‘Brexit ripped my heart out.’ How the UK Irish are voting

‘You either vote to improve your personal circumstances or to improve society’

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and British prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Andy Buchanan/Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and British prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Andy Buchanan/Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images

 

As Britain prepares to go to the polls next week, Irish Times Abroad asks readers there who they intend to vote for, and why.

Denise Power, living in Oxford, voting Labour

“I will be voting for Labour even though my heart is Green. This will be the first time in any general election that I haven’t voted for the Green Party. Oxford will be a Tory stronghold, so even though I don’t want to vote strategically, there is a good reason to do so in this election.

“Brexit ripped my heart out and made me feel unwelcome here. Only the fact that Oxford voted Remain has helped me recover from that.

“With all elections or referendums you either vote to improve your personal circumstances or you vote to improve society. In this one, my vote will be used to improve society.”

Brian Byrne, living in London, voting Conservative

“In this election I’m faced with a dilemma of heart and head; my heart says for a better UK and a more collaborative society where people’s standard of living and potential in life is more equal, I would vote Labour with ease. But the reality of my situation is that I want my income to be protected, and being a high earner I would be in Labour’s sights from a taxation standpoint, which will lead my head to vote Conservative.”

Joseph Heskin, living in Leamington Spa, voting Labour

“Since I have been living in the UK, I have always voted Conservative. However, as a doctor, I have seen them wipe out the world’s greatest healthcare system without an ounce of regret.

“Unfortunately the Lib Dems are currently as effective as a chocolate teapot, so for the first time in my life, and against every political fibre in my body, I am voting Labour, in the hope that it brings the UK a better future.”

George Dundon, living in Devon, voting Liberal Democrat

“I am an Irish national living in the UK since 2002, married to a German, with three children born here. Our one vote in our household is as precious to us as our EU citizenship.

“Disgusted by the scapegoating of the Liberal Democrats in 2015 by the Tories, I joined the party soon after. The Brexit result and the Lib Dem offer of a referendum on the terms of the deal has vindicated my choice.

“I have seen an open and tolerant nation have its soul gnawed from the inside out by fear, divisiveness and shameless political opportunism. I have been here for three national elections now, but this one is likely to be the most important in my lifetime.”

Eoin Lyons, living in London, voting Labour

Eoin Lyons, originally from Dublin, is living in Clapham and will be voting Labour.
Eoin Lyons, originally from Dublin, is living in Clapham and will be voting Labour.

“I live in the Vauxhall constituency of Kate Hoey, who has been a Labour MP since 1989. Despite my concern about her support for Brexit and occasional association with Nigel Farage, I will support Labour as I have done in the two other elections I have been here for.

“I was tempted to vote tactically Liberal Democrat, but it could hand the seat to the Conservatives, which would be a disaster. If the Conservatives lose their majority things could get interesting.”

Clyde McCrabbe, living in Berkshire, voting Conservative

“I have seen first-hand how good an MP Theresa May – my local MP and now prime minister – is. Whether working tirelessly on local Maidenhead issues such as liaising with Great Western Railways to get us faster trains into and out of London, or on national issues such as Brexit, the prime minister is trustworthy, reliable and dependable.”

John O’Brien, living in Glasgow, voting SNP

“Ideally, I’d like to see Corbyn win. I know the Labour party is unlikely to win, but they have to be better than the Tories. The austerity cuts over here are brutal, and Theresa May looks out of her depth at every turn.

“The problem we face is that as chaotic as the national Labour Party seem, Scottish Labour is in even worse shape. So in order to keep the Tories out, I’m voting for the best-placed party in my constituency to stop them: the SNP.”

Alicia Mac Mahon, living in Edinburgh, voting Labour

“I’m concerned about the direction the Conservatives are trying to take the UK. However, living in Scotland also adds an extra level of concern. I believe the SNP will do very well locally, but they can have little influence in Westminster, which is critical during Brexit negotiations. Also, the SNP appear to not want to work with Labour. It’s very much a waiting game albeit a frustrating one.”

Richard Tynan, living in Cambridge, voting Labour

“I’m a final-year student of computer science at Cambridge. I grew up in Laois and emigrated three years ago to study. I’ll be voting for Labour. Although my beliefs align mostly with the Liberal Democrats, I’ve been disappointed with their campaign this election.

“Between the political climate and Brexit, I can’t help but feel a little hopeless when it comes to politics here.”

Stephen Stokes, living in North Manchester, voting Lib Dem

“As a former mayor of Greystones (2013-2014) and president of Bury Liberal Democrats (2016-present), I am proud to be supporting the Liberal Democrats.

“Some of the highest-profile issues the Liberal Democrats have solutions for are Brexit, NHS and the economy.

“Consistently the Liberal Democrats have put forward a positive vision for European unity. A bedrock value of liberalism is to secure open trade. Therefore the Liberal Democrats are calling for a referendum on any Brexit deal to ensure that a bad deal will not be railroaded through.”

Heather Burke, living in Oxford, voting Labour

Heather Burke, originally from Clonakilty, is studying law at Oxford and will be voting Labour.
Heather Burke, originally from Clonakilty, is studying law at Oxford and will be voting Labour.

I am studying law as an undergraduate at the University of Oxford. A lot of my friends have changed their votes from Labour to Lib Dem, as they see Jeremy Corbyn as a sinking ship, but I am determined to stick with him. Labour is tolerant and fair-minded and they have students and young people as a top priority; that’s why I’m voting for them.”

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