OTLEY'S MP has stressed the need to offer the north of England 'a different vision' - either within the EU or post-Brexit.

Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) told the Great Northern Stop Brexit Conference that: "A Britain that chooses to remain within the European Union cannot go back to business as usual."

Addressing the conference - organised by Leeds for Europe in Leeds on Saturday, September 8, he said: "We must outline our bold vision for a prosperous, industrious, modern north that is self-confident and outward looking."

Mr Sobel has consistently warned against the dangers of a 'hard Brexit' and, as a passionate Remain campaigner in the 2016 referendum, has backed the position of his constituency in Parliament by voting to stay within the Single Market and Customs Union.

In his speech to the conference, however, he warned that a campaign that didn’t address the disparity between London and the South East and northern communities would risk alienating people further.

He said: "Brexit is a symptom of a simmering and long held discontent and anger amongst our de-industrialised, left-behind communities that are disproportionately situated in the north.

"Without addressing this and without offering a compelling alternative to these communities, we must acknowledge that we risk not only losing a second referendum but, in the process of having one, disengaging these communities altogether.

"Unless we offer a different vision and undertake a different path that rebalances our economy, how can we expect a different result to come from these communities?"

Pointing out the disparity between the amount of money spent on transport in the north and in London, he added: "We must work with our friends and neighbours in Europe to ensure not only that we are prepared for the fourth industrial revolution but that we are leaders in it.

“We must not just be satisfied with reducing rates of unemployment. We must create good jobs and good opportunities within exciting new industries in the communities where they are most needed."

Mr Sobel underlined those points in the House of Commons on Monday, September 10, during a debate on the Withdrawal Agreement.

He said: "How can we have a Brexit that would cause those left-behind communities to be even more left behind?

"Manufacturing plants would have to close, because we would have no customs arrangements to meet their requirements."