A NORTH-EAST MP has said the country should “not be forced to withstand” a no-deal Brexit as the Conservative leadership race enters its final days.

Jenny Chapman, Labour MP for Darlington and shadow minister for Exiting the EU, said a no-deal outcome was never put forward during the 2016 EU referendum, while speaking at a Pro-Remain campaign group meeting in her constituency.

At a Darlington Tees4Europe meeting, Ms Chapman said: “We are facing two Prime Ministers who are saying that leaving without a deal is an option.

“They are saying that leaving without a deal is now a preposition that we should all contemplate and we should consider.

“But that was never on the cards in the referendum, that was never put forward as being a suggestible outcome.

“Leaving without a deal is something that this country should not be forced to withstand.

“It’s probably fine if you live in the south of England and you are in finance, and are personally wealthy, but if you’re working in a processing industry, manufacturing industry and working in the North-East of England, then you sure as hell will feel it.

“If we leave without a deal, jobs are going to be on the line.”

A no-deal Brexit would mean Britain would immediately cease being part of the European Union, without special agreements on trade.

At the Darlington Tees4Europe meeting, Ms Chapman told supporters that they needed to "prepare themselves" for in case the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement goes back to the electorate.

She said: “Boris will try and leave without a deal, he may well end up saying ‘it's going back to the people’.

“Not everyone who voted leave will feel the same way. Don’t feel that people who voted leave, all feel the same way or that everybody feels the same as they did three years ago.”

She said members part of Pro-Remain campaign groups could still encourage people to change their position.

She said: “In that situation we need to know what is expected of us, you have to learn how to speak to people who are going to look at you and tell you they feel betrayed by what you are doing.”

Scott Hunter, chair of Darlington Tees4Europe, said the meeting had been held to increase participation in its campaign.

He said: "What we're hoping to get from this meeting is to get more participation from the people in Darlington.

"We recently got data on Darlington and discovered that there's more support for our cause here than anywhere else in the Tees Valley.

"Until now we have only rarely had this because our members are usually across the region."

The Conservative Leadership race is expected to end on Sunday, July 21, with either Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson being announced leader of the party and Prime Minister, the following day.