Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Economy Must Take Lead over Control of Borders in Brexit, Insists MP

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Economy Must Take Lead over Control of Borders in Brexit, Insists MP

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor

PLACING a crackdown on EU migration ahead of the economy could threaten thousands of jobs in the North East, an MP has warned.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson said ensuring British-made products can be sold across Europe was more important than cutting immigration.

However, the MP also said the government and other politicians must listen to the concerns of voters and find ways to get immigration numbers down.

But he said: "At the end of the day, what actually trumps immigration is economic well-being and jobs."

He joined other MPs in the North East who are concerned about the impact Brexit could have on investment in the region, where major employers include Japanese firms Hitachi and Nissan.

As long as the UK remains in the EU, goods made in the UK can be sold across the EU. However, if the UK leaves the single market then it's possible tariffs could be imposed, making British goods more expensive overseas.

The government appears to be heading for what has become known as "hard Brexit", which probably involves leaving the EU single market and also taking back full control over the UK's borders, allowing the UK to control immigration from EU countries.

By contrast, the option known as "soft Brexit" would involve continuing as full or partial members of the EU single market, but would probably also mean continuing to accept the principle of freedom of movement so that EU citizens have a right to live and work in the UK.

Mr Wilson said: "You've got implications for foreign domestic investment, particularly in the North East. The Japanese have pointed that out.

"I know immigration is a big issue but I don't think people voted to make themselves poorer. I think we have got to look at the impact on immigration and also on the economy if we leave the single market. …

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