Brexit: English midlands town of Wellington sticks the boot in

‘Europe will never unite again. God has said so,’ is the verdict of one welder and evangelist

An eastern European food shop in England. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images

An eastern European food shop in England. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images

 

“I think they should just get on with it,” said Jo McAllister as she served customers at JP Fruits in the Shropshire market town of Wellington in the west midlands. “I voted out in 2016 and I’d vote out again if it came to it. I don’t know many people who would change their vote. We pay out too much money to the EU. We should be running our country ourselves.”

The Wrekin constituency, of which Wellington is part, voted strongly to leave the EU two years ago with 63 per cent backing Brexit. The constituency, named after the hill that looms above Wellington and nearby Telford, has swung between Labour and the Conservatives since the 1920s but has been held by the Tory MP Mark Pritchard since 2005.

On Thursday most Leavers there said they would not change their minds. “We’re better off leaving,” said McAllister’s colleague Julie Slynn. She pointed out a Polish shop opposite and another one a couple of doors up. “There are too many foreigners around here. I reckon you hear four Polish to every two English when you walk around. They are taking our jobs, getting the houses. That’s one of the main reasons I voted for Brexit.”

Customer David Miller, who described himself as a welder and an evangelist, said he felt a little sorry for Theresa May. “She had this dumped on her and I think she’s handling it as best she can. She’s under immense pressure.”

The will of God

Miller said he voted to leave because he thought Brussels imposed some “silly” laws on the UK. “Why should we be dominated by them?” But he also had an unusual main reason for supporting leave. “I follow the prophesies in the Bible and a split in Europe was prophesied. Europe will never unite again. God has said so.”

Kevin Houston, a former soldier, was stationed behind a row of union flags on a stall in the indoor market selling pipes and other smoking paraphernalia. He had been following developments from Westminster all day and was not impressed by the agreement the prime minister was trying to sell.

“If Theresa May worked for a private company and was sent away for two years to carry out negotiations and came back with that, she’d be sacked straight away.

“It’s a fudge. It’s not what we voted for. We’ve lost everything and are giving them £39 billion. I think she ought to stand down. Jacob Rees-Mogg should replace her. He talks sense. I reckon he’d deliver Brexit.

“We’re supposed to be a democracy. We shouldn’t be ruled by Brussels. We should take back control.”

Flea treatment

Sean Williams, who owns three pet shops in and around the town, said he voted out partly because EU rules forced him to take dozens of products – including ear, eye and flea treatments – off his shelves. “That was frustrating.”

But he has sympathy for May. “I think she’s doing a good job. I don’t think David Cameron should have been allowed to walk away when he did. It’s impossible to satisfy everybody, which is what some people seem to expect her to do.”

There were a few who said they would relish the chance to vote in a new referendum. Sam Jones (19), who is a student, was too young to vote in 2016. “I’d vote remain if I got the chance. I think the decision ought to be put back to the people,” he said.

Jay Mailer, who was walking through the town centre with two of her children as the town’s Christmas lights were being hung up, agreed. “I must admit I voted out but I regret it now. I’ve learned more about it. I’d like my kids to get a chance to work abroad and I think Europe is a bit of a safety net. I’ll vote remain if I get the chance again.” – Guardian

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