Brexit latest: Leave vote ‘was NOT driven by white working classes’

The vote to leave the EU was not driven by Britain’s white working classes, according to a report.

They study said the suggestion that a Leave vote was achieved because of this particular group was untrue.

Instead, the label ‘white working class’ was used by certain public figures to distract policy-makers from helping the poor and disadvantaged.

The report, by race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust and left-leaning think tank Class, said white people and ethnic minorities were pitted against either other during the EU referendum.

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The think tanks urged the government to to help all deprived communities by bringing into effect the ‘socio-economic duty’ requiring public authorities to tackle poverty which was included in the 2010 Equality Act, but has not yet been implemented.

More Leave voters came from the middle classes than the working classes (Picture: Rex)
More Leave voters came from the middle classes than the working classes (Picture: Rex)

The report said that although white voters were likelier to back Leave in the 2016 referendum if they were poor and Remain if they were rich, some 59% of the middle-classes voted to quit the EU compared with 24% of the working class.

It said that 70 of the 107 most racially diverse parliamentary constituencies voted Remain, while 99 out of the 107 least racially diverse voted Leave.

Ethnic minority voters backed Remain by a significant margin regardless of income.

The report said poor white people have more in common with ethnic minority communities than they do with the white middle classes, who are ‘culturally further apart’.

Runnymede Trust director Omar Khan said: ‘The white working class have more in common with poor ethnic minority communities than they do with the white middle and upper classes.

‘Poor white and BME (black and minority ethnic) people are bound by shared experiences of social deprivation, but there is also more social interaction between them than between the richest and poorest thirds of white people.

‘The label “white working class” isn’t helping the white working class because it is all talk and no action.

‘Rather than offer a desperate and empty form of ethno-nationalism, the best way to raise up this section of society is for central and local government to adopt policies to benefit all working class communities.’

Class director Faiza Shaheen said: ‘Mainstream Brexit analysis tells us that it was the white working class alone that drove the Brexit vote, concluding that this group’s needs are distinct and that they should take precedence over the needs of other groups.

‘Apart from being untrue, with 59% of the middle class voting for Brexit versus 24% of the working class, this analysis and its conclusions are turning the clock back on progress in our multi-racial community.’