THE European elections on Thursday will be the most divisive in many years.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party wants the UK to leave the European Union with ‘no deal’.

This, in my view, would be a bitter blow for the UK economy, leading to reduced revenues for our public services. The North-East would be the worst hit – more than 60 per cent of our trade is with the EU so it would be catastrophic to slam the door on the European market.

Although Mr Farage is now calling for no-deal Brexit, three years ago he said it would be easy for us to get a deal, like Norway or Switzerland, to keep us in the EU single market.

Well, I don’t want to be like Norway or Switzerland. I want to be like the UK and the UK doesn’t accept second best or withdraw from the rest of the world, and that’s what no-deal means.

I understand people are frustrated by the Brexit impasse. I know I am. I want to stand up in Parliament and talk about education, jobs and public services. I also know the decisions on future NHS funding are made in Downing Street, not Brussels. So Brexit, ultimately isn’t the answer.

Brexit Party candidates say they are standing up for democracy, and while there was a vote in favour of leave, it was only by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

I accept the country voted narrowly to leave, but they didn’t vote on how to leave. The Prime Minister has negotiated a deal, which may yet change, and that deal will define Brexit. It should not be implemented unless the British people give their validation in a confirmatory public vote, with remain as an option on the ballot paper.

That is democracy. What started with the people should end with the people. The people deserve a final say on our country’s future and that of our children and grandchildren.

Phil Wilson, Sedgefield MP