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Medway reaction to EU referendum results

additional reporting by Louisa Britton

With almost 40,000 more votes, the Leave campaign was announced as the victor in Medway this morning.

The turnout in the Towns was 71.47% and 138,973 votes cast in the EU Referendum.

Alan Jarrett, leader of Medway Council said he was very pleased and absolutely delighted with the result.

The count at Medway Park
The count at Medway Park

He said: "The country's woken up and seen sense at last and I'm very very pleased. It is beyond my expectations. I didn't expect the leave campaign to win.

"I expressed my views from day one and I'm pleased that the leader of the council is in tune with the majority of people in Medway.

"This is a national issue which will have local impact of course but we carry on with our day job of running the council successfully and just have to see how everything effects us and see what's handed down to us as usual."

Cllr Alan Jarrett, leader of Medway Council
Cllr Alan Jarrett, leader of Medway Council

The result was announced following the count at Medway Park just after 5am.

Medway's new mayor, Cllr Stuart Tranter said: "The country has decided to embark on what will be one of the most important decisions in our lifetime, supported by a clear majority of voters in Medway. But of course we must be mindful of those who took a different view.

"So now is the time to do what we do best; to look to the future, to believe in our country and work together towards prosperity and fairness. Here in Medway, councillors, like everyone else, have had mixed views and shared them with passion. But all conversations I have witnessed have been good natured and respectful. That gives me great optimism.

Watch: People in Rochester and Ashford react to the result

"Whichever way you voted, or if you did not vote, look for the positives. Let us build on what is good. As mayor, I shall encourage and expect all our elected members to continue to work together towards a brighter future for all the people in Medway. And with your help, we will achieve exactly that."

Rehman Chishti, MP for Gillingham and Rainham said he welcomed the result "as someone who voted to leave the EU, having spoken to constituents across my constituency of whom a clear majority wanted to leave and wanted the UK to determine it's own destiny and future".

He called it "a historic decision for our country" but said it was too early to speculate what will happen next.

Medway's MPs, Rehman Chishti, Kelly Tolhurst, and Tracey Crouch at the general election count
Medway's MPs, Rehman Chishti, Kelly Tolhurst, and Tracey Crouch at the general election count

He added: "The prime minister has done a brilliant six years in office, led our party to victory. His contribution to the Tory Party and the country has been immense. The Conservative Party has a brilliant, wide range of talent and we have to wait and see who comes forward."

Chatham MP Tracey Crouch, who did not reveal which side she was supporting, said: "The results across Kent and Medway were very clearly in favour of leaving the EU and now it is time for us MPs to work through the next steps and deliver what is in the best interests of our communities and country”.

Kelly Tolhurst, MP for Rochester and Strood, tweeted this morning: "Historic referendum with a majority of British people voting to leave the EU - we now need to get on and deliver" and

Her predecessor, Ukip's Mark Reckless, who is now a member of the Welsh Assembly, was at the count for a short while but had left before midnight.

He said: "I'm absolutely delighted having campaigned for this moment all my adult life. I'm proud of how Medway has voted and hope that I have done my bit to assist."

He said he would be continuing his job with the Welsh Assembly and working to negotiate what powers would be returned to the country from the EU.

He did not give a definitive answer when asked if he would be standing again in Medway, but said he was "really touched and moved" while visiting polling stations yesterday in Cliffe Woods and Strood.

Ukip Medway group leader, Cllr Roy Freshwater, said: “This is a win for all the people of Medway and all the people of Britain. This is a chance for us to start ruling ourselves.

“We knew in the end that we had a lot of support in Medway, we knew we had a lot of support in the country.

“We thought it would go our way , I have been fighting for UKIP for over 20 years .”

Asha Saroy, Conservative ward councillor for Watling, said: "As a young voter who supported the Remain campaign, I do feel an element of sadness today, particularly in seeing the turbulence in our markets and the political uncertainty that is unraveling.

"However, this was part of the democratic process and we have to respect the decision made in this historic referendum. I just hope that we can move on in a more positive fashion and continue building our international relations to help grow our economy and create more employment. Locally, I hope that the turnout, engagement and interest in politics that we witnessed yesterday in Medway continues for future key decisions."

Speaking before the results were announced, Kelly Tolhurst, who is also ward councillor for Rochester West, said: "I made my decision about how I was going to vote personally but it is really down to other people making decisions on a host of difference reasons.

"I'm just excited to see what we are doing next week."

Following this morning announcement, Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will resign and by the Conservative Party conference in October.

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his resignation
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his resignation

Council leader, Mr Jarrett added: "I think it was the right thing to do, a good thing to do. He took us into this process and tried to lead the British people by the nose to the negotiating table and came back with nothing.

"I'm afraid he's the architect of his own downfall. I don't have any sympathy for him at all. We'll go on and elect a new prime minister, a new leader, and the country will move forward."

In an email to students and staff, Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent said: "I am naturally disappointed at the result of the EU referendum. It reflects neither my personal views nor those of the University. I recognise, nonetheless, the democratic process that has led to this outcome.

"The university is proud to be outward facing and international. We are especially proud of our diverse student body and our European and international staff. We recognise that we benefit greatly from this diversity."

"I want to reassure all staff and students that we are committed to supporting them through the uncertain period as the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union."

The university will be setting up a working group to look into the impact the decision will have and Ms Goodfellow said non-UK European students and staff with particular concerns should contact the university.

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