“Mr. Johnson, any message of reassurance to the country? There are millions of very scared voters at the moment who are just looking for a message from their leader…”
The question shouted by a reporter in the direction of prominent “Vote Leave” campaigner Boris Johnson went unanswered as the politician disappeared inside the house.
The immediate aftermath of Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union brought a surprising silence over the weekend from some leading “Outers”.
Meanwhile some of the claims central to the Brexiteers’ case were being exposed as somewhat economical with the truth – by leading proponents of Brexit themselves.
Pro-EU campaigners and independent analysts had already challenged Boris Johnson’s assertion that Britain gave 350 million pounds a week to Brussels.
The figure was plastered over the campaign battle bus, with the suggestion that it could instead fund Britain’s health service.
After the vote other “Leave” figures appeared to row back on the claim. UKIP leader Nigel Farage described it as a “mistake”, Ian Duncan-Smith as an “extrapolation”.
Another slogan “Leave” campaigners repeated over and over again – “Take Back Control” – was applied to immigration and to all powers they argued were vested in Brussels.
“We want our borders back, we want our passports back, we want our country back. And if everyone that agrees with us goes out to vote on June 23, we will make it UK independence day,” Nigel Farage said from aboard his own purple campaign battle bus.
Brexiteers argued that only by leaving the EU could Britain control immigration.
The accusation now from some quarters is that “Leave” campaigners were not straight with voters – amid claims that many voters backed Brexit because they expected immigration to fall.
After the vote one campaigner couldn’t say that immigration would come down significantly.
Another said that a post-Brexit Britain may accept free movement of labour from Europe to remain in the EU market.
Several people have been interviewed and quoted as saying they regret their vote to leave the EU.
Although “Leave” campaigners said the actual exit process from the EU could take time, many voters may have expected things to move quickly after the referendum.
David Cameron had said before the vote that he would invoke the Lisbon Treaty’s Article 50 immediately.
The government’s position after the result became very different.
“The prime minister has given us time as a country to decide what the relationship should be by delaying the decision to trigger the article 50 procedure until there is a new prime minister in place for the autumn,” Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) George Osborne said on Monday.