EUROPE: Vital that we work together

We are writing jointly as Northumberland politicians from the main parties in this county '“ Conservative, Green, Liberal Democrat and Labour '“ because many people are asking how leaving the EU would affect us here in Northumberland.

Friday, 17th June 2016, 10:30 am

The North East exports more than it imports. Companies based here are selling right across Europe, not just the big companies like Nissan, but also many smaller specialist high-tech firms in Northumberland. Together they have created thousands of new jobs, which go on to create further jobs on our high streets and at our visitor attractions. We need all those jobs to stay here.

Historically, our ancestors came from across the North Sea and it is to our North Sea neighbours that we have turned to solve the modern day problems we have in common.

Newcastle and Malmö in Sweden worked together on regenerating their cities after traditional heavy industries had shut down. In Tynedale and along the Northumberland coast and hills, EU Leader funding has supported local community initiatives, such as village halls and shops.

Our beautiful beaches are protected by EU directives – pollution crosses national boundaries and it is only by working with our continental neighbours that we can tackle the big environmental problems we all face, such as climate change and air pollution.

Farmers in this cold county rely on EU support to stay in business so they can carry on producing food and looking after the landscape that both residents and tourists cherish.

On June 23 we have a choice.

We can turn our backs on the rest of Europe, but that means that we have left the room when all the big issues that affect us are being discussed. If we are not at the table, we are not able to look after British interests and security.

Or we can choose the path of true sovereignty, which is to insist on being part of all the decisions that affect us, and, indeed, to take a lead on those issues.

It is vital that we carry on working together and building prosperity and security for Northumberland and beyond. Please vote Remain on June 23.

Lord Alan Beith, Liberal Democrat, House of Lords former MP, Berwick-upon-Tweed

Nic Best, Green Party, town councillor, Morpeth

Gordon Castle, Conservative, county councillor, Alnwick

Scott Dickinson, Labour, business chairman of Northumberland County Council, Hadston

Fiona Hall, Liberal Democrat, former MEP, Whittingham

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, Labour, Hexham

Guy Opperman MP, Conservative, Hexham

Julie Pörksen, Liberal Democrat, candidate Berwick constituency, Rothbury

Baroness Joyce Quin, Labour, House of Lords former Europe Minister, Warkworth

Dougie Watkin, Liberal Democrat, county councillor, Norham

Lee Williscroft-Ferris, Green Party, candidate Hexham constituency, Hexham

John Woodman, Conservative, county councillor, Seahouses

Peter Jackson, Conservative, county councillor and Northumberland Group Leader, Ponteland