‘I don’t want this chaos that I helped us into. I would never have voted to put my hard-won rights at risk, damage the economy, or jeopardise the future of young people, who will bear the brunt of this botched Brexit deal.’
Back in 2016, on a rainy day, I finished a work day like any other and travelled home.
But it wasn’t just any day. It was June 23rd, the day of the UK’s European Union membership referendum.
I was excited, knowing full well that my vote, along with millions of others, would determine the course of British history. I knew that this vote really, truly mattered.
When I arrived at the polling station I still couldn’t decide what was best for the country.
Which side of history was I going to be on? I wanted to make sure it was the right one.
I thought about the money we were supposedly going to save for the NHS, the control we were going to take back, and the bright future that we were going to build for Britain outside the EU.
Like 52 per cent of people that day, I looked down at those words before me ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’, and chose the latter.
But two and a half years later, with everything I’ve learned since the vote, I’ve changed my mind.
The botched Brexit deal now faces almost certain defeat in the House of Commons this week. And rightly so.
Many Brexiteers will tell you: ‘We knew what we were voting for’ but in reality, there wasn’t a clear idea of what leaving the European Union meant.
Lots of different versions of the post-Brexit utopia were offered up. Looking back on it, I’m ashamed to say I didn’t really know what leaving meant.
Now, I look back and think of that ballot paper, I’m angry that I wasn’t told about the consequences of voting Leave.
I was led by false promises, such as a money tree that never grew from its imaginary seed, and a big red bus that’s never going to arrive.
The promises were fantasies that – no matter who had negotiated the deal – could never become reality.
I’ve since learned that leaving the EU (either with or without the government’s deal) means we won’t be protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
As a gay man, I began to question what could happen to my rights.
Could a homophobic or simply indifferent government neglect me – or worse, reverse my rights? Without the EU’s double lock, these things could well become a reality.
I want to be securely protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, rather than by a bunch of politicians who simply promise that they won’t weaken or revoke my rights.
For those Brexiteers that say ‘I’ve not met a single person who’s changed their mind’, I’m here.
For those who are asking ‘why?’ Simple, because I can and I did, based on the clear facts in front of me. As hard as it is, I’m not too proud to say that I regret voting Leave.
Credit: The Metro website