The leader of Britain’s victorious Leave campaign has told voters that there will be “no pulling up of the drawbridge” – despite swinging many voters towards the anti-EU camp on a staunchly anti-immigration ticket.
Boris Johnson, who was strongly pro-immigration when mayor of London, gave assurances that the UK would not be isolationist in his opening victory speech this morning.
The move has been interpreted as a nod towards a Norway-style deal, which allows nations to remain outside the EU but inside the single market.
But it is likely to enrage thousands of working class voters from provincial England who backed the Leave campaign amid dismay at large-scale immigration from the trading bloc.
Robert Hutton, British politics analyst at Bloomberg, said: “Boris Johnson saying UK won’t ‘pull up the drawbridge’, starts the tricky task of telling people who voted for this that they can’t have it.”
The UK’s shock decision to quit the EU has caused historic levels of turbulence on global financial markets, and seen the pound plunge in value. Despite London voting strongly to remain in the EU, the Leave campaign won narrowly by 52% to 48% UK-wide.
Robinson Hambro’s chief executive Karina Robinson, executive headhunter in the City of London, described the result as “the worst decision this country has ever taken”.