'Are We Doing The Right Thing?' - Not All Hull And East Yorkshire Voters Are Sure About Brexit

HuffPost UK hears from Leavers, Remainers, EU nationals and international students.
Graffiti in Goole, East Yorkshire
Graffiti in Goole, East Yorkshire
HuffPost UK

The East Riding of Yorkshire is undoubtedly a Brexit heartland, with a decisive vote to Leave of more than 60% in the 2016 referendum.

And in Labour-dominated Hull and Tory-held Goole, plenty of voters just want to get on with it and get out of the EU, deal or no deal.

But it is not quite as ‘Brexity’ as many would think - with EU nationals, international students and born and bred locals wanting a second referendum, expressing regrets about their vote to leave and calling for a maximum voting age.

Here’s what HuffPost Listens found on the last leg of its tour across the North:

‘We’ve got doubts in our own minds now, where do we go from here?’

Ray Kinder in Goole voted Leave but is now questioning his decision.

“It’s just absolutely ridiculous, it’s just crazy, it’s been going on too long now and nobody seems to know what they’re doing basically.

it’s gone on that long and you’ve heard that many stories and you’re thinking are we doing the right thing now?

“We’ve got doubts in our own minds now.”

The former scaffolding company worker said he backed Brexit mainly to control immigration because he felt Britain had “anybody coming in, no check on them”.

“It’s ridiculous. I just thought that’s enough, enough’s enough, we need to be out of here.

“But (now) I don’t know really. Where do we go from here?”

‘The voting age should be brought down for the older generation’

Joe Harwood, a 19 year-old drama student in Hull, describes Brexit as “irritating” and a “pain in the arse” and wants a second referendum, as he was too young to vote in 2016.

He believes 16 and 17 year-olds should be given the vote but also that there should be a maximum voting age of 80 “because the fact is they might not be alive for when it actually affects them”.

“By that time they are from a generation where they are not really incorporated as much with it any more and it won’t necessarily affect them whereas everybody from my generation and younger still have more of a political understanding than what they did so many years ago.

“So I think that’d be the best thing to do.”

‘We set a date, we go on that date, otherwise we’re a laughing stock’

Leave-voting Judy Warner in Hull is angry and feels “let down by politicians”, describing the idea of a second referendum as making “a farce of democracy”.

She is adamant Brexit should not be delayed beyond March 29 and says we should leave on the appointed date “deal or no deal”.

“The thing is we set a date, we go on that date, otherwise we’re a laughing stock.

“Europe’s laughing at us already because of the farce it’s become.

“I’ve heard people say we’re going to hell in a handcart if there’s no deal.

“We’re not, because I’m old enough and ugly enough to remember life before the EU and we had trade agreements with the world, we didn’t depend on Europe, and they want our money so nothing’s going to change.”

‘Some of my friends went back to their own country’

Hang Vo is working in Hull as a research assistant at the university, having immigrated from Vietnam in 2011.

Now working towards a PhD, she said she “never expected Brexit to happen because I always thought England is such a friendly country and living peacefully with European countries”.

She also calls for a second referendum because the Brexit vote was too narrow: “It’s ridiculous, it’s just 52% and they make the biggest decision ever.”

And she reveals that friends of hers and her Italian husband have left Britain due to the uncertainty and anti-immigrant feeling since the Brexit vote.

“I did feel it a bit but I got used to that but it’s not really a problem to me.

“But for some of my friends it’s a big issue and some of them went back to their country rather than stay here.

“They felt that they would be more welcome in other countries and also there was a lot of uncertainty so they moved for a more stable future.”

‘There are some that are more dedicated to leaving and that’s Ukip’

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Steve Temple, in Goole, said he voted Leave because he was “fed up” of mass immigration.

He now believes MPs are attempting to reverse the decision of the British people and appears to miss the old Ukip, with Nigel Farage and a clear stance for a “clean”, or no-deal, Brexit.

“I think we should just leave because they’re just scheming and delaying, certain parties, just to stay in.

“I believe on the voting paper in the referendum there was nothing mentioned about deals, no deals, MPs having a vote - they’ve already had one, why should they have two - there was nothing about that, it was either Remain or Leave.

“The majority voted to leave but they’re stalling to try and stop it.

“I believe there are some that are more dedicated to leaving and that’s Ukip.

“They’re the ones that wanted to leave.”

‘Just make proper decisions and on time’

Jolanta Urza, in Goole, is originally from Latvia but says she did not suffer from the anti-immigration rhetoric of the Brexit campaign because “I’ve been working here for ten years and paying tax”.

But she thinks Leave voters got it wrong: “I think it’s just more people coming here for work, and if people are voting against (the EU) if there are so many people coming over here and working, well why don’t they go to work?”

She is concerned about how no deal could impact movement of people to Europe and the currency but ultimately just wants the matter resolved.

“I just want a proper decision to be made, we go out, we stay in, do we have to delay? Really? Why? Just make proper decisions and on time, that’s all everybody wants in this moment in time.”

‘I think May’s deal is dead in the water’

Sam Harah, a customer trading manager for Sainsbury’s in Hull, says Brexit is a “dog’s dinner” and calls for a second referendum because voters were “sold a lie”.

But he does not agree with one idea being put forward, for a confirmatory referendum on Theresa May’s deal.

“I think May’s deal is dead in the water itself, obviously it’s united Leave and Remain voters against, so I think it would be some form of package between staying in.

“Obviously you get your ardent Brexiteers saying there should be a clean Brexit, let’s just drop out, I think that would be totally wrong and I don’t think that can be put to the people.”


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