Brexit’s victory was miniscule and a swing of just 1.85% would’ve produced a different result

October 8th, 2016

Theresa May is wrong to assert that the referendum outcome was “clear”

The chart above shows the winning margins in the four major referendums that there have been in the UK and illustrates just how small the LEAVE victory on June 23rd was compared with the other big UK rerefendums. Certainly the 1975 EC vote and the 2011 AV one gave very clear results which it is hard to argue with.

Scotland’s IndyRef in September 2014 had a double digit margin against independence and although this was not as emphatic as the two other one it has broadly closed down the issue.

Remember how ahead on June 23rd Nigel Farage was preparing for a debate in the event of a close outcome declaring the 52-48 wouldn’t be big enough. In the end it was even smaller. John Rentoul in the Indy takes issue with the way TMay is describing the outcome:

“..one of the least convincing lines in her speech last Sunday was that “the referendum result was clear”. You do not have to be a last-ditch Remainer to wonder whether a 52 per cent vote was a clear enough mandate for something as big as leaving the EU.

Some Leavers might even notice that the British Election Study carried out after the referendum found that 6 per cent of Leave voters had “regrets about the way you voted”, while only 1 per cent of Remainers had. Which would mean, if they acted on their regrets, that a re-run of the referendum might have gone 51 per cent to 49 per cent the other way.”

But we are where we are and, I’d suggest, that the rookie PM has got to be more subtle about the way she expresses things. Her cack-hand approach has driven the week’s collapse of the pound on the foreign exchange markets which has caused more voices to be raised against her.

Mike Smithson