The 2018 local elections may have been one of the last chances for the people of Cambridge to make their feelings known about Brexit.
Cambridge may have been one of the most pro-remain cities in the country when the 2016 referendum was held, but was leaving the EU a central issue for city voters?
The Liberal Democrats are the only major party currently campaigning to remain in the EU. While Labour are committed to Brexit in one form or another.
Many councillors and candidates in yesterdays election (May 3) say Brexit remains a huge concern of Cambridge voters.
Lib Dem Anthony Martinelli, who took a seat from Labour in Market ward, said Brexit loomed large for voters in Cambridge and he hopes Labour and the Conservatives will change their stance on the key issue.
“Brexit is a major national issue,” he said. “People from the EU are rightly concerned. It is difficult for Cambridge city councillors to have an impact nationally though. I think, hopefully, what we will see is Labour and the Conservatives changing their position on this.”
Colin McGerty, who held a seat in Queen Ediths ward for the Lib Dems, said Brexit had come up “again and again” while he was out campaigning on the doorstep.
“I think people know the Lib Dems are right on the main issue of our generation,” said Cllr McGerty. “I think the people on the door steps were all talking about it. Definitely, they were all worried about potholes and parking, but Brexit was something that came up again and again.”
Cllr Tim Bick, Lib Dem leader on the city council, said many EU nationals in the city would not have had any other opportunities to use their votes to convey their feelings on Brexit.
Cllr Bick said Bick, “Theres a big range of reasons people will cast their vote. There have been lots of people in the last few weeks who have been strongly motivated by national issues, particularly Brexit. And, perhaps unlike other parts of the country, a lot of EU nationals are waiting to express some quite critical views of Labour.
“Of course, when you come to EU citizens in Cambridge, they cant vote in national elections, they could not vote in the referendum. The local elections in the UK are the only elections where they can express a vote of any kind. It is hardly surprising that Brexit is something they would want to express a view about.”
Henry Mitson – the Conservative candidate for Market ward, said he believed Brexit had a strong influence on voters in the city, and said it might have put some people in the city centre off voting Conservative.
Some, however, said Brexit would not have had a major impact on the outcome of the election. Labours Cllr Kevin Price, executive councillor for housing, said people voted on different issues in local and national elections.
“I dont see the Brexit argument in this local election,” said Cllr Price. “This local election is about who cleans the streets and who keeps the parks clean and looking good, who is building the houses. The Brexit argument is something completely different.”