More than one in six young people in London want the city to break away from the rest of Britain and become its own independent country, a new poll has revealed.
London was just one of three regions in the United Kingdom that voted against a so-called “Brexit” in last month’s nationwide referendum, with 60 percent of Londoners casting a ballot in favor of remaining within the European Union.
But a decisive majority of British voters ultimately disagreed with London. The campaign to ax ties with Brussels won the contest by a three percent margin.
According to a new survey released Monday by YouGov, an increasing number of Londoners are now so upset over the referendum result that they believe the U.K.’s capital should go to extreme lengths in order to maintain its E.U. membership.
More than one in six Londoners under the age of 24 told pollsters that the city should declare independence from the rest of Britain and remain with Europe. Support for independence was even higher among those who voted to remain with Brussels, with 42 percent claiming the city of London should break away from Britain.
Across all of the 1,061 individuals surveyed last week, eleven percent agreed that it was time for London to become its own sovereign state.
That means support for London’s independence has more than doubled since the question was last posed to city residents in the wake of Scotland’s failed independence bid in 2014. Then, around five percent of Londoners supported independence.
Yet according to YouGov’s Tanya Abraham, support for outright political sovereignty in London could begin to increase far more dramatically if the post-Brexit impact on London worsens.
“If people start losing their jobs and London’s economy is severely dented then support for a split could grow,” she told The Evening Standard. “If it’s ‘business as usual’ then independence will go back on the shelf.”
Thus far, the economic fallout associated with a looming Brexit have been severe. Sterling has tumbled against global currencies, banking shares have plummeted, and nearly $2 trillion worth of value was erased off of global markets virtually overnight.
Small business owners are particularly concerned about the potential economic ramifications of June’s referendum.
“A huge number of small businesses in London rely on a strong British currency to ensure cheap imports,” said James Howell, financial controller at London-based company formation group Rapid Formations. “Big companies will be able to adjust, but smaller start-ups will definitely feel a pinch. That could be one reason so many Londoners are toying with the idea of independence.”
In addition to the city’s feelings on independence, YouGov’s poll also quizzed Londoners on their shifting, post-Brexit political affiliations.
The reputation of former London mayor Boris Johnson has slid dramatically since the vote, with 29 percent of those surveyed saying they now viewed him less favorably. Notably, 37 percent of voters aligned with Johnson’s own Conservative Party told pollsters they had come to dislike Johnson because of the way he carried himself while campaigning to leave the European Union.
Likewise, 16 percent of Conservatives living in London reported they were considering changing the way they vote in the future following the referendum result. A further 13 percent of Labour Party supporters and 12 percent of Liberal Democrats made similar comments.
Almost half of Londoners went on to say they thought the Vote Leave campaign’s flagship pledge to spend an extra £350 million per week on Britain’s National Health Service after leaving the E.U. would never happen.
Just a few short hours after Britain voted to leave the E.U., lifetime Brexit advocate and UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, admitted he could not guarantee the promise would ever be fulfilled. He even went so far as to tell the hosts of ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he thought it was a “mistake” to have made such a promise in the first place.
[Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]