In 2016 the British people through a referendum expressed their desire on leaving the European union.  In the in the referendum, 51.9% of the participants voted to leave while the ‘stay’ votes reached the 48.1%(Hunt and wheeler, 2017). This is the second referendum that was held related to the European Union. The first referendum was held in 1975, on whether we should join the common market or not. With a majority of British voters voting yes. This essay will be exploring the arguments put in place for staying and leaving the European Union. In addition, it will be analysing which factors such as migration levels, deprivations levels and whether lack of education influenced the final result. Nevertheless, it can be said the analysis will never be correct as it is only a framework of how people could have felt in the moment as opinions changes constantly due to ever-changing factors.



Before beginning the analysis of the arguments for and against and seeing why the British public favoured leaving the European Union. This essay will explore the history of how the European Union was formed and when Britain joined.

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“A day will come when all nations on our continent will form a European brotherhood … A day will come when we shall see … the United States of America and the United States of Europe face to face, reaching out for each other across the seas.” (Hugo,V.  1849)


Throughout the 18th and 19th century Europe was constantly fighting each other or going through civil wars which climaxed all the way to the Second World War. The European Union of today commenced in the 1950s through three treaties between 1951 and 1957.  In 1951 The Treaty of Rome established the European coal and steel community (ECSC)  this produced diplomatic and economic stability, this allowed some enemies from the world’s wars to share their production which was mainly coal and steel. In addition, the treaty birthed the  European Economic Community (EEC) which was to bring about economic integration among which included a common market and a customs union between the founding members who are Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Berlin. In 1951 the Treaty of Rome was “Initially created to coordinate the member states’ research programmes for the peaceful use of nuclear energy,”1 now in the modern age, it ensures the security of atomic energy giving countries a skeleton on how to monitor the system.  The 1960s came with economic prosperity which came the free market, which stopped charging customs duties within  the EU community when it came to trading. Furthermore, there was an agreement over joint over food production.  During this time the UK made its first application in 1961 to join the European Community. The application was vetoed by the French Government in 1963 with a second application vetoed by the French again in 1967. In 1969, Britain membership was final accepted, with it finally joining the community on 1st January 1973.






Brexit created a wider political, economic and social context debate. Which then raised the questions of what is the future of the UK in the European Union involving globalisation, economic, trade-based integration and sovereignty. The British public was given the pros and cons for each factor mentioned and what could hypothetical happen if we continued with the EU or if we left. However, on June 23rd public demonstrated the leave arguments were more persuasive. The impact of Brexit on the UK and other EU member states is still unpredictable. As the negotiations are still going on. 



 The forefront argument for Brexit is what the public saw was the issue of immigration. It was made to believe Britain would never be able to control immigration until it leaves the European Union, because of freedom of movement gives other EU citizens an automatic right to live here. In May 2004 the immense expansion of the European Union resulted in the huge migration of people from the European countries which are also called  A8 (Baldoni, E., 2003). The number of migrants was mainly from the A8 countries which started to move to other European countries which resulted in a huge number of migrants from European countries (Baldoni, E., 2003). The large influx of migrants to the UK are from Eastern European countries, especially Poland (Ignatowicz, 2012). Due to this huge influx of people coming to the UK from the EU, it is becoming difficult to control the migration in the UK borders being harder to control  (ONS, 2011). Another argument for those who want to leave the EU relating to migration is that migration could be bad for the economy as they do raise the taxes due there being more people in the country (Sa, F. 2011).




Furthermore, it was stated cutting out ties with the EU will enable Britain to focus on new emerging markets giving Britain the chance to diversify her international links which will increase her clout allowing her to re-engages with the Commonwealth countries and also China. The UK is likely to remain an appealing choice for foreign investment.  As Britain has a large domestic market with an advanced service industry and extensive engineering sector. London is seen as a global financial centre and established a meeting hub. Where its multicultural, English-speaking environment is an asset for international businesses.  

Additionally, when it comes to trade, it is a way of Britain gaining control their fisheries fight that they have going on with the EU. As British waters are 88% of the adult population of the north sea  herring as well  making it Europe’s most popular fish by weight. According to the financial times (2017) UK fishermen see Brexit as an opportunity to take advantage of their seas and unshackle themselves from the constraints of the EU system. Their discontent can be seen in a survey done in 2016 with 92 percent of fishermen were pro Brexit.2


In addition, when it came to laws the arguments put in place
for Brexit was that there

was too many of British’s laws
are made overseas by orders passed down from Brussels and rulings upheld by the European Court of Justice.  Which leads the UK courts not
having any sovereign.  With the
European Union planning on “even closer a union” (Miller,2018) with
the UK law and economic integration, it makes uncertain on whether how much
sovereign will  the UK have over their
own laws in the future. Also, Britain could soon be asked to contribute to an
EU Army, with reports suggesting Angela Merkel may demand the Prime Minister’s
approval in return for –other concessions. That would
erode the UK’s independent military force and should be opposed. –


