UK votes to leave the EU: Rector and students react

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The Telegraph

The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 52 to 48 per cent, in spite of a strong vote to remain in both Fife and the rest of Scotland.

David Cameron has announced his resignation as Prime Minister in response to the result.

Fife backed the Remain campaign with 58.6 per cent of the vote, compared to 41.4 per cent for the Leave campaign.

Turnout was high, at 66.78 per cent, with 182,307 ballots cast across the region.

Scotland as a whole voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62 per cent to 38 per cent – with all 32 council areas backing Remain.

University of St Andrews Rector and Labour party Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, Catherine Stihler, speaking to The Saint, said, “This is not the result that I wanted. It is such a sad day for the UK.

“I want to thank all the students and staff who went out and campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU. They all worked so hard and I would like their efforts to be recognised.

“We don’t know what will happen moving forward but for the higher education sector in the UK this is a deeply unsettling time.”

James Bundy, a St Andrews student who campaigned for a Leave vote, also spoke to The Saint, “University of St Andrews students who voted Leave are going to wake up with a smile on their face this morning.

“The British people have voted to restore British sovereignty and democracy in our country as well as embracing a future of globalisation.

“The negotiations that will soon commence are going to be vital to what the future of the United Kingdom will look like.

“As we have the fifth largest economy in the world, are the fourth largest military power and have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, we believe that Britain is in a very strong position to get a very good deal.

“We ask that everyone, regardless of how you voted, to get behind our government to ensure that the negotiations are the best our great country can achieve.”

Mariam Mahmood, a St Andrews student who campaigned for a Remain vote, also spoke to The Saint, saying, “We are, of course, disappointed by the outcome of the EU referendum. However, we accept the outcome that was voted for. We hugely enjoyed the campaign. Our activists fought tirelessly and we are grateful for the work they put in.”

The University has been contacted for comment.

Speculation has already began about the prospect of a second independence referendum in Scotland, with former First Minister Alex Salmond saying that Nicola Sturgeon now has the right to call another vote on separation.

In a statement, Nicola Sturgeon said, “Scotland has delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain in the EU, and I welcome that endorsement of our European status.

“And while the overall result remains to be declared, the vote here makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union.

“Scotland has contributed significantly to the Remain vote across the UK.

“That reflects the positive campaign the SNP fought, which highlighted the gains and benefits of our EU membership, and people across Scotland have responded to that positive message. We await the final UK-wide result, but Scotland has spoken – and spoken decisively.”

North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins tweeted, “Every local authority area voted #Remain in Scotland. That is quite an achievement. Credit to positive #SNPin @theSNP campaigning.”

Scottish Green Party Co-Convenor Patrick Harvie said, “Scotland must keep open every option for protecting ourselves from this threat.”

The Scottish Greens have launched a petition to “examine and exhaust every option for continuing Scotland’s close ties with Europe.”

Sinn Fein have also called for a referendum on Irish reunification.

One unlikely commentator  was actress Lindsay Lohan, who tweeted continuous messages of support for the Remain side throughout the night, including “thank you #Fife” as the region announced its results.

 

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