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Voters share their views on ‘saga’



It is now six months until Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union but with negotiations in Brussels stalling, there is growing scepticism about how much of a success Brexit can be and whether there should be a second referendum.

Sky News’ senior correspondent Lisa Holland has visited Andover in Hampshire, whose vote mirrored exactly the national referendum result 18 months ago, with 48% wanting to stay in Europe compared with 52% wanting to leave.

There’s plenty of chatter about whether Britain should have a second referendum on the final divorce deal, and, if enough people don’t like it, whether there should be the option of staying married to Europe after all.

Of course it’s far from scientific, but during our day in Andover, frankly, we didn’t find much appetite for a second referendum on anything to do with leaving Europe.

While visiting Finkley Down Farm we spoke to grandmother Dawn Marchant who voted to leave in June 2016 but says if a new referendum happened tomorrow then she would vote to stay.

However, what’s interesting is that Dawn doesn’t want another referendum now.

“We did all vote at the time and we should stick to our guns,” she said.

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Andover is a mix of wealthy villages and less well-off urban areas alongside the A303 corridor to the southwest.

It’s become an investment location for businesses like Twinings, the famous tea company which churns out 2,000 bags-a-minute.

Stephen Twining, the tenth generation of the Twinings family to be in the tea business, said on the issue of whether people have changed their minds since the referendum: “I get the sense a referendum would be replicated exactly as it was. I don’t know anyone who has changed their mind either way.

“I think people understand it’s not as simple as ‘you do this, we’ll do that’. It’s going to take a long time to extract a country from the agreements that we’ve been in so it’s to be expected that it’s going to be a long bureaucratic process.

“I think it’s quite reassuring that people have the courage of their convictions. They voted with their heart or their head, however you want to describe it, but they are happy with the way they voted and that’s got to be good for democracy.”

Sky News' Lisa Holland visited Twinings tea firm in Hampshire
Andover has become an investment location for companies like Twinings

Twinings employee Nicky McGovern, who is a factory operator, said they would vote the same way if there was a new referendum.

She said: “A lot of people I know are confused. I went with my heart in the end rather than my head but I would still do it, I would still vote Leave. I think the future will be a lot better for my children, even though it may not be great for a few years.

“However, I didn’t think the negotiations would drag out for as long as they have. I thought we’d be ‘cards on the table’ by now. But it doesn’t change my point of view.”

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Some people we spoke to think too much of the “Brexit saga” is playing out with a running commentary, which may be hindering the chances of success for Britain’s negotiators.

At Hampshire Golf Club we found a mix of Leave and Remain voters – but again, couldn’t find anyone who said they would actually vote differently in a new referendum.

Sky News' Lisa Holland visited Hampshire Golf Course
Voters at Hampshire Golf Club said they would vote in the same way if made to vote again

Paul Rossides said: “I voted to remain and would again choose to vote to remain. I don’t know anybody who would vote differently. People have stuck with their views. You hear general murmurings that people wouldn’t have voted to leave but who they are I don’t know? I don’t know anyone in our circle.

“It’s playing out too much. Every crossed ‘t’ and dotted ‘i’ is being argued or debated, and it’s extreme. Somebody needs to make a decision and get on with it. It’s just too drawn out. You run the risk of everybody getting sick and tired of it.”

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