LONDON, United Kingdom - Working class voters in the traditional Labour heartlands of Northern England have flocked to the referendum polling stations today, according to grassroots leave campaigners. Activists believe these traditionalists are likely to back Brexit in areas Remain had expected to win easily.
A pro-Brexit councillor in the town of Wigan in Greater Manchester told TownHall he was “stunned” by the turnout. He claimed it was “no longer a case of if we will win Wigan but by how much”. The town is solidly Labour supporting has not elected a member of parliament from any other party in over 100 years.
The councillor also said: “If we have won Wigan, then we’re guaranteed to take similar communities in places like Stoke-on-Trent and Doncaster,” These Northern towns return Labour Members of Parliament by large margins but are widely believed to be disillusioned by the way European Union migration has held down wages.
In the town of Blackburn campaigners claimed to have been left shocked by the level of voting in poorer communities. They admit some of this is likely to be people loyal to Labour, but most campaigners believe a high turnout from the working class is good news for Leave.
The Conservative Pollster, Lord Hayward, said he expected places like Doncaster and Stoke to be “easily” won by Leave. Hayward was the only pollster to correctly predicted the Conservative win in 1992, and has already gone on record to say Leave were ahead in this demographic.
The peer is a supporter of Remain but believes the Leave campaign were ahead among Labour voters. He told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that Remain would win wealthy areas in the home counties by a small margin but this was likely to be wiped out by overwhelming victories in Labour areas of Northern England.
He claimed Remain had failed to connect with either women of working class voters. Hayward said: "There is no message being received by large members of the community, whether that be the Labour voters or the female voters.”
In one solidly working class polling district of Leigh, Greater Manchester 56 percent of voters had cast their ballot by 2pm, raising the possibly of a record turnout. Record turnouts were also being recorded from social housing districts in Leicestershire in the East Midlands.
The Leave camp were reluctant to make any claims about the outcome of the vote before counting begins but a spokeswoman did say support form Labour voters was a vindication of its strategy. She said: “This has been a cross-party campaign with a Labour Chair, Gisela Stuart MP, and we are pleased at all the reports of Labour support across the country.”
Leave had been ahead in the polls by as much as 10 percent until the murder of Jo Cox MP which was widely, but wrongly, blamed on Brexit supporters. Ahead of the polls opening at 7am this morning the pollster Peter Kellner claimed Remain would win by as much as 8.5 percent.