The Current

Brexit aftermath: U.K. voters reflect on how 'Leave' vote prevailed

The initial shock of the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union has given way to soul-searching of how it came about. Voters from both sides are now coming to terms with what they have done. And what to expect moving forward.
A new poll in Britain suggests seven per cent of "Leave" voters — more than a million people — feel regret as the Brexit vote sinks in. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)
Listen19:41

Read story transcript

The reality is sinking in for Britain as 52 per cent of voters have chosen to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum. While predictions were leaning towards a "Stay" vote, many are wondering how the "Leave" vote prevailed.

Maryam "Maz" Khan, a 26-year-old media researcher, voted for the U.K to remain in the EU. She explains to summer host Mike Finnerty how the she felt the campaign to support a 'Leave' vote misled voters to believe it would solve the immigration crisis.

Khan says she feels like the media has pitted working-class people of different minority groups against each other.

"They've been led to believe that the main problem is immigration and they have also been led to believe that the main way to solve the immigration is to vote 'out'."

The generational fault lines in this referendum had older English and Welsh voters backing the "Leave" side in great numbers and young people, particularly Londoners and non-white voters, supporting "Stay."

Others who voted "Leave" are confident in their decision to support leaving the EU. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Khan feels that the divide between voters reflects what is important to the younger generation.

"We are used to a multicultural society ... I think we find freedom of movement really important, you know, the right to study abroad, the right to work abroad," Khan says.

The future looks dim for young people with so much uncertainty ahead.

"We watched the pound go down also and we don't know what that means for us when it comes to buying a home, or even a car even or even finding a permanent job when leaving university. It just feels very restrictive," Khan says.

A new poll in Britain today suggests a full seven per cent of "Leave" voters — that's more than a million people — feel a sense of regret. Four per cent of "Stay" voters wished they'd voted to "Leave."

But not Daniel Riley, a 59-year-old accountant. He feels very confident in his decision to support leaving the EU and has always felt this way. Riley tells Finnerty he never thought "it would ever come to fruition."

He says voters who supported to leave the EU didn't think this would cause this much consternation and all the markets collapsing.

"But in reality I think we did the right thing, we made the call and we should stick to our guns."

When asked about what change he expects to see in the U.K, Riley says, "I am hoping the change is going to be insignificant ... I can't see it being a particularly major change."

A new poll in Britain today suggests a full seven per cent of “Leave” voters — that's more than a million people — feel a sense of regret. Four per cent of “Stay” voters wished they'd voted to "Leave." (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

Riley says "money could be better spent." He says to him, what is significant is that money can now go towards the nurses, farmers and schools rather than the EU.

Khan says the "Leave" vote proves to her that "Britain has moved to the right."

She adds, "It seems to have made racist abuse more acceptable or more common at the very least so I don't know what it will mean to society."

Khan tells Finnerty she does believe the Brexit vote will lead to more racism. As a young Muslim woman, she has experienced racially-motivated attacks.

"I had eggs thrown at me … in the lead up to the campaign," says Khan.

Looking forward, Khan is not hopeful for the future.

"I feel like this vote [is] a downward spiral and we will just have to see where it takes us, but we are going to go further down before we come back."

Listen to our full conversation that includes Erin Kelly, CEO of data science firm Advanced Symbolics, who says the Brexit vote was about class warfare, not xenophobia.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry, Sarah Grant, Julian Uzielli and Howard Goldenthal.