Voters count cost of Brexit six years after Leave ballot

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Voters in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton may give Boris Johnson a bloody nose today

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Six years after the day of the historic vote that tore Britain off the gravitational pull of Brussels – and once again voters are going to the polls.

Both of today’s by-elections are in heavily holiday-voted areas, Wakefield where 66% decided to leave the EU, and Tiverton and Honiton, where 58% did.

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Yet today both are likely to give Boris Johnson a bloody nose and oust Conservative lawmakers.

Brexit is certainly not top of mind for most voters. All kinds of other factors are at play, like Partygate and the Cost of Living Crisis.

And it is still hard to separate the impact of Brexit – which really only began at the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 – from all the other economic noise generated by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

But we do know a few things. Business investment is down, the pound remains stagnant well below pre-referendum levels, growth has been weak.

London, with its world-leading finance, tech and, increasingly, life sciences sectors, appears to be recovering well from the pandemic and looks best positioned to prosper within or outside the EU. It is a city that welcomes and inspires the creators of wealth, arguably more successfully than anyone on earth.

Only now that the Covid fog begins to lift will we begin to have a clearer idea of ​​how Brexit is affecting business, the economy and consumers. As feared by many at the time, it is remaining-voting regions like London that will most easily shrug off the shock of Britain’s exit from the EU.

And it is they who voted to leave, such as Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton, who have the most to lose.


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