UK REFERENDUM ON LEAVING THE EUROPEAN UNION
2016 – 23 June
The national result saw Leave secure 51.9% of the vote compared with Remain’s 48.1%. Traditional Labour strongholds, expected to vote Remain, in fact voted for Brexit, the term used by the Leave campaign. Whilst England with 53.4% to 46.6%, and Wales 52.5% to 47.5% voted Leave, Scotland with 62% to 38% and Northern Ireland 55.8% to 44.2% voted for the Remain option. There was a 72% turnout nationally.
The First Direct Arena in Leeds was the epicentre of the Yorkshire and Humber region, responsible for counting 2.7 million overall votes. The results were then forwarded to the national control centre in Manchester. In Yorkshire, Leeds, along with York and the Harrogate, the ‘golden triangle’, voted Remain albeit with slender majorities whereas the other eighteen of the regional councils emphatically chose Leave. By the time the Leeds declaration was made, at 6am on Friday 24 June, the outcome of the national result already appeared clear.
A sign of the times saw the Yorkshire Evening Post reporting that ‘social media in Leeds was abuzz with Leeds campaigners and commentators having their say’ and concerns were raised about how the UK vote would affect the city’s bid to host the European Capital of Culture in 2023. At 12.30am counting ceased for a minute’s silence to honour the memory of Jo Cox, the Birtsall MP, who had been murdered earlier in the month.