On Tuesday, Jan. 29, British MPs will get to vote for the second time on Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement.
Their first vote on Jan. 15 rejected May’s deal by a British parliamentary record margin of 432 to 202 votes.
May’s so-called “Plan B” may end up containing amendments to delay the U.K.’s departure from the EU, or to rule out leaving the EU without an agreement.
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“(The politicians will) do exactly what they want to do, whatever we say anyway,” said Steve Cahill, a Boston resident, who describes himself as being “on the fence” when it comes to Brexit.
“This whole thing’s a farce in the sense that it was voted for that we should leave, but there’s every kind of argument coming back in, and talk of a second referendum.”
In 2016, 75.6 per cent of the people of Boston voted to leave the EU, compared to the national vote of 51.9 per cent in favour of Brexit.
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The market town is in the heart of fertile farmland about 200 km north of London.
Thousands of EU citizens have moved to the area to work on farms since the EU’s major 10-country expansion in 2004.
Many stores in Boston now specialize in Eastern European foods, and offer multilingual services for newcomers.
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Brexit-supporting town councillor, and cafe owner, Anton Dani says the population has grown too fast, and social services just can’t keep up.
“We can not allow people (to come in) without controlling the numbers, because the first thing that will suffer is the infrastructure,” says the Moroccan-born Frenchman, who became a British citizen more than a decade ago.
“The government hasn’t given us any systems or any help how to integrate people coming in.”
Dani says it now takes six weeks to get a doctor’s appointment, whereas it used to take a few days.
He moved into local politics before the 2016 referendum after a chance encounter with Nigel Farage, the man seen by many as the architect of Brexit.
When Dani was in the audience of a TV panel show, he asked Farage — the then-leader of the Brexit-supporting U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) — about immigrant integration. Farage met with Dani afterwards and recruited him to UKIP.
“People used to pass by in their cars and they used to wave at me and say, ‘Well done! You say what nobody has said before. It’s integration,’” says Dani.
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After the Brexit vote in 2016, Dani moved across to Theresa May’s Conservative Party, but now has doubts that the Brexit people voted for will ever happen.
“Theresa May, when she took over, she didn’t go for Brexit. She became an ambassador for Brussels in London actually,” says Dani.
“I do believe that Europe, if they get away from their childish(ness), we’re going to still buy from them red wine, white wine and cheese and ‘fromage’, and ‘les oranges,’” he says in a thick French brogue.
Outside on the streets of Boston, residents like Alison are also impatient.
“I’m hoping that they’ll vote for out, but I really don’t know what’s happening at the moment,” she says.
“It should go through now. There shouldn’t be another vote, should there? We are out, and out means out.”