Who do you blame (or praise) for Britain’s decision to leave the European Union?
1. Nigel Farage
Farage was undoubtedly a key player in taking Britain out of the EU. If it were not for UKIP’s advance after the 2010 election, culminating in their 2014 EU parliament success, David Cameron would not have promised a vote on Britain’s future inside the European Union.
Farage may not have been the man to deliver Brexit, but he certainly facilitated it.
2. David Cameron
Cameron’s move to call an in/out EU referendum was a massive strategic error. He calculated that he could stop the haemorrhage of support going to UKIP, and kill off the issue of the EU for a generation in one quick referendum. His renegotiation with the EU failed to cut through to the British public, and the people ultimately rejected Cameron’s vision for the UK inside the union.
3. Boris Johnson
Had Johnson not joined the Leave Campaign, its biggest political beasts would have been Nigel Farage and Michael Gove. Boris is a strange political character, who can get away with things other politicians wouldn’t dare try. His repetition of “take back control” – almost as annoying as “strong and stable” appealed to voters on the fence. We can’t say for sure whether Boris pushed the leave-side across the finish line, but there is a strong argument that it played a significant role.
4. Tony Blair
Immigration was not the only reason people voted to leave the EU, but there is no denying that it played its part. When the EU expanded under New Labour, Blair had the opportunity to delay freedom of movement into the UK from the new eastern European countries in order to adjust the economy to suit the needs to new migrants, as reported by Business Insider UK. Blair did not do this, something which allowed for a lot more EU free movers than expected.
5. Jeremy Corbyn
Corbyn has never been a strong Europhile. He backed Britain remaining in the European Union during the campaign, but many Labour MPs and the media criticised him for not being passionate enough about the EU. On one hand, he was arguably more in tune with the British public than many by not being the most enthusiastic about the union, but on the other, a stronger campaign from him and his team could have given the remain campaign a better chance of winning.
6. Dominic Cummings
The campaign director of Vote Leave was the man who came up with the £350m to fund the NHS slogan, as well as the “take control” mantra, according to the Independent, was ultimately a key player in edging the country towards voting leave.