Young voters plan rally against Brexit in Norwich tonight
PUBLISHED: 08:21 07 July 2016 | UPDATED: 12:50 07 July 2016
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2016
Voters dispirited by a future outside the European Union are expected to join a Norwich protest against Brexit.
Why I voted leave
While the majority of the young vote was won by Remain, almost a third, 27pc, backed Brexit.
Jess Long, 24, from Attleborough, was among those who opted to leave the EU.
She said: “Mainly, it was because I see the EU as undemocratic and had concerns over how laws are passed abroad that directly affect people here at home.
“Even though our MEPs are elected, there are many senior bodies in powerful positions that are not.”
She said immigration was not a factor for the vote and hoped to dispel the myths that Brexit voters were motivated by racism
“I’ve had close friends and family that have said I am uneducated, uninformed and that my opinion has been turned by the national newspapers and that’s just not the case.
“To be honest, there were certain things said by Farage that made me want to not vote Leave, but in the end I was more passionate about leaving than staying.”
About 1,000 people, many in their teens or 20s, have said they will attend the rally outside City Hall tonight, which was organised on Facebook by 20-year-old student Emily Cutler and friend Tom Johnston.
Almost three quarters – 73pc – of voters aged 18 to 24 around the country opted for continued union membership, in contrast with the 60pc of voters aged 65 or over who backed the campaign to leave.
Many have cited the loss of freedom to work and live abroad as a major concern, while uncertainty in the economy was likely to be felt most by a generation trying to get on both the housing and career ladder.
Miss Cutler, an economics student at the University of East Anglia (UEA), said she was inspired to organise the rally after feeling as though the older generation had “pulled” young people out of the EU.
“When the result was announced I felt sad, but also disappointed and let down,” she said. “The majority was small and studies have since said if the referendum was done in two years’ time, considering the 16 and 17-year-olds who would have voted and the effect on the older generation, it would have probably been Remain.
“I don’t believe that’s fair and I wanted to do something for the 48pc.”
She put out the feelers for an event for like-minded voters – and with 1,000 people saying on Facebook they will attend, and a further 2,000 interested, it has been met with overwhelming support.
Second year student Miss Cutler, who grew up in London, said she feared instability in the economy would hamper students’ efforts to land employment after graduation.
“I’ve started looking at graduate jobs and the amount there is now compared with last year is much lower,” she said. “People don’t know what’s going to happen and it’s putting them off hiring.”
Speakers on the night will include Jon Clemo, chief executive at Community Action Norfolk, and Claudina Richards, a senior lecturer of law at UEA.
Ms Richards said: “I think it is crucial for young people that we stay in the EU, because it has demonstrated how doing things together is a positive way of instilling political and economic peace and stability.”
As the director of the law school’s Erasmus scheme, an EU student exchange programme which enables British students to learn abroad, Ms Richards said, while it was too early to know how the decision would affect the UK’s involvement, it was “worrying” for its future.
Fellow speaker Katy-Jon Went, a writer and activist, added: “For young people the EU has been of huge benefit, along with women and minorities across the board. This is a peaceful rally, one looking at legal and rational ways to slow this process down. Another element is empowering people who perhaps weren’t old enough to vote in this, but soon will be.”
The event will start at 7pm. Visit www.facebook.com/events/1070135266412005/
Will we actually leave?
During referendum campaigning, prime minister David Cameron insisted that, should Leave win, official exit proceedings would start immediately.
But his resignation has prompted speculation - and a glimmer of hope for Remainers - that article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which governs how an EU state leaves the bloc, may not be triggered.
As most know, the result is advisory only and not legally binding - meaning to ignore it, the government has to simply do nothing.
Indeed, Theresa May - arguably the frontrunner for the Conservative party leadership - says she would not push the button this year, a position agreed by Michael Gove.
Both candidates say in-depth negotiations are needed before the two-year process is launched, a position disputed by fellow candidate Andrea Leadsom, who has promised to make discussions as short as possible if elected.
Regardless, when a new Conservative leader is chosen in October, they are likely to come under pressure to call a fresh election to secure a mandate.
If so, continued membership of the EU will almost certainly be used as a bargaining chip to secure a path to Parliament.
Tim Farron, Liberal Democrats leader, has already pledged to derail Brexit and set the vote aside should the party be elected, while Labour MP David Lammy has called on the government to ignore the decision and not invoke article 50.
Either way, many argue a new leader or government should trigger a fresh referendum on EU membership, particularly when considering the U-turn on many of the Leave campaign’s key promises
So far, more than four million people have signed an online petition calling for a second vote, on the grounds that the 52pc majority was not large enough to make the decision.
• What do you think of the result? You can leave your comments below