THE Parliamentary select committee tasked with scrutinising Government plans for leaving the EU visited Sunderland.
Chaired by Hilary Benn, the 19 member Exiting the EU Committee was in the city to look at what Brexit means for Sunderland.
During the hearing in the Council Chamber at Sunderland City Council, the committee took oral evidence from Councillor Paul Watson, the Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chair of the North East Combined Authority (NECA); John Elliot, Executive Chairman, EBAC and representative of Business for Britain in the North East; Ross Smith, Director of Policy at the North East England Chamber of Commerce (NECC) and Richard Baker, Head of Strategy and Policy at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP).
Among the issues covered were what Brexit means for Sunderland in terms of opportunities and challenges and what Sunderland and the North East want the Government to prioritise in the Brexit process.
Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Paul Watson said: “I think today’s session was very useful. It gave us the opportunity to expand on some of the things that clearly were in the thoughts of the MPs.
“For a long time we’ve asked to have a voice in the discussion and the debate and this was an important opportunity to do just that.”
The visit to Sunderland was the newly formed committee’s first public evidence hearing away from Westminster. The evidence gathered will form part of the Government’s inquiry into the UK’s negotiating objectives for withdrawal from the EU.
During their visit they also met councillors, partners, businesses, business sector representative groups and unions about what they would like to see the government prioritise in its negotiations.