Rugby politicians react to EU referendum result

Left: Lisa Parker campaigned for a Leave Vote.  Right: Mark Pawsey with fellow Vote In supporters.
Left: Lisa Parker campaigned for a Leave Vote. Right: Mark Pawsey with fellow Vote In supporters.

In the early hours of this morning, it was revealed that Rugby had gone with the national mood and voted to leave the EU.

Ballot papers were counted overnight at the Benn Hall after polls closed at 10pm on Thursday - with the majority of Rugbeians putting a cross in the ’leave’ box.

A total of 25,350 people (43.2%) in the town voted to remain, while 33,199 (56.7%) voted to leave.

As anticipated, there was a big turnout of voters across the country - the largest since 1992 - and in Rugby turnout was 79%.

Rugby’s MP and local councillors have been keen to have their say on the outcome.

Bilton ward Cllr Lisa Parker, who played a prominent role in the town’s Leave campaign, said: “I’m obviously ecstatic and completely delighted! We had a huge turnout and it was a real decisive result in Rugby.

“We knew from our campaigning that we were hoping for a leave result and to have it confirmed was amazing.

“But it’s not my victory - this is everyone’s victory. We had an amazing team made up of people from numerous parties. We put our political differences aside because we all so passionately believe in it and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

She added: “It was honestly such an incredible turnout. As long as I’ve been a councillor, I’ve never seen a turnout like this. The ballot boxes were absolutely crammed with voting papers.

“I obviously would have respected any decision that was made because I believe in democracy. But there were a lot of very happy people in the Benn Hall last night.”

Cllr Dale Keeling, Lib Dem councillor for Eastlands ward, tweeted his congratulations to the Leave campaigners in Rugby and Rugby UKIP retweeted a short video from leader Nigel Farage, using the hashtag #independenceday.

As a strong supporter of Rugby’s Remain campaign, Rugby’s MP Mark Pawsey also voiced his thoughts on the result. He said: “Yesterday our country took a momentous decision and the result was clear. I have not hidden my belief that I wished for us to remain in a reformed European Union and throughout this debate I have always listened to, and respected, the views and arguments of those who wanted us to leave and forge a new path.”

He added: “Here in Rugby local residents turned out in significant numbers to cast their votes and it is clear that most wanted us to leave the European Union, in a result that mirrored the mood across the overwhelming majority of the country.

“I fully respect that decision and will continue to dedicate my time, as I always have since becoming Rugby’s Member of Parliament, to ensuring that the interests, and livelihoods, of local people are protected.

“We now face a period of uncertainty and it is imperative that the government does all that is within its power to restore stability and reassure financial markets.”

And Warwickshire County Councillor Yousef Damash, who represents Caldecott ward, added that whichever side of the debate you were on, the number of people who turned out to vote could only be seen as a positive.

He said: “In recent weeks I have spoken with many of my friends about the referendum, albeit quietly and away from the eyes of social media, and as yesterday drew closer I strongly felt that something remarkable was about to happen.

“So many of my friends who have traditionally showed very little interest in politics were going to vote; they were truly engaged. It was also clear that many were rejecting the position advocated by the political party they usually supported.

“Although an inevitable period of uncertainty awaits us I passionately believe that our country will rise to the challenge and continue to thrive.”