Brexit: growing frustration on both sides of debate

Brexit: growing frustration on both sides of debate
By Seamus Kearney with Reuters
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Amid talk of a big divorce settlement with the EU, and negotiations dragging on, UK voters on both sides of the debate express their frustration


The British town of Canvey Island, where almost three quarters of voters backed Brexit, is the perfect place to gauge people's feelings on how the divorce process is going. 

It is here that the government of Theresa May is facing a backlash over unconfirmed reports that she has agreed to pay tens of billions of euros to Brussels in a divorce settlement.

Officials neither confirm nor deny that a figure has been agreed , leaving both remain and leave supporters frustrated.

Remain voter Peter Monk told Reuters: "Give them nothing. They are just trying to rip us off and just pummel us into the ground all the time and we have to stick up for ourselves and tell them to take a run."

Leave voter Keith Low said: "On the whole, the government who is in power just don't want to leave. 

"It's a great gravy train and they use any excuse: 'oh you've got to pay 50 billion, 60 billion'. It's not their money. It's our money!"

British officials have cast doubt on the figures mentioned in the media.

Leave voter Pam said: "We are paying all the time. So I don't understand why we have to pay to leave if you give them enough notice like any contract, if you give enough notice you don't have to pay to leave."

Taxi driver Steve Stacey said: "I think it's ridiculous. I don't think it should be paid. What have they ever done for us? Simple as."

And another leave voter, Karen Sweet, said: "Nothing moves. They just want what they want and not what the people want. I get the right hump with it."

And some people in Canvey Island who voted for Brexit are even voicing regret.

Dave Sweet, who voted leave, said: "I voted exit but if I had known that we had to go through all this rigmarole. 

"To be quite honest I thought we would be out in six months. That is how naïve I was and I am pretty good on politics. 

"I didn't think it would take this long and if I had known we had to go through all of this I wouldn't have bothered. I would have just stayed in."

"I just think they are punishing us because we want to leave. Basically they are making it as difficult as possible. Yeah, disgusting."

Remain voter Peter Monk also had this warning: "If you upset the British public and try to bully them, they will come back at them and put two fingers up at them, which a lot of people are saying: 'let's do it'. 

"A lot of people are saying next week if it is still not sorted out just get up from the table and get all your papers and walk out."

In the east coast town of Canvey Island, and its surrounding constituency of Castle Point, 72.7% voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.


Britain is due to leave the bloc in March 2019.

Progress has to be made on three key issues in the initial negotiations - the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, the exit bill and the land border with Ireland - if the talks are to move on to the next major subject: the shape of the UK's post-Brexit trade relationship with the EU.

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