A PRO-European Union Labour peer and former cabinet minister is urging the North-East to campaign for a second referendum in a bid to stop a “catastrophic” Brexit.

Leading Remain supporter Lord Andrew Adonis will be speaking in the region tonight as he leads a meeting of business leaders and campaigners organised by the Tees4Europe movement.

Lord Adonis has been touring the UK to garner effective change by halting the current course of Brexit negotiations, backing calls for a People’s Vote for a second EU referendum.

In 2016, Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, and Northumberland voted leave.

However, speaking to The Northern Echo, Lord Adonis said he felt opinions on Brexit are “shifting” in the region ahead of speaking in Stockton tonight.

He said: “It’s going to be a big meeting of local businesses and business leaders who want to see Britain remain in the European Union.

“They are seriously worried about the prospect of ‘no deal’ and the complete chaos that would cause in just five weeks’ time.

“My message will be that we can still stop Brexit in a democratic way with a referendum and that’s the right thing to do because people’s jobs in the North-East are at risk if we crash out of the European Union.”

He added: “I have been to the North-East a lot in recent times and I can see opinions shifting as we come to understand the full ramifications of Brexit.”

Concerns over the region’s position in Brexit were raised when Nissan confirmed this month that the company’s X-Trail model would not be built at its plant in Sunderland, instead moving its manufacturing to Japan.

Nissan employs around 16,000 in the region and drew national attention during the Brexit debate in 2016 when the firm received a letter from government ministers offering undisclosed reassurances about the company’s future competitiveness.

Four months after the referendum, the Japanese car-maker said it would build its next-generation Qashqai sports utility vehicle and a new X-Trail model in Sunderland – a deal now off the table.

Lord Adonis said: “We are already seeing jobs moving – it’s a troubling situation with the big companies like Nissan already moving some of their production elsewhere.

“My message is that we can still stop a catastrophic Brexit and people should campaign for a referendum.

“In doing so, others we can avoid seriously damaging the North-East’s economy and its position in the future.”

The Tees4Europe campaigners describe themselves as a “non-partisan grassroots anti-Brexit group”, campaigning for a people's vote. The group are affiliated to the European Movement, which Lord Adonis is vice chair of.

Lord Adonis will be a guest speaker at the Tees4Europe event, Brexit and How to Stop It, tonight.

Entry is free, but ticketed and will be held in the Stockton Arts Centre (ARC), off Dovecot Street, and begins at 4.30pm. It is expected to end at around 6.30pm.

To register an interest, visit eventbrite.co.uk and search Tees4Europe