The city of Wolverhampton is a Brexit stronghold. An overwhelming 62% of its residents voted to leave the EU, and as the political saga in Westminster continues to rumble on, some locals are increasingly ardent in their support for a no-deal.
A day after Theresa May finally managed to secure a majority for her new Brexit negotiating position, and after MPs out-right rejected a no-deal Brexit, Wulfrunians spoke of an increasing frustration – urging politicians to get on, and let us crash out.
Out in the city centre, people spoke of ongoing concerns about immigration, of being “dictated to” by the EU, of doing things “on our own terms”. Seemingly unworried by fears of stockpiling and general catastrophe if the prime minister fails to secure an exit agreement, locals seemed united in their impatience.
‘Deal or no deal makes no difference to me’
Mick Law, 71, is disabled and said Britain needs to leave the EU immediately, with or without a deal.
“I have a degenerative condition but I struggle to get proper benefits while the government bends over backwards to house and pay immigrants from all across Europe.
“We have made the decision to leave the EU so I don’t understand why we don’t just break off with it immediately. Deal or no deal makes no difference to me, we need to leave now in any circumstance.”
‘The EU was built on our money’
Sachin Singh, 46, runs a food stand in the city centre. He voted to leave, and said he would be happy to leave with no deal. “I’m a second generation immigrant so i’m not being racist, but I voted to leave because of the wave of immigrants. This city is unrecognisable from even five or 10 years ago with foreign communities living in their own little areas.
“The EU needs us more than we need the EU. The EU was built on our money and now they’re quibbling over a deal and tying to hold us to ransom.
“I think other countries will soon want to leave EU when they see how well Britain is doing by itself.”
‘We should just leave and then see what the EU does about it’
Careworker June Williams, 48, and her mother Elizabeth Hughes, 88, said they were prepared for Britain to exit without a deal.
June said: “I think it’s the beginning of the death of Europe and we shouldn’t be held over a barrel because we want to leave. The EU has been telling us what to do for long enough and it’s time we made our own decisions as a country.”
Her mother Elizabeth agreed. adding: “The country spoke very clearly that we wanted out and so we shouldn’t be concerned over making deals that are favourable to the Europeans. We should just leave and then see what the EU does about it.”
‘I want us to hurry up’
Barman Dan Hayward said he had originally voted to remain in the EU but had changed his mind.
“The more I’ve read and seen the attitude of the EU the more I think we should just leave Europe now, and on our own terms, and then deal with any consequences. We are a rich country and we can maintain and defend ourselves.
“I voted remain because I didn’t give it much thought at the time but I don’t like the way Europe is making Britain out to be a bad place. If we are leaving then I want us to hurry up and leave and not concede too much to the EU.”
‘Why should we bow to them’
Jimmy Slater, 31, said Britain should “just turn her back” on the EU. “Why should we care about what the EU wants from us before leaving? We have decided to go and shouldn’t still have to answer to the EU.
“The EU still wants a say in our affairs despite us leaving. Britain needs to build again from scratch without any interference from the EU or anyone else. If they won’t be flexible about a deal then why should we bow to them?”
‘We will cope’
Pensioner Thomas Bullard, 82, said Britain needed to adopt a “war time” mentality and not be too concerned about the consequences of a hard Brexit.
“All the doom-mongers say there will be chaos, but I was around in the second world war when we stood firm and we need to take up that mentality now against bullies in the EU. We will cope.
“I don’t want Britain to make any deals to leave because we are a sovereign country and we shouldn’t have to answer to anyone. Those days are over and I think leaving the EU will make Britain great again.”