The North East is now an exact 50/50 even split about whether to leave or stay in the EU, according to a new poll.
Despite the region voting overwhelmingly for Brexit in 2016 by a 16-point margin, polling by YouGov for the People’s Vote campaign suggests that opinion is now split on the issue.
At the time of the EU Referendum just over two years ago, Hartlepool voted 69% in favour of leaving the EU.
Today’s poll comes as the People’s Vote campaign publishes a detailed impact study on how Brexit would affect the North East.
It claims the region is expected to lose 10% of GDP over the next decade under a “no deal” scenario, meaning every man, woman and child in the North East would be £3,000 a year worse off.
Publication today of the poll of almost 1,000 adults across the North East shows strong support in the region for a People’s Vote on any final Brexit deal which is now favoured by a margin of 40 to 35%.
But if talks break down, or there is no agreement on a Brexit deal, 54% would back the public being given the final say against just 22 per cent who say MPs should the take the decision.
The disappearance of the Leave campaign’s 16-point margin of victory appears to have been driven by younger voters with those aged under 50 dividing two-to-one for staying in the European Union while voters over 50 are still two-to-one in favour of Brexit.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill said today he intends to support the “will of the majority” of people in the town who voted Leave.
Mr Hill said: “This is one of many polls I’m aware of, the last one being by the Observer newspaper which put remainers in Hartlepool on 30.4% compared to 41.4% who are still pro Brexit. This vote is reflected across the whole of the Tees Valley, and although it shows a drift away from the 69.6% outcome in the referendum for Hartlepool it’s not significant enough to make any real difference.
“My mandate from my constituents continues to be that they want out and despite of all the issues we are currently facing, thanks largely to the thus far incompetent handling of negotiations by the Government, I have no intention to do anything other than to continue supporting the will of the majority of the people.’
Phil Wilson, who is Labour MP for Sedgefield and a leading supporter of People’s Vote, said: “Brexit is the greatest issue facing the country since the Second World War and it is only right that the British people are given the opportunity to test their original decision to leave the EU in light of the facts we now know that we didn’t know then.
“That is why I believe people should have a right to a final vote on the final deal, whatever it is.
“I know the North East voted for Brexit, but attitudes and minds are starting to change.”