Campaigners say they received plenty of support for a second referendum in Brexit-supporting Stoke-on-Trent – as dozens of shoppers signed a petition calling for a vote on the final deal to leave the European Union.
‘People’s Vote’ supporters set up a stall in Hanley on Saturday, and they believe public opinion is swinging towards a second referendum.
That claim comes in a city previously dubbed ‘capital of Brexit’ by former UKIP leader Paul Nuttall to a backdrop of such strong Leave support.
Nationally, the result of the EU referendum was 51.9 per cent in favour of leaving Europe, and 48.1 per cent wanting to leave. In the Potteries, however, the margin was much wider, with 69.4 per cent voting leave, and 30.6 per cent wanting to remain.
Brenda Kaloo was one of more than 17 million people in Britain who voted to leave the European Union in the referendum held two years ago.
But she was one of dozens of shoppers who signed the petition calling for a people’s vote.
Brenda, aged 41, of Stoke, said: “I feel duped.
“I voted to leave because of the promise of £350 million to the NHS which was written on the side of the bus. Then the very next day I saw Nigel Farage on Good Morning Britain say that was a ‘mistake’.
“I feel ashamed that I voted for Brexit. I realise now that it is so complex and we are still going to end up paying money to the EU. I just think, ‘let’s have another vote’.
“The biggest deception was that we didn’t get told all the facts. People are saying, ‘that’s it, you’ve had your vote’, but is it really democratic if we didn’t get all the facts?”
The overwhelming majority of shoppers who responded to a survey in Hanley said they believed the Brexit negotiations were going badly and that there should be a second referendum.
Campaigner Steve Pritchard, aged 46, of Hanley, said: “They don’t think Brexit is going well and they want a people’s vote.
“We’ve had quite a positive reception. We have had people saying, ‘you lost, get over it’, but most people are not happy with how Brexit is going. We have actually has some good conversations with Leave voters, who have been perfectly polite and reasonable.”
Helen Grogan, aged 66, of Middleport, said: “We want a vote on the final deal, with an option to remain. The reaction has been surprisingly positive. Lots of people are saying they don’t think it is going well.”
Elizabeth Baker, aged 61, of Brown Edge, said: “We think the people were misled. A lot of people think that if we leave the EU without a deal, nothing will change – but everything will change. We are fighting for the people of Stoke-on-Trent, we don’t want our friends and neighbours to suffer.
“During the referendum There was misinformation and lies from both sides. The leave campaign told lies and the remain campaign was awful.”
Tony Rogers, aged 58, of Brown Edge, added: “It is not undemocratic to ask people to vote on the final deal, on facts they didn’t have before.”
But leave voter Tom Simpson, aged 62, of Goldenhill, said: “I think the whole thing is ridiculous, you can’t have vote after vote. Everyone has to accept the decision that was made. I think it will be okay once we have left.”
Credit: StokeonTrent Live website