Midlothian votes in but we’re out!

Midlothian voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU
Midlothian voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU

Midlothian voters overwhelming back the United Kingdom remaining a member state of the European Union in last week’s referendum.

The outcome in Midlothian was in line the rest of Scotland where every constituency voted in favour of staying in the EU.

Of the 66,758 eligible to vote, 45,497 cast their vote on Thursday. This represented a turnout of 68.2 per cent.

The result was annouced at the Lasswade Centre shortly after 1.30am on Friday by Returning Officer Kenneth Lawrie.

Almost two-thirds of voters (28,217, 62.06 per cent) backed the campaign to remain in the EU.

There were 17,251 votes (37.94 per cent) to leave to European Union.

It wasn’t until a few hours later that the Brexit vote was confirmed.

In the turmoil following the Leave vote, Midlothian Council Leader Catherine Johnstone (SNP) is seeking answers for Midlothian.

She has asked council chiefs to detail the impact on the county and to seek assurances from the UK Government with regards the loss of EU funding. The council fears that the loss of EU funding, which has been used to fund schools and other vital projects, will impact on the county’s economy, infrastructure and opportunities for its residents.

Councillor Johnstone said: “I will be doing everything in my power to make sure that Midlothian’s interests are protected following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. I have asked that the UK Government provide me with an absolute reassurance that Midlothian will not be worse off following the disappointing result last week.”

Political reaction

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson (SNP) said: “I am deeply disappointed at the result of the EU referendum as we now have a situation where we are facing the prospect of being dragged out of Europe despite every part of Scotland voting clearly to remain.

“I have concerns over the impact this could have on us here in Midlothian given how many of our community projects have benefitted from European funding and the uncertainty this situation must bring them.

“I also want to reassure our many European friends and neighbours living here that they are still welcome and their contribution to our communities are welcome. I also fully support the efforts of our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in seeking to take whatever steps necessary to ensure the clear will to remain in Europe expressed by our community is enacted and will continue to make the case to recognise the positive impact Europe has on our community here in Midlothian.”

Labour Group Leader Derek Milligan, who backed the Leave campaign, said: “I am disappointed with the result in Scotgland but not surprised when every main party in Scotland backed Remain.

“But this is a democratic process. We have now had two referendum - in 2014 we were asked if we wanted to be independent and remain part of Britain. We decided then to remain part of Britain and now we have voted on Europe and a slight majority voted to leave.

“It is something that will prove to be the right decision and I think will be beneficial to the whole of Great Britain. The devil is in the detail and the negotiations. We need a strong leader to go forward and negotiate the leave.”

Midlothian South MSP Christine Grahame said: “I would wish to reassure all EU citizens living and working in Midlothian that they are welcome here.”

“Midlothian voted by a margin of 62 per cent to 38 per cent to remain in the EU and every Parliamentary constituency in Scotland voted to remain.

“It cannot be right that against the will of the people in Midlothian and throughout Scotland we are dragged out of Europe.

“The time has come for those who voted “No” to Scottish Independence to rethink what is in the interests of their families and future generations of Scottish