After it became apparent that Britain voted to leave the European Union early on Thursday morning, many Remain politicians have found themselves asking ‘what went wrong?’. Well, nobody has asked that question more than the Labour Party.

Traditionally, Labour’s heart is in the north east of England. Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough are safe ground for the Party in General Elections. However, post-referendum, it has appeared that Labour has lost its grip on the heartlands as Sunderland and Middlesbrough voted to leave the EU while Newcastle had a slim Remain majority. This poses questions about Labour as (you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know) the official stance of the Party was to Remain. What many Labour politicians believe is that their leader Jeremy Corbyn failed to connect with core voters and would also fail in an election.


However, it would be a disservice to Mr Corbyn to say that everyone is against his leadership. In fact, that would be untrue. Shadow Education Minister and MP for West Durham Pat Glass defended her leader before she was promoted to her new post while MP for Wansbeck Ian Lavery said that Mr Corbyn has his “100% backing”. Blaydon MP Dave Anderson claimed that the Shadow Cabinet resignations, which left Mr Corbyn with less than half a Cabinet, were “abusing the democratic process” and Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah, who has since been promoted to Shadow Business Secretary, said she “support[s] the leadership of the Party”.


The reasons that the north east voted to leave the European Union may not be the same as the ones behind Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson wanting to leave. After all, immigration in the north east is the lowest in the country, yet unemployment is the highest in the country. The Chancellor George Osborne made plans for a so-called northern powerhouse (I know I’m yet to see any evidence of it) in order to give the north a huge economic boost. What a great idea! Well, it would be if the concept did not stop at Manchester. Perhaps the reason that the north east voted Leave was because they are disengaged with the political elite and feel – quite rightly – out of the loop.

Time and time again we see that there is a north-south divide. George Osborne’s half-hearted attempt to stop it has quite clearly failed and now that we’ve voted to Brexit, I wonder if there will be any attempt at all. The skeptic in me (which is always a good part to possess in politics) says that things for the north east will only get worse.

The Westminster elite will never understand the plight of those in the north east of England until they have grown up in it or lived in it themselves. Oh, and neither will Nigel Farage with his offshore funds, so I wouldn’t be too trusting of the man with the cigar and pint in his hand.

It is a strong possibility that the north east voted Leave because it feels wholly isolated from the rest of England and all mainstream politics. Perhaps people in the north east are sick of being second best and thought it couldn’t get any worse. If this is the case then every politician – both Leave and Remain – has failed in their duty.

What the north east needs is someone they can believe and trust. It’s clear that neither Corbyn nor Cameron have earned that trust and belief.