Last Thursday over 33 million people went to the polls to decide whether the UK would stay in or leave the EU, bringing to an end a debate which has engulfed our politics for many years. By the end of the night the result was clear; 17,410,742 had voted to leave the EU whereas only 16,141,241 had voted to remain in the EU. This result which defied the late polls has caused tremors likely to be felt for some time to come and has changed British and possibly European politics forever.
In order for this to become official the next stage is for the decision to be ratified in Parliament. Remain supporters heavily outnumber their Leave counterparts in the Commons and there are fears the result could be blocked. Nicola Sturgeon has even claimed that the Scottish Parliament could block Brexit, angry at Scotland being dragged out of the EU despite a large Remain vote.
This feeling has also been mirrored within some sections of the public. At time of writing a petition calling for a second referendum had reached over 4 million signatures with another petition calling for London to declare independence from the UK and apply to join the EU gaining 177,000 backers. London also witnessed large protests with thousands gathering to show their support for the EU. These reactions are understandable given the bitterness of the contest and the different vote across the country but rejecting the result or re-running the contest would not be the correct response.
The consequences of this vote are tremendous, there can be no doubt about that. The Prime Minister has resigned, the leader of the opposition could follow, a second independence referendum may be called and there is the chance of a recession. Out of all this fear and confusion though what remains clear is this: in a democratic exercise the public voted to leave the EU. This is not up for dispute and the time for debate is over. Therefore instead of the protests and petitions, all have to accept what has happened. The time has come to work together and ensure Britain gets the best possible deal. We are all on the same side now!
Article by Mike Hough
Photograph – The Independent