What does Brexit mean to Brid?

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As dust settles from what was the most significant political development in recent UK history, one thing remains certain – the East Riding wanted out of Europe.

The county saw a huge turnout of 74.8 per cent for last week’s referendum, and significantly more than half of the 199,039 voters made it clear that they wanted to leave the European Union.

Busy Bank Holiday in Bridlington NBFP PA1515-3a

Busy Bank Holiday in Bridlington NBFP PA1515-3a

Officials predicted an easy win for the Leave Campaign early into the count, and Brexiters enjoyed a more-than-comfortable 60.4 per cent of the vote.

But a disastrous night ensued for the Remain Campaign, as voters in East Yorkshire made clear they wanted a Brexit.

George McManus, of the Labour Party, said “shameless” politicians had preyed on voters’ fears and focused on “soft targets”.

He said: “70 per cent of Labour members in the East Riding voted to remain, whereas 70 per cent of Conservatives voted to leave.

MONDAY JANUARY 24 2011 FIRE BRIGADE CUTS
George McManus, chairman of Beverley Labour Party, outside Humberside Fire and Rescue Service headquarters at Hessle, near Hull before yesterday's crucial meeting. Picture: Terry Carrott

MONDAY JANUARY 24 2011 FIRE BRIGADE CUTS George McManus, chairman of Beverley Labour Party, outside Humberside Fire and Rescue Service headquarters at Hessle, near Hull before yesterday's crucial meeting. Picture: Terry Carrott

“I was quite pleased that we got 40 per cent of the vote in East Yorkshire because I think it could have been worse.

“I also think Project Fear struck a chord with a lot of people. It’s all unravelling now of course, the £350 million for the NHS was never on the table, and the number of immigrants is not expected to fall.

“Shameless politicians are happy to blame everything on immigrants.”

Mr McManus said a Brexit spells years of uncertainty for Britain, but it is too early to predict its impact on Bridlington and the East Riding specifically.

Bob Hillery

Bob Hillery

He does not, however, expect to see a renaissance for the town’s footing in the fishing industry.

“I don’t think we will see a return to the glory days”, he added.

East Riding Councillor David Robson, for Bridlington South ward, who was UKIP’s main agent for the county, said Remain backers have “only themselves to blame”, for a campaign that relied on “outrageous statements”.

“Cameron’s message had fallen on deaf ears,” he said.

“Throughout the hundred days of the campaign, there was no change in people’s opinion of how they intended to vote.

“We saw no posters or campaigning on the streets by the Remain parties, they took the electorate for granted and completely misjudged the mood and therefore, they have only themselves to blame as the results gone against their expectations.

“They relied totally on Vote Fear and made outrageous statements, including the prospect of a third World War; at that point, people started to switch off including me.”

And while a Brexit spelt doom and gloom for the Remain campaigners, business figures in Bridlington are confident the town will survive outside of Europe.

Bob Hillery, chairman of Bridlington Tourism Association and proprietor of the Spinnaker House Hotel, said leaving Europe will not deter tourists and visitors.

“I don’t think the result of the referendum will make a lot of difference to tourism in Bridlington. People know how much they have to spend and if they can afford to come to the town and I believe people will still want to visit Bridlington.

“We have a lot of development in the town which is only going to encourage more tourism in the town. There may be an initial kickback at first, but I believe that Bridlington will be relatively safe following on from the referendum.”

And residents remain confident that a bright future lies ahead for Bridlington – without the long reach of Brussels.

John Cross commented: “It was supposed to be about free trade and movement of goods, not about closer political union. Independence Day for the brave and forward thinking, the ‘ditherers’ can do as they always do.”

Ian Firth added: “In answer to your question, ‘is this good for Bridlington? - I would say yes.

“Free trade and movement of goods doesn’t really apply to a holiday town as we don’t produce anything. But if holidays abroad go up a lot in price - as the scaremongerers say - great, more people will stay in the UK and come to Brid.”

And echoing a message from both sides, Bridlington South Ward councillor Shelagh Finlay said it is time people came together and did what is best for Bridlington.

The former mayor said: “I am disappointed that we, as a country, have voted to leave the European Union.

“We now need to put this behind us and move on together for what’s right for this country.

“I just hope the good things promised to us from Brexit come to fruition.”