A GROUP of concerned residents are mounting a protest outside the Nissan's Sunderland plant urging the Government to extend the Brexit transition period.

The demonstrators, who complied with Covid-19 and confined themselves to six people social distancing, came out after a warning from Nissan that the Sunderland plant would be "unsustainable" without a trade deal.

When Britain left the EU in January, it entered into the transition period, which ends on December 31, allowing the UK to continue its current relationship with the EU while negotiating aspects such as trade deals. The transition period can be extended by two years, although any extension must be signed off by July 1.

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Campaigner Louise Brown said: "We are a group of local concerned residents who are got a horrible shock when Nissan said last the plant would not be sustainable in the event of a no deal Brexit. We are calling on the Government to extend the Brexit transition period.

"As someone who grew up around the corner from the Nissan factory, I know just how important it is economically to the region.

"I find it unfathomable why the Government are refusing to extend the transition period."

She added: "This is going to increase the risk of a No Deal Brexit as we know. And with Nissan having said themselves they are not going to be sustainable in the region in in the event of a no-deal Brexit, I just don't know what the Government are playing at.

"There will be a loss of around 7,000 jobs. Whatever you voted in the referendum you did not vote for this. It is specially mad because we are in the middle of a pandemic and it's bound to effect the EU talks on the deal.

"The North-East is already the worst affected by the Covid-19 and will be the worst affected by a no deal Brexit.

"Please let us not revisit our pit closure past and the economic disaster that happened there. Please extend the transition period to save this region from ruin."

Ms Brown said, becauses of coronavirus restrictions, only six people were attending, but there were many more who wanted to be there.

The protest follows comments from Nissan's global chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta that the car giant would not be able to stand by its commitment to the Sunderland plant if the UK left the European Union without a trade deal that enabled tariff-free EU access.

He warned: "If we are not getting the current tariffs, it's not our intention but the business will not be sustainable."

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