Brexit voters urge MPs to make a move
SUNDERLAND, United Kingdom — “It just needs to be sorted,” said 23-year-old Adam Green, a frustrated Leave voter in Brexitbacking Sunderland, where patience with parliamentary delays over Britain’s departure is wearing thin.
The former shipbuilding city in northeast England, where the Nissan carmaker plant is now the lifeblood, played a starring role in Britain’s seismic decision to leave the European Union.
The city’s 61 percent vote in favor of leaving in the 2016 referendum signaled early on where the nation was heading on the night of June 23, 2016 and celebrations at the count were beamed worldwide.
Now, as MPs prepare for Tuesday’s decision on whether or not to back the divorce deal struck between London and Brussels, voters in Sunderland are urging them to get on with it and get Britain out.
The years of wrangling since the referendum over how, or even if, Britain leaves have certainly dampened the high spirits of that 2016 June night.
“It’s become an absolute joke,” said Green, who is unemployed for medical reasons, as he stood outside the Bridges main shopping center.
“It’s disrespecting my vote completely. Myself and my whole family voted for us to come out,” he said.
“The MPs need to get their heads down and get us out.
“I just want it over and done with because I’m sick of hearing about Brexit,” he added.
The University of Sunderland campus was built in the 1990s on the site of former shipyards that once dominated the banks of the River Wear in this working-class city of 275,000 people.
Sunderland was a coal trading port, had its own collieries, was a glassmaking center and boasted a major brewery.
The heavy industry has largely evaporated, though the docks are still going and ships’ horns echo among the cranes.
Britain’s largest car factory employs more than 7,000 workers and builds 500,000 vehicles per year, including the Juke, Qashqai and electric Leaf models. About 55 percent are exported tariff-free to the EU.
Stephen O’Brien, a city councilor for the pro-EU opposition Liberal Democrats, said a no-deal Brexit’s effect on the city’s manufacturing would be “more devastating than losing the pits and the boat industry”.
Strolling along Roker Beach, a sweeping bay where kayakers brave the chilly North Sea, 67-yearold Brian Halse said: “It’s just a shambles. I did vote for Brexit. I would like us to go out. I think we’re better off by ourselves.
“I like (Prime Minister) Theresa May but nobody’s backing her the way they should. We should all stick together and go out the best way we can.”
Ronnie Quinn, 60, picking litter on the riverbank by the Wearmouth Bridge, said MPs were “acting like children” instead of upholding the referendum result.
“I voted to leave — and we won. The country’s made a choice and they should all be working together to shift Britain out,” he said.
“I would prefer no deal. The country did all right before the EU.”
But Liz Sulaiman, 74, said she was more worried about the effects of a potential no-deal Brexit on her grandchildren.
“We’re just out on a limb.”