‘Didn’t think it would count’: Many Leave supporters regret Brexit vote

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 25, 2016 11:58 IST
British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over the age of 18 who live in Britain, as well as citizens of Gibraltar, were eligible to vote for the Brexit referendum. Following Britain’s vote to split from the EU, one of Google’s top searches was ‘move to Gibraltar’. The top searches also included ‘What is EU’ and ‘getting an Irish passport’, (AFP Photo)

Less than 24 hours after Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU) on Friday, the enormity of the situation has started to hit those who chose to part with the now 27-nation bloc that the UK joined about four decades ago.

The vote, after a bitter campaign, went down to the wire before ending in a 52-48% win for Brexit, prompting celebrations by ‘Leave’ campaigners and their supporters for a move they said would make Britain stronger.

But some have been rattled by the final outcome.

“I’m shocked and worried. I voted ‘Leave’ but didn’t think my vote would count – I never thought it would actually happen,” a man who claimed to have voted ‘Leave’, told the BBC in an interview.

Mandy Suthi, another pro-Brexit voter, told the Evening Standard that if she had the opportunity to vote again, she would make a different choice.

“I was very disappointed about the result, even though I voted to leave, this morning I woke up and the reality did actually hit me,” Suthi said.

“If I had the opportunity to vote again, it would be to stay.”

Many others who claimed to have voted for the Leave option tweeted their disappointment at the final results and the repercussions that followed.

Google reported on Friday that one of the top questions asked by users in the United Kingdom since the Brexit referendum results were released is “What is the EU?” Search interest in the British pound is at its highest level ever.

Scores of Britons also searched the terms “getting an Irish passport” and “move to Gibraltar,” the British territory on the south coast of Spain.

Too late?

The regret has started to kick in after the world bore the brunt of the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who led the ‘Remain’ campaign, announced he would step down by October so “fresh leadership” could steer the country.

It would be for the new prime minister to carry out negotiations with the EU and invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that will give the UK two years to negotiate its withdrawal, he said.

The global financial markets plunged after Britain’s shock vote, and wiped $2.1 trillion as traders panicked in the face of a new threat to the global economy.

The pound crashed 10% to a 31-year low at one point, before rebounding slightly for a 9.1% loss against the greenback in late trade. The euro slid 3%.

British travellers abroad got a rude reality check as the sharp drop in the British currency affected their finances.

“It was a good thing I paid for my hotel yesterday morning,” said Greg Rowland, whose region voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.

With London’s claim as the world’s leading finance centre on the line now, banks were heavily sold on Friday. Many global banks say they expect to relocate staff to elsewhere in the EU in anticipation of the breakup. The UK itself could now break apart.

Angry ‘Remain’ supporters lashed out at ‘Leave’ voters by saying that the excuses given were “depressing” and claimed that they have not “understood the basics of democracy”.

Who voted for Brexit?

A look at The Guardian’s data analysis of the Brexit voters reveals the following:

1. A large section of people who voted ‘Leave’ had no formal qualifications.

2. A very large section of people who voted ‘Leave’ didn’t opt for higher education. In other words, all the places where the percentage of people with higher education exceeded 35%, voted for ‘Remain’.

3. Most of the residents who voted ‘Leave’ had a median annual income of 25,000 pounds or less.

4. A large section residents who voted ‘Leave’ were aged 40 or above.

5. A large section of residents, who voted ‘Leave’, was born in the UK. In other words, most of the immigrants and second generation immigrants voted to ‘Remain’.

(With inputs from agencies)

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