Derby voted in favour of leaving the European Union in June 2016 by a majority of 57.2%, but with the plans for an extension to the Brexit process given assent by MPs this week, we took to the streets of Derby to hear the thoughts of the people of Derby almost two years later.
How Would Derby Vote Now?
According to a poll run by Derbyshire Live earlier this month, which asked 3,300 people in Derby whether they would prefer to leave or remain in the EU, it was revealed that more than 60% of people would now prefer not to leave the EU at all.
This appears to be a collective change of opinion for Derby. The process has left many in Derby and across the UK with Brexit fatigue, the poll results showing that around 71% of those polled in Derby think that the UK will fail to exit the EU entirely.
This comes as a surprise, as every single constituency in Derby voted to leave the EU.
What Do the MPs Say?
MPs in the several constituencies of Derbyshire have a mixed approach to the mounting pressure of Brexit resting on Theresa May and UK government shoulders.
Maggie Throup, Conservative MP for Erewash, recently declared in a statement on her website that in the vote on whether to extend Article 50 this past week that she would vote against the proposal, saying that it was “the only way I can play my part to ensure the United Kingdom leaves the European Union as intended”.
WATCH: Chris Williamson tells a Sheffield Momentum meeting that Labour has been “too apologetic” about anti-Semitism… pic.twitter.com/zxtKdHQPvw
— Liz Bates (@wizbates) February 26, 2019
Chris Williamson, who was the Labour MP for Derby North, has been worrying about matters wholly unrelated to Brexit.
Caught in a fresh antisemitism scandal, according to the Yorkshire Post he claimed at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield last month that Labour had “given too much ground” when referring to the handling of criticism the Labour Party received over the accusations of antisemitism towards Labour.
He was suspended from the party for his actions pending further investigation, and has since apologised.
What does this mean for Derby?
Among the most important business operations in Derby is the car manufacturing industry mainly centred around Rolls Royce and Toyota.
Both companies have sent representatives to Parliament to lobby against a no-deal Brexit, claiming that the impact would be “catastrophic” for workers.
Rolls Royce has already confirmed its plans to shift work in the civil aerospace division from Derby to Germany in order to control the disruption which could be potentially caused by Brexit.
— BBC East Midlands (@bbcemt) June 14, 2018
Another example of Brexit’s impact on Derby businesses is the story of Aztec Oils, a business based in Bolsover, who has campaigned against Brexit since the 2016 referendum.
Aztec’s founder Mark Lord claimed in an interview with the Derby Telegraph earlier this month that a no-deal Brexit would be “devastating”, and that it would force some of the company to move abroad, losing around 30 jobs to other locations.
What Happens Next?
Theresa May is currently looking for support from her own party and from the DUP in order to push her Brexit deal.
She is calling for an “honourable compromise” in Parliament to help her deal pass through parliament, which has already failed to do so twice.
Last Thursday, MPs voted to allow an extension to Article 50, which could mean a short technical extension to effectively negotiate the deal, providing parliament agrees to one, and providing the 27 EU member states agree.
The EU has however indicated that it would be in favour of a longer extension.