EU Referendum

EU Referendum: Birmingham votes Brexit by a whisker

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Media captionPeople were questioned at New Street station

Birmingham's vote to leave the EU - by a whisker - shocked the forecasters.

With a margin of 3,800 votes, 50.4% of England's second city backed Brexit.

Labour's Gisela Stuart MP, who helped front the Leave campaign, said a "cross-party" effort was needed to "act in the best interests of the country".

But Richard Burden, the Labour MP for Northfield who wanted to remain in the EU, is concerned about the economy.

More on this and other Birmingham and Black Country stories

In Birmingham city centre on Friday lunchtime, there were mixed feelings.

David and Pauline Knowles, who live in Birmingham, voted to remain and said: "The decision isn't going to be for us, we're obviously older. It's going to be for young people like our grandson. I think people should have remained."

This was echoed by 19-year-old Aaron Wilson, also from Birmingham: "It's a pretty confusing time to be English.

"I think a lot of people voted with their hearts instead of their heads. It's a patriotic day for some, but it's confusing for a lot of people.

"I voted Remain - I couldn't do anymore."

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Media captionPeople were questioned in Birmingham City Centre

But Margaret, 74, from Walsall, said: "It feels good to be English today. It's back to normal."

Mark Baron, from Redditch, also voted to leave and said: "We've been governed by people that really don't understand the politics happening in this country.

"It's lost its ways a little bit for me. It's not really about race. It's to do more with economy."

Sue Bagby, 53, from Walsall, did not vote but said: "Today's result is no surprise. I'm happy with it."

Find out the results near you


Analysis: Nick Higham, in Birmingham

It was the biggest single voting district in the UK - around 700,000 registered voters - and one of the closest results of the night. Birmingham voted Leave by just 3,800 votes.

In its West Midlands hinterland the vote was much clearer. Some of the poorest areas voted by the largest margin to quit: 68% to 32% in Dudley.

In the shadow of the neoclassical Birmingham Town Hall, which stands as a monument to the city's 19th Century role as the workshop of the world, the mood ranged from exultation to disbelief.

"We're strong enough, brave enough and confident enough to get out there and show the world what we're really made of," said Lisa who works in banking.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," said a civil servant. "I cannot believe we've gone out. I'm an entrenched European, my girlfriend's German, my car is German, it's ridiculous."


Wolverhampton and Dudley's verdicts were more decisive with 63% and 68% supporting Leave, respectively.

Overall, in the referendum that saw the UK vote to leave the EU, Birmingham and the Black Country backed leaving by a majority of 291,000 - 59.8% voting to leave, with 40.2% wanting to remain.

Richard Burden, Labour MP for Northfield and an advocate of the Remain campaign, highlighted the plummeting value of the pound and uncertainty of the markets in the wake of the vote, saying: "I don't think many people feel a lot of control today."

Image caption Birmingham was almost split on whether to remain or leave the EU

Jaguar Land Rover, which has bases in Solihull and Wolverhampton, has given its reaction to the result, saying: "Today is just business as usual."

Last week, the manufacturer wrote to its employees warning of the possible consequences that leaving the European Union could bring.

The company said it "remains committed" to all its manufacturing sites and customers in the EU.

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