On 23rd June 2016, 17,410,742 people voted for the UK to end its 43-year membership of the European Union. They did so after a Leave campaign chock full of lies, distortions and scare tactics, many of which have been exposed as such in the days since the referendum.
Many stand by their vote. It’s hard to admit you made a mistake. But as it becomes clearer that both the alleged sins of the EU and the advantages of membership were grievously misrepresented, that no one fully explained the extent to which Britain’s economy is integrated with and dependent on the 27 other EU nations, and as more meat is added to the bones of stories about illegal cooperation between the Leave campaigns, suspicious donations to pro-Brexit groups and interference in the vote by malevolent foreign actors, more and more Brexiters are seeing the error of their ways. I’ll be keeping track of them here.
Bit harsh on yourself there, Leila – you’re far from alone. Many others have struggled with the idea that so many tabloid newspaper journalists and politicians could lie so brazenly, and so clearly contrary to the interests of the country, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that this is what’s been happening.
Welcome aboard the good ship Remain, Peter’s friend.
Like a reformed smoker, Michael’s now quite the virulent anti-Brexit campaigner.
Good on you, Hugh.
Tim only went and wrote a bloody blog post about it.
The Brexit headbangers would have us believe that support for Remain is waning. That really doesn’t seem to be the picture these tweets are painting.
There’s no need to be afraid of mockery from Remain voters if you’re thinking of admitting your Leave vote might have been a mistake. We all voted on the basis of very poor-quality information.
Don’t kick yourself too hard, Tre. There are plenty of billionaire disaster capitalists queueing up to do that for you.
I agree. I voted out, but have definitely changed my mind. The logistics are just too difficult. https://t.co/3106fEDTr7
— Gordon McKay (@gmckay_51) August 28, 2017
Not exactly a full-throated recantation from Gordon, but it’s another vote in the bag. (Tweet has since vanished – I think Gordon runs one of those apps that automatically deletes all tweets more than a month old. The reply below, however, survives. Because of eventualities like this, I’m going through this post replacing all embedded tweets with screenshots.)
Aaand two more recruits, courtesy of Kristian.
It was almost certainly in your top three, Beth, but I won’t press the point.
This one came courtesy of @StuartBudd1 on Twitter.
Another Bregretter wedded to the old ways is MG:
This Leave voter is pretty upfront about her reasons for flip-flopping. And I imagine a fair few of these 4 million fellows might well vote differently in a second referendum – or at the very least abstain.
According to this study, the number of people who regretted voting Leave was already greater than the margin of victory for Leave – and that was in October 2016. As the scale of the task facing the UK government and its rank unfitness to undertake it become ever clearer, that number can only have risen.
There are doubtless hundreds, possibly thousands more Bregretters – it only took me an hour to collect the examples above. Feel free to send me any more admissions of error you may find (after thanking them for their courage and honesty, natch). The case for a second referendum – or, preferably, a simple retraction of article 50 – grows stronger by the day.
Bregretters found since 20/9/17
I may have made a rod for my own back here. Mind you, I’ll take a rod up the tradesman’s if it stops Brexit.
(A revealing little exchange, that one. Despite the wailing of Liam Fox and various shady corporate-sponsored thinktanks, there has been much speculation that the BBC has given far too much prominence to advocates of Brexit – and especially of hard Brexit.)
(That last post was retweeted by the @BrexityRegrets account, which had, as of 18/12/2017, winkled out 95 more people who have had second thoughts since 23/6/16.)
Inspired by a broadside of hatred and scorn from hardened leavers (and doubtless a few Mercer trolls) on 18 December, I decided to broaden my search and started finding more Bregretters in unexpected places like Mumsnet:
And here’s one from the Student Room:
Ooh, just found a Facebook group that should turn up a few more. Here’s one:
And another Facebook post:
Six more were interviewed here for the Huffington Post. Another wrote of her change of heart for the Telegraph. This caller to James O’Brien’s LBC radio show admitted he’d “made a mistake” and voted against the interest of his French partner of 15 years. This one made a similar admission, and O’Brien namechecks another (and implies many more) in this video. Another delicious radio moment came when caller David informed Nigel Farage that he would now vote Remain. Three more people seem to be admitting to a change of heart in this Channel 4 News clip. There are four more backtrackers in this separate Huffington Post article. This series of videos features 22 more. There’s one more reformed Remainer (not already covered elsewhere), Le Boy El Pablo, in this Time article. MSN spoke to another Bregretter here. For those who missed it, here’s a representative of an entire family who voted Leave and thought better of it the very next day – “when the facts started coming in”. Bill Walton facepalms about his vote in this article in the Sunderland Echo. Dorian Lynskey’s excellent piece on Leavers’ remorse provides us with a further six (one’s already included above). This Twitter thread found another eight flip-floppers not already covered above. And Lynda Smith uploaded this rather fitting video to YouTube to demonstrate how she now felt about her vote.
This is proving to be quite an inexact science – there are possibilities of duplications, of course, and there’s no telling whether all the people concerned are telling the truth (although it’s hard to see why someone would make something like this up). Take this tweet thread, for example:
In the interests of fairness, I’ll only count this as one more Remainer. (PS: thanks for your bravery and honesty, Simon!) In any case, this is only supposed to give a general picture of the momentum building against a hasty and calamitous exit from the EU.
300 down. Only 599,700 to go.
Having hit the 300 mark, which I think is enough to make my point, and having realised that this page now takes a solid hour to scroll through, I’m going to be a little less rigorous with the updates, although I will continue to post links below every now and then.