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20th Apr 2021

Leave-voting British fisherman admits he regrets voting for Brexit

Danny Jones

The Fisherman from Devon said he wished he could go back before Brexit and tell himself, ‘Don’t be a fool, stay in Europe’

Believe it or not, the Brexit referendum took place over four years ago now—half a decade in June—though the slow march towards it coming into fruition felt even longer. Moreover, despite having officially left the European Union on the 31st of January 2020, it still doesn’t quite feel fully in our rear-view mirror.

In fact, the effects of Brexit will likely linger for the foreseeable future, as British businesses are still coming to terms with more stringent trade restrictions and the realisation that the grass isn’t always greener. One man who has come to realise that first-hand is fish exporter, Ian Perkes, who said that “life has become very difficult” since voting to leave.

Speaking to DR, a Danish television broadcaster (formerly known as Danmarks Radio), Perkes was asked how he felt now that he had been living and operating his business outside the EU for nearly a year. His answer was one of resounding regret: “Do you think I would have voted to leave if I’d known it was going to cost me another £80,000 a year? Of course not. Only a fool would have voted to go out […] knowing that.”

Perkes goes on to describe how he believes the Brexiteers “were lied to. We were told we are going to have free trade, we were not guaranteed we were going to get our 12-mile limit back, but we assumed with what we were reading and what we were being told that that would be a case”. You can see the full clip below:

As you can see, the fisherman clearly wishes he could go back on his decision; when asked if he could turn back the clocks and rethink, he had this advice for his past self: “Don’t be a fool, stay in Europe. Why would you want to leave? […] I don’t see no happy ending at present”.

Perhaps the most damning and particularly pertinent point he makes is that rather than focusing on the big red bus, ‘we won’t be forced into accepting EU legislation’ and all the other Brexit lies, he makes an important confession: “So yeah, I did get it wrong, hands up, I admitted I was wrong, but I’m not an isolated case.”

It was estimated by the Office for National Statistics that exports from Britain plummeted by a staggering £5.6 billion in the month following Brexit and although the government have been keen to shift focus to COVID-19 and have assured that the movement of goods are back to normal market levels, those are numbers you can’t ignore.

So too is the drop of more than £300,000 in sales that Perkes told the Daily Express he had lost between January 2020 and 2021. He isn’t the only one and will by no means be the last. Careful what you wish for.