Anti-Brexit supporter declares Gloucestershire home a republic

William Riches
Image caption Dr Riches lives in the Forest of Dean where 59% of people voted to leave the EU

A retired university lecturer has declared his Gloucestershire home an independent republic in a bid to defy Brexit.

Dr William Riches, 77, from Newnham on Severn, said he is making a stand because he disagrees with the UK withdrawing from the European Union.

He lives in the Forest of Dean where 59% of people voted to leave.

The staunch Remainer says he cannot see a future for the country, as first reported by Gloucestershire Live.

He added: "48% of the voters have been totally ignored and so our only way of becoming outside the Brexit movement was by declaring independence."

Dr Riches has named his new state the Independent Republic of Middlewatch after his house, and made wife Judith president.

He has also declared his kitchen as the official seat of government and even proposes to charge £50 per visa to UK citizens who want to visit his house.

Other places to declare independence

Image caption The Sealand platform lies seven miles off the eastern shores of Britain

The Principality of Sealand, on a former military platform in the sea off East Anglia, has claimed to be its own independent nation since the Bates family founded it in 1967.

The People's Republic of Frestonia, in west London, was set up by squatters based around Freston Road who fought a long battle against the threat of eviction by the then Greater London Council.

And an island off the coast of Essex with one access road for traffic travelling on and off declared independence for the day as part of its celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee, with anyone travelling to Mersea Island having to buy a 50p passport and all takings going to charity.

"We don't want to go against democracy, but for those of us who remain who have been totally ignored, there is only one option - independence," Dr Riches said.

"The rest of the country will leave the European Union but we won't."

Mrs Riches added: "We're respecting the vote, not overturning it. It's free speech."

Following the EU referendum in June last year, a petition calling for London to seek independence from the rest of the country was signed by more than 180,000 people.

Dr Riches has not explained how he would officially secede from the UK.

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