Reaction: People in Leeds speak of shock in wake of Brexit result

Prime Minister David Cameron speaking outside 10 Downing Street. Pic: PA.
Prime Minister David Cameron speaking outside 10 Downing Street. Pic: PA.
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PEOPLE in Leeds have voiced their shock and surprise in the wake of the Brexit result.

It comes as Prime Minister David Cameron announced he will be out of Downing Street within months.

Leeds voted to remain in the European Union by just 2,389 votes, while Wakefield opted out by a huge margin of 57,288 and the Yorkshire and Humber region voted out as a whole.

Commuters spoke yesterday of their shock as the result and its impact began to sink in.

Rachel Egan, 44, of Leeds, said: “I was very surprised – firstly at how close it was and secondly the result.

“It means a lot of uncertainty in the short term but hopefully in the long term we will find our feet. We will have to.”

Kiran Aulakh, 22, of Beeston told the YEP she believed the result was due to voters not knowing the true facts.

She added: “I voted in so obviously it is disappointing to know we are leaving.

“It wasn’t even by a huge margin either.”

Daniel Scott, 33, of Harrogate, said: “The result is not what I expected.

“I think Leeds will feel the financial impact. There are lots of banks here and they might not want to stay.”

Laura Wheeldon, 21, said: “I voted for remain and I thought we would.

“I was quite shocked at the result. I wasn’t expecting it.

“A lot of young people voted to stay in and my Facebook feed was full of people saying they wanted to remain, so I thought that’s the way it was going to go.”

Courtney Smith, 35, is from Michigan, Detroit and went to university in Leeds.

During a return trip to Leeds to see friends, she said: “I was just in London for a week and every one there seemed nervous but thought it would be remain.

“So it was surprising to hear it went the way it did.

“Everyone I know was dismayed.

“We look at the EU and think it would be great to have the kind of resources on offer – to be able to live in so many different places and travel so easily without the long lines at customs.

“To us, we are surprised to see that you would walk away from it.”

She added: “America is so divided at the moment as well.

“It is a little scary because everyone I know in the US thinks there is no chance Trump will win.

“But seeing the EU vote going the way no one expected is a little unnerving.”

Meanwhile in Leeds, organisers of the city’s bid to be the European Capital of Culture will hold discussions to find out if it will be affected by the country’s decision to leave the European Union. The city had been vying for the title for 2023.

Leeds was one of only three council areas across the Yorkshire region where the majority of voters wanted to keep the United Kingdom in the EU.

Backers for the bid insisted Leeds was still a European city despite the outcome of the referendum yesterday.

The title of Capital of Culture has been hosted by cities outside of the EU before but not by a city in a country opting to leave the union.

Sharon Watson, chair of the Leeds 2023 Independent Steering Group said: “We are working with the organisers of the European Capital of Culture Competition to determine if there is to be any impact of this decision on those cities in the UK wishing to bid for the title.

“Previously countries including Norway and Iceland, both of whom are not part of the EU, have hosted the title.

“Regardless of political alliance, Leeds continues to be a European city, hosting and exporting work across the continent and working with partners across Europe. These strong relationships will continue across the artistic community.”

Hull is the UK’s capital of culture for 2017.