BARONESS Glenys Kinnock today (Weds June 1) urged North-East women to vote to remain in Europe as she met international development and women’s campaigners in the region.

The life peer, who served as Minister for Europe as well as Foreign Office Minister for Africa and the United Nations, spoke at a meeting hosted by Durham’s MP Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods at the city’s St Aidan’s College.

During her speech, she referred to her experience as co-President of the European Parliament’s influential EU-Africa, Caribbean, Pacific Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Baroness Kinnock said: “The European Union has a hidden but vital role coordinating the fight against poverty and disease by promoting international development as well as human rights around the world – especially to support gender equality.

“The improvements it has achieved reducing mortality in childbirth, increasing female property rights, and tackling violence against women across the developing world are an EU success story that needs to promoted and protected so it was inspiring to see campaigners in Durham making it a priority too.”

Dr Blackman-Woods said: “I have been talking to a number of people in Durham on how they are going to vote and a number want more information.

“Having Glenys here today is wonderful. It is part of the focus of the Remain campaign to highlight the huge boost to out economy that comes from companies like Nissan and Hitachi investing here.

"The region is a net gainer from Europe not only in financial terms but by improvements to our environment and better consumer and workers’ rights.

"Anyone who cares about the future of the region should vote remain.”

Meanwhile, dozens of people from the North East LGBT community have called for voters to back staying in Europe at the June 23 EU Referendum.

Stephen Stanners, chairman of LGBT Labour North, said: “The EU has played an important part in ensuring LGBT rights are promoted in all member states.

“It has protections in place to ensure that people are not discriminated against in the workplace based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Being a member of the EU has been vital in the progression of LGBT rights here in the UK and elsewhere, though there is still more to be done.”