Brexiteer councillors go on Portsmouth pub crawl to celebrate Brexit

CITY councillors raised a glass to leaving the European Union at a pub last night.

Saturday, 1st February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 10:52 am
People celebrating Brexit day at Lord Palmerston Pub in Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The group of five Conservative councillors were joined in The Lord Palmerston by fellow Leave voters to celebrate Britain formally leaving the EU and entering an 11-month transition period at the stroke of 11pm.

It comes after the city voted 58.1 per cent vote in favour of Brexit in the 2016 referendum.

Councillor Donna Jones, who campaigned in favour of Brexit in 2016 and ran Vote Leave in Portsmouth, said she was ‘elated’ to be celebrating.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Cllr Donna Jones celebrating Brexit outside the Lord Palmerston Pub. Picture: Habibur Rahman

But she said didn’t see the occasion being marked every year for fear of ‘rubbing salt in the wound’ of those who voted to remain.

She said: ‘It is a tough day for some people but I hope rifts can begin to heal and we can look forward to some positivity moving forward.

But one party-goer nearly had his night spoiled – when he was told he couldn’t wear a Union Jack in the busy pub.

Dan Sandford, a student at the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘I was wearing the flag around my shoulders and I was told to take it off by the manger.

Dan Sandford celebrates outside the Lord Palmerston Pub. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘I left left very annoyed to say the least.

‘It’s not the British way – but its not a big problem.

‘I just wanted to enjoy my pint in peace.’

The 20-year-old was too young to vote for Brexit in 2016, but would have done for ‘the good of the county,’ even though it was against his personal interests. He is studying French and German in the hope to become a translator working abroad.

He said: ‘I put my people first – I put my country first.’

The manager of the JD Wetherspoons pub declined to comment.

The pub chain is owned by pro-Brexit businessman Tim Martin, who has cut prices on 10 drinks across the chain to celebrate leaving the EU and is a major pro-Brexit campaigner.

Meanwhile, flags were not in short supply at Wickham Court, a gated community for the over 45s in Southwick Road, in Wickham, where more than 100 people celebrated the historic day with Union Jack flags, banners, hats – and even flag-adorned suits.

The manager of the community’s social club, Jeff Holloway, said every one was welcome regardless of politics – but he was attempted to poke a little fun at Remainers.

He said: ‘I was tempted to hang up a sign saying “Remainers welcome, but they are welcome to leave if they wanted”.’

The 76-year-old wore a Union Jack suit for the occasion – ‘made in the UK,’ according to the bar manager.

He said: ‘This is a historic event – I haven’t seen an evening like this since the (Queen’s) coronation.’