Tory candidate claims northern voters to blame for Brexit failure

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Lia Nici made her comments to local BBC radio. (North East Lincolnshire Council)

Northerners living in towns like Grimsby who vote for Labour are to blame for Brexit not happening, a Tory election candidate has said.

Lia Nici, who is standing in Leave-voting Great Grimsby, said the failure to leave the EU was down to people like her target seat’s residents voting for Labour MPs who consistently vote against Brexit.

Labour’s Melanie Onn, who has held the seat since 2015, did vote for Boris Johnson’s deal to progress through Parliament but previously voted against Theresa May’s deal. She accused Ms Nici of treating voters “with contempt”.

Asked if the government is to blame for Brexit not happening, Ms Nici said on BBC Radio Humberside: “No, that's a failure of people who live in northern towns like Grimsby who have Labour MPs who have consistently voted against the democratic vote in their constituencies.”

Melanie Onn was first elected for Great Grimsby in 2015. (PA Images)

Recent polls show Ms Nici could win the seat from Ms Onn but it remains to be seen how Grimbarians react to her comments, made to BBC Radio Humberside’s broadcast featuring the seat’s candidates on Tuesday.

Ms Onn told the Grimsby Telegraph that Ms Nici’s words were an “unfortunate turn of phrase” that treated people “with contempt for their choices”.

Ms Nici has been contacted for a responce to that.

The Labour candidate also said she had voted for Brexit “whenever I thought there was a chance of it succeeding”.

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Great Grimsby was one of the biggest Brexit-backing constituencies in the country during the 2016 EU referendum, voting 71% to Leave.

Ms Onn had supported Remain during the campaign, but since then has resigned from the Labour front bench in opposition to holding a second referendum on Brexit.

It also emerged during the Radio Humberside broadcast that Ms Nici, a Tory councillor on North East Lincolnshire Council, voted to remain in the EU during the referendum.

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