Immigration was key issue for older people who voted for Brexit according to chairman of Northampton Pensioners’ Forum

EU referendum debate
EU referendum debate

The chairman of the Northampton Pensioners’ Forum says he believes immigration was the key factor in older people in the town voting to leave the European Union.

Results of the EU referendum show that 58 per cent of voters in Northampton supported a Brexit, while 42 per cent wanted to Remain.

National analysis of the different age groups in the country showed 58 per cent of over 65s voted to Leave the EU. In contrast, 64 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 years old voted to stay in the EU.

Councillor Brian Oldham (Con, West Hunsbury), who chairs the Northampton Pensioners’ Forum, said the vast majority of the older people in the town had been in favour of Brexit.

He said: “I think it was always going to be close. There were only a few people I spoke to who wanted to vote Remain, the majority of middle age and older definitely said they were voting out.

“I think immigration was a key factor and most people voted because they wanted to cut it and get it under control.”

Hazel Tuttle, aged 81, a spokesman for Pensioners Voice, which folded last December, said older people had also voted for Brexit because they wanted to get rid of the cost of the European parliament.

She said: “There was only one person I spoke to he wanted to stay was a German lady, everybody else wanted to vote out.

“I think with the older generation we remember the war and we don’t like the Germans telling us what to do.

“Many people wanted to leave to get back the money that it costs us to have all those MEPs.”

Mrs Tuttle said she did not think immigration had been the most important factor although pensioners in the town had expressed concerns about Turkey joining the EU.”

In contrast, a poll of students at the University of Northampton before the vote revealed 79 per cent were in favour of Remain.

Thomas Say, the current University of Northampton Students’ Union’s Vice President Engagement and Participation, said: “We, at the Students’ Union, are concerned about the impact that the result of the EU referendum may have. Whilst the Union remained neutral on the issue during the run-up to the referendum, choosing instead to raise awareness of voter registration and educate students on the issues under discussion, it is and has always been the Students’ Union Leadership’s and University’s stance that we are stronger remaining in Europe.

“The main focus for the Students’ Union now is to work closely with both the University and the NUS to ensure that any subsequent changes to higher education are communicated to students as soon as possible.

On the Chronicle & Echo’s Facebook page a number of other young voters have also expressed their dismay at the referendum result.

Kit Messenger, aged 20, said: “I saw no reason to leave. Attitudes and prejudice are a bigger problem than immigration. There was also no chance that I would vote to support a campaign that was pushed from a stance of xenophobia, fear and lies.”

Lydia Prince, aged 22, said: “I was largely undecided for most of the campaign, but having done extensive research and watched several of the debates televised I came to the decision to vote to remain.

“I feel that our economy did not need any further strain or jeopardy forced upon it, having only just about recovered from the previous recession. I also feel that the leave campaign included no real promises of what would happen if we did leave, as it is guess work.

“As things have transpired Farage has already gone back on his NHS promises. Leaving seemed like a big risk for an unsure outcome. I am worried about how long it will take for the UK to recover and how difficult it will be for me, as a graduate, to get a job now.”