EU referendum result: Cannock Chase votes LEAVE

Eurosceptic stronghold Cannock Chase pulled no surprises with a convincing Brexit vote.

EU referendum result: Cannock Chase votes LEAVE

There were cheers from the UKIP councillors - Cannock Chase has four - as the returning officer announced 68.5 per cent of people had voted to quit the EU.

At 2.55am the district was one of the first in Staffordshire to declare, with 31.5 per cent voting to remain in the Union.

  • More: Live coverage from the local counts in the West Midlands

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Turnout was high, with 53,607 people, or 71.5 per cent of the electorate, visiting their local polling station or casting a postal vote.

Councillor Alan Dean, chairman of UKIP in Cannock, said: "It's a fantastic result, one we've worked hard for over the last 12 months."

The district, traditionally Labour, has returned Conservative MPs in the last two general elections, but there was no doubt which way the referendum vote was going from early on in the campaign.

Labour Party officials were reported to have given up campaigning in the district some weeks ago to concentrate on other less Eurosceptic areas.

Labour councillor Alan Dudson, a prominent outer, was not surprised by the result. He said: "I applaud the people of Cannock. The EU has done nothing for them and they have voted with their feet. Rugeley Power Station is being closed with the loss of jobs and £1 million in rates to the council but no one from Brussels is coming to help us with the shortfall in income."

Tory councillor Mike Sutherland said: "The people have voted and we will have to accept the ramifications of that. My fear is that we may be punished by the EU for challenging it."

Green councillor Paul Woodhead felt the result spoke more about how the message had been articulated. "It's an indictment about the tone of the debate," he said.

Polls closed at 10pm with the first ballot boxes arriving at Chase Leisure Centre just 10 minutes later. The result was clear from early on and for the 15 councillors and other party members who attended the vote, the talk was all about the close national voting.

Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling said: "What's really pleasing is the turnout, and the fact so many people have taken this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The Conservative MP, who voted remain,"I understand that people have different views. Cannock Chase has voted to leave and that's their democratic right. I wasn't actively campaigning to remain. For me, it was a really tough decision but In the end I made my decision based on the economy, on trade and national security.

"This was always going to be a more important vote because unlike a general election, we will have to live with this decision for far longer than a five-year parliamentary term. Now we need to take some lessons from the vote and unite the country."

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