Lisburn, he said that meant it had the potential to be “the world’s most exciting economic zone”.

The PM said: “Northern Ireland is in the unbelievably special position – unique position in the entire world, European continent – in having privileged access, not just to the UK home market, which is enormous, but also the European Union single market.

“Nobody else has that. No one. Only you guys: only here, and that is the prize.”


What's Hot