Anger over 'Bregret' as Leave voters say they thought UK would stay in EU

Some said they had not forseen the immediate economic impact, while others were angry at Nigel Farage's admission that NHS funding claim was a 'mistake'

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 25 June 2016 10:27 BST
Brexit - Some Leave voters are regretting their vote

Remain voters are voicing their outrage amid claims by some people who voted for a Brexit that they regret their decision.

Electoral services workers have reported calls from people asking if they could change their decision after Friday’s result became clear, while some publicly admitted they intended to use a “protest vote” in the belief the UK was certain to remain in the European Union.

The anxiety – dubbed “Bregret” – emerged as the value of the pound tumbled and markets crashed, while somefelt betrayed by Nigel Farage’s admission that a Vote Leave poster pledging to spend millions of pounds supposedly given to the EU on the NHS was a “mistake”.

How the UK felt about Brexit

Mandy Suthi, a student who voted to leave, told ITV News she would tick the Remain box if she had a second chance and said her parents and siblings also regretted their choice.

“I would go back to the polling station and vote to stay, simply because this morning the reality is kicking in,” she said.

“I wish we had the opportunity to vote again,” she added, saying she was “very disappointed”.

Khembe Gibbons, a lifeguard from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, also said she had regrets about her decision after Mr Farage said he could not guarantee NHS funding.

"We've left the EU, David Cameron's resigned, we're left with Boris, and Nigel has just basically given away that the NHS claim was a lie,” she wrote.

"I personally voted leave believing these lies, and I regret it more than anything, I feel genuinely robbed of my vote."

A woman calling into an LBC radio show echoed the sentiment, saying she felt “conned” by the claim and felt “a bit sick”.

A voter who gave his name as Adam told the BBC he would have changed his pro-Brexit vote if he knew the short-term consequences it would have for the UK economy.

"The David Cameron resignation has blown me away to be honest and the period of uncertainty that we’re going to be magnified now so yeah, I’m quite worried,” he said.

"I'm shocked that we voted for Leave, I didn't think that was going to happen. I didn't think my vote was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to remain."

A blogger from Sheffield shared a message from a friend working in electoral services, claiming Brexit voters and pro-Remain members of the electorate who failed to turn out because they were confident of the win had been calling in.

“We had people phone up today wanting to change their vote or ask if they could still vote as they don’t want to leave,” the message read.

Several pro-EU politicians voiced their suspicions that some Leave voters would have regrets on Friday, with Labour MP Diane Abbott and Green MP Caroline Lucas saying Euroscepticism had become a “kind of proxy” for deep-seated problems with immigration, the NHS and other key issues.

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, said the Remain campaign had failed to show people the referendum “was not a protest vote against the Government or indeed the Establishment”.

Opinion polls in the months leading up to Thursday’s historic vote had dominantly shown a lead for Remain, although surveys in recent days showed the result on a knife-edge and around 10 per cent of the electorate still undecided – generating a huge swing.

The final result was 17,410,742 votes for Leave (51.9 per cent) compared to 16,141,241 for Remain (48.1 per cent), on a turnout of 72 per cent.

The close result has generated calls for a second referendum, as well as growing fury from pro-EU voters at the U-turn from some Brexiters.

Paul, a gamer, tweeted: "So leave voters have realised what they done and regret voting leave and would vote remain given another chance? Bit late now."

“Really NOT enjoying people saying they voted Leave and now regret it, just shush please, not helping,” another added.

The result has sparked plans for a second independence referendum in Scotland, where all electoral districts voted Remain, and a petition for London to declare independence from the rest of the UK and apply to join the EU.

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