A PLEA for calm has been issued after windows of an MP’s constituency office were smashed in what she believes is a Brexit-related attack.

Security is being stepped up at the office of Helen Goodman, who represents Bishop Auckland, after the damage at the weekend.

She believes she was targeted in a politically-motivated attack over her position regarding the withdrawal from the European Union.

But police have said they are keeping an open mind as to why two windows were broken at her office on Cockton Hill Road in the town centre.

Officers are not ruling out anti-social behaviour or drunkenness, but Ms Goodman feels it is an escalation of online abuse over Brexit she has been subjected to.

Ms Goodman said: “It is a part of a pattern and the main thing to get across is that chucking a brick is not a resolution to Brexit.

The Northern Echo:

“The thing with Brexit is that the country is deeply divided. We are not going to end up with a solution that satisfies everybody and give everybody what they want.

“It is complicated and difficult and people were sold false promises. It is more difficult than people thought it was going to be.

“But if people think they are going to get what they want by chucking bricks, they are wrong.”

Ms Goodman initially campaigned to remain in the EU, but did vote to invoke article 50 in respect of the referendum result in June 2016.

An emergency European summit is being held on Wednesday, and the prime minister is expected to make the case for extending article 50 for only a few months to allow for a deal to be agreed between Labour and the Tories and avoid ‘no deal’.

Ms Goodman, 61, the area’s Labour MP since 2005, said she wanted a deal that would protect key industries in her constituency, such as manufacturing and farming.

She said Government figures suggest unemployment in the Bishop Auckland area would rise from around 5.7 per cent to over 17 per cent in the event of a no deal outcome.

Ms Goodman said: “People are now saying crashing out with no deal was what they voted for, but it is not.

“Three years ago it was not on the table or the agenda. The idea of no deal was not raised until six months ago.

“The leaders of Brexit were talking about staying in the single market and staying in the customs union.

“Now people like me are working to stay in the customs union, to avoid no deal because the impact of that would be horrendous.

“There would be shortages of medicine and food and the impact on manufacturing would be dreadful. I have spoken to every large employer in my constituency and in a no deal scenario they would all shed hundreds of jobs. That is what would happen.”

Ms Goodman has been working across the chamber with Tory MP Ken Clarke on the proposal to remain in the customs union, which was defeated by MPs by three votes last week.

She said: “We would get Brexit under that option and it is not a ‘stop Brexit’ option.

“If people think I am trying to stop Brexit they have not been following the debate properly. That is not where I am. I want a compromised consensus, not a ‘winner take all’ option, which would just mean that the argument just goes on and on and on.

“This is the better compromise for our constituency because it is good for manufacturing and farming. It is not that good for banking but we do not have a lot of that in Bishop Auckland. I want to promote the interests of constituents.”

Ms Goodman is keeping an open mind on whether any deal agreed should be put back to the public as part of a people’s vote.

She said the damage on Saturday night made it harder for her and her team to help people in the constituency who need help, as there is now a need for more security measures.

She said: “We have had an open door policy, but now we are having to move to an appointment system.”

Durham Constabulary was called shortly before 10.30pm on Saturday and is treating the incident as criminal damage.

A force spokesman said: “Two windows at the office on Cockton Hill Road, Bishop Auckland were smashed after being hit by an unknown object. Officers will be back at the premises as part of ongoing investigation, including studying CCTV from the area and carrying out house-to-house enquiries. We are keeping an open mind as to the motive.”