the other hand, there are also strong arguments to remain in the Europe Union.  proponents EU believer like Pr. Christian Dustman
and DR Tommaso Frattini stated in the Economic Society of the Economic Journal
“immigration to the UK since 2000 has been of substantial net fiscal benefit,
with immigrants contributing more than they have received in benefits and
transfers. This is true for the immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe as
well as the rest of the EU” (cReAM, 2014). In addition, leaving will not solve the migration
crisis however it will bring it to Britain’s
doorstep because border controls from the Continent will move from Calais in
France to Dover in the UK. –   One of the strongest argument
for staying in the EU was the single market. The single market gives Britain
economic advantage, allowing companies to trade across the Europe Union on the
same level. With 44 percent of our exports go to the European union and with 48
percent cent of foreign investment into coming from the European. Ernst &
Young conducted a survey on foreign direct investors who stated “72% of
investors citing access to the European single market as important to the
attractiveness, the referendum has the potential to change the perception of
the UK dramatically posing a major risk to FDI.”1
Demonstrating, leaving puts Britain at risk of an uncertain future, when it
comes to trading as the European council have already said they will not offer
the U.K a special deal as it may cause other countries to rebel.  Additionally, leaving the European Union comes with uncertainty,
as there is the question of the UK budget scheme. The leave party claimed
Britain was contributing to the EU budget £350million a week which the head of statics
authority stated it  was “potentially misleading” 2.

As a refund is given to England
before it sends money to the EU then around
£5 billion comes
back to the UK in the form of regional grants and industry subsidies. The
remaining contribution is around 1% of
government spending. the IFS believes’ the hit to British tax revenues in the event of Brexit will be much larger than £8 billion3. There will be no “extra money” to
spend, on the NHS which the leave party claimed that we would have. This most likely will lead to an increase of
borrowing around £20 – £40 billion
in 2019-204
. As it will be hard to maintain the budget which will lead to austerity or
high borrowing and debt.    On
23rd June the British people voted to leave the European Union and
thus creating a curiosity what drove people to vote out.  It is believed poverty, education and age
were seen as the cause of support for Brexit.  It was found the support was found in the
older population and people with low levels of education, the people with these
qualities were likely to experience deprivation while witnessing the influx of
inward migration from EU nationals. For
instance, 15 of the 20 ‘least
educated’ areas voted to leave while all of the 20 ‘most highly educated’ areas voted to remain. Support
for Brexit was also stronger than average in areas with a larger number of
pensioners. Of the 20 youngest authorities 16 voted to remain,
but of the 20 oldest authorities 19 voted to leave. (Goodwin and Heath).

Goodwin and health believed that same support can be seen UKIP and their talk
of “left behind communities” the same result of in the areas that were older white people in poor
areas and it was UKIP vote’s vote for
support was consistently weaker in younger and more culturally diverse areas
who were finically secure. This explained why the differences in local demography
helped UKIP win 40% in places which struggled economically like Rotherham. However,
it is said the role of the leader like Nigel Farage is what persuade for people
to vote for UKIP also in the leave campaign the leadership of Boris Johnson. If
you liked Boris and agreed with some of the factors you were likely to for Brexit.  With Farage, he was less popular among
the professional middle-classes yet more popular among voters who felt left
behind. Both leaders knew the by June the core driver for their votes was
immigration. The remain side leaders were not as effective compared to the
leave campaign.  This then leads to the main assumption on why people voted for Brexit
was due to migration. Communities that received a major influx of migration in
last decade were more likely to vote for Brexit. For instance, in Peterborough,
it was estimated the growth of EU migration only grew by 7 percentage point and
61 percent of people voted to leave (goodwill guy). Nevertheless, areas with
high levels of EU migration were more likely to be pro-remain. This finding demonstrates
the when it came to the effect of migration the effect it had on the referendum
was due to the latest experience of sudden change rather than the overall
level.      It is also believed the
roles of attitudes and values had a heavy influence on the referendum, as the
issue of sovereignty and national identity towards immigration caused people to
vote leave. As nearly 90 percent of people thought immigration was bad for the
economy making them vote leave, compared to the 10 percent who believed
immigration was good for the economy who voted to stay. Likewise, with 88 percent
of people believed the country should have fewer immigrants as these were
people who felt “very strongly British” had a very narrow notion of national identity. (Ford,R
& Goodwin,M,2016). It is also believed these people felt disillusioned with
politics which made them vote to leave. Eric Kaufmann5  states people who supported Brexit had
socially conservative views likewise people who vote to stay had liberal views.

This suggested that there is an underlying difference in values that people
consider as in important. Indicating why people were so attracted to leave the
EU.      The relationship between deprived areas and the level of support for
Brexit. The financial times (2016), performed two economist analysation which
discussed the relationship between wage growth as a reason for the leave vote
and the past support for UKIP. They found a notable link between a lack of wage growth and votes
going to  UKIP at the 2015 general
election. Which can be seen in the struggling communities like Castle Point in
Essex the with the wage being declined to 13% since 1997. Based on these
results Sarah Neville stated that the disappointing economic forecasts launched
by the remain campaign had failed to resonate within communities that for a
generation had missed out on increases of wages that have been displaced
elsewhere in the country.  However, the work of the Resolution Foundation (2016)  claims there is no link between prosperity and
on why people voted out. As some of the areas who did vote to leave had a big
increase in hourly earnings like in Christchurch in Dorset. Unlike Rushcliffe
in Nottinghamshire who experienced a drop in earning who voted to stay.

However, it can be suggested aggravate level is from a long entrenchment of
feeling left out instead of levels of income which may explain why people voted
out.  In general, it was areas where
people tended to earn less that voted for Brexit even if these were not always
the communities that had been the most badly affected in recent years. The
implication is that ‘it’s the shape of our long-lasting
and deeply entrenched national geographical inequality that drove
differences in the voting patterns’
(Resolution Foundation,2016)