A review of the EU Referendum results by Sam Beesley

In this I'm looking at some results from various local authorities in the EU Referendum. We all know the gist of it - London and Scotland voted remain, whilst most Englanders and Wales generally backed Leave. But individual results can tell us far more about the country than you might expect. I will go through each region and pick out the results that interest me most.
South East - Slough, Tandridge and Hart
I was one of the many people in my own area supporting​ Leave, although it voted Leave, out of regions voting Leave it did so by the smallest percentage. The first interesting result is Slough. Slough did back leave, but somewhat unexpectedly. Slough is an area that is one of Labour's few southern strongholds outside of London. It is a largely working class area, and has a large industrial estate but also is home to lots of migration from all countries. Now I expected Slough to back remain, but it voted leave by the largest margin in Berkshire. It looks as if immigration has had a real effect on the town, but Slough is very different to the area within it, feeling isolated and looked down upon, and so it won't surprise you that the people who live there are more disaffected and needy than the sort of political class style area round it, and I think that is why it felt Leave was better for it.

I also thought ultra-middle class Tandridge would back remain, due to its proximity to London and its large commuter, educated population. It was largely surrounded by remain areas - Mid Sussex, Croydon, Bromley and Tunbridge Wells, but it backed leave. Why? Well, it turns out that this sort of area is one that won the referendum for Leave. Perhaps small businesses in Oxted or Lingfield were tired of EU regulation. It probably wasn't immigration, since this area would probably not notice the effects. Tandridge is the outlier in the affluent commuter belt of Surrey.

Hart, an apparent bellwether, went to Remain, so it wasn't a true bellwether after all. The local MP is Ranil Jayawardena, and he has the safest Tory seat in the country. It looks here people are content with what they've got, it is hardly deprived and very middle class, with few council estates. It has opted for the status quo again, backing Remain convincingly. It is interesting to note that at the last election, UKIP and Labour did poorly here both behind the Lib Dems, perhaps in UKIP's case the fact that the local candidate gave Jayawardena an effective 
death threat, but it still suggests that there is no want for change here, and where there was no desire for change, just like in Windsor and Maidenhead, Whitehorse, Elmbridge and Chiltern nearby, it looks​ 
like Remain did better, just by being the status quo.

North West - Stockport, Eden and Blackpool

​The North West, again voted leave. Stockport however voted Remain. Now Stockport is expected to be a bastion of Labour, but only two of its four​ constituencies (Stockport and Denton) backed Labour last time round, the other two being Tory gains from the Lib Dems, (Cheadle and Hazel Grove).​ These two Tory seats are largely middle class, they have sky-high owner occupation rates, a large green belt and good transport, whilst the other end, Denton has the UK's most infrequent railway service and far more social housing. This suggests that Stockport was won by Remain not for demographic reasons. Turnout was high, but that still tells us nothing. Perhaps it's the metropolitan status, or just maybe more Remain voters voted. Who knows?

Eden is situated in and around Penrith in Cumbria, voting leave narrowly. It is more middle class, rural and inland, but I expected Cumbria as a whole to leave and Eden did. Why? It's in the North, largely forgotten by Westminster but also largely elderly. It's hard to say why Eden in particular voted Leave, but it is largely disconnected from everywhere else, the nearest large towns being Carlisle (leave) and Kendal (remain) ​It isn't deprived and has little immigration. It was probably just the large numbers of elderly people and a higher turnout amongst them. But at the end of the day it swam with the tide.

Blackpool i​sn't like Stockport and certainly nothing like Eden. Its tourist appeal is down in recent years and there has been a lack of investment in the area. It's also a swing seat area. This deprivation caused Blackpool to fight against the status quo, it's easy to see why. Blackpool is not metropolitan, not a university town, coastal, has declining wages, has high immigration and fewer tourists than before, and it unsurprisingly backed Leave, because it has fought back against the political status quo which is so different to that. The EU definitely isn't working for them.

Scotland - Comhairle nan Eilean Sar and Moray

There is little to say with Scotland, except for a general picture. We all know​ it voted Remain in every district.

Comhairle nan Eilean Sar (Western Isles) however is interesting because 41 years ago, it voted overwhelmingly to leave the Common Market. Now however it voted Remain. Is Scotland becoming more distant to the rest of the UK, that even the most detached of areas now goes with the majority in Scotland. It's also been an SNP bastion for a while. Perhaps it feels content with its situation and opted for the status quo, you'd have to be pretty satisfied to live so far away from everywhere else.

Moray was only a few hundred votes away from being Leave's lone district in Scotland. What's special about Moray? Well many voters are older and work in fishing, an industry that generally backed a Brexit. Also it's far smaller, only Clackmannanshire, Inverclyde and some of the Island ones are smaller, and more localised, based around Elgin as the main town for pretty much all of its residents. Perhaps it's one area where geography played a key role.


Sam Beesley