Fenland votes decisively - a whopping 71.4 per cent in fact- in favour of leaving Europe; East Cambs is more finely balanced
PUBLISHED: 07:31 24 June 2016 | UPDATED: 07:31 24 June 2016
At precisely 4am came confirmation of what had been expected for six hours since the polls closed- Fenland had voted decisively in favour of quitting Europe.
Fenland Council’s chief executive Paul Medd – in this instance acting as counting officer for the Fenland voting area- revealed the scale of the electorate’s wish to disentangle itself from the European Union.
With a turn out of 73.7 per cent and 52,649 votes cast, Mr Medd confirmed a whopping 71.4 per cent of the votes had gone to the leave campaign.
The 37,571 votes in favour of leaving Europe compared to just 28.6 per cent (15,055 votes) wanting us to stay in.
Only a handful of local politicians were on hand to hear the result declared from a newly created Fenland podium inside the Hudson leisure centre at Wisbech.
Among them was UKIP county councillor Paul Clapp who had left the hall much earlier when remain seemed more likely, only to return once fortunes began to change. It was, he conceded, an opportunity “to witness history being made”.
It wasn’t consolation Labour’s Martin Field and Lib Dem county councillor Loran Dupre were seeking but more an explanation of what had gone wrong.
Both come from parties – or wings of those parties- pledged to remain in Europe and confident they would see it come to pass.
But throughout the night as the results were shown on large screen TVs dotted around the Hudson, it was evident from the early hours it would be a closely fought contest.
By 4am, as Fenland declared, the writing for remain was on the wall.
The evening was not without its warmth – or good humour. A French expat retweeted news from the Fenland count, pointing out Wisbech was among the top five towns most widely predicted to vote to leave.
But, he reflected, there was a limit to interest from France in other aspects of Fenland culture and life.
“I did try to interest my Parisian friends in the subject of car park charges in Fenland, but they weren’t very keen,” he tweeted.
Elsewhere on Wisbech councillor Steve Tierney, a leave supporter, tweeted to a friend: “hug, high five. It’s great.”
In East Cambs the vote was much closer, with 23,599 voting to remain against 24,487 opting for out. In Peterborough the majority in favour of leaving was overwhelming with 53,216 to only 34,176 wanting to remain.
Stewart Jackson, a Peterborough MP, was celebrating the success of the leave vote but still had time to vent anger over at least one moment of campaigning.
“I do hope the ageing soap dodger Bob Geldof now buggers off in his floating gin palace.....permanently,” he tweeted.
NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay retired early – well at least from twitter- with an 11.30pm comment that it was “great to see a high turnout. Thanks to everyone who voted leave. Now we need to bring our party together and deliver our manifesto commitments.”
His prescient tweet sort of hit the mark – but there was no doubt which campaign he supported.
“Lets believe in Britain not Brussels,” he wrote the day before voting. “It is time to have confidence in our country and take back control.”