North Somerset joins UK in backing EU exit
PUBLISHED: 06:19 24 June 2016 | UPDATED: 06:59 24 June 2016
North Somerset – like the rest of Britain – has voted to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union.
The district’s EU referendum result was announced shortly after 5.30am today (Friday), and saw 64,976 people vote to exit the union, compared to 59,572 who voted to remain part of it.
The split of 52 per cent in favour of leaving versus 48 per cent in favour of staying mirrored the national picture almost exactly – meaning the country will now become the first nation to quit the union.
The result came as a surprise to many political experts and pollsters, as by the time voting closed at 10pm last night, there were almost unanimous predictions that the Remain lobby would prove victorious.
Experts from YouGov were forecasting 52 per cent of voters would side with Remain, while polling experts Ipsos MORI were convinced it would be more one-sided, predicted a 54 per cent tally for those wanting to stick with the union.
However, early results began to show things would not be so straightforward. The Brexit campaign quickly made key inroads in Wales, which had been expected to back the Remain cause, and also scored bigger wins than anticipated in early results which emerged in the North East of England.
As further results were revealed through the night, it became apparent by around 3am that predictions were wide of the mark, and by 4am the uncertainty had been eroded.
The result has been described as ‘seismic’ and a ‘political bombshell’ by MPs, and could also have ramifications for senior figures within the Government, with Prime Minister David Cameron already facing calls from opponents to resign.
North Somerset was among the final local authority areas to declare its result, which came from a voter turnout of 77.5 per cent – a higher tally than the area’s typical 73 per cent for a General Election.
Neither Weston MP John Penrose, who backed the Remain campaign, nor North Somerset MP Liam Fox, who championed the Brexit cause, attended the count, which was held at Weston’s Hutton Moor Leisure Centre.
However, the district’s Leave campaign agent Annabel Tall thanked Dr Fox in a short speech after the results were announced, and also thanked supporters who she said had put in ‘hours and hours and hours of work’ to help win local support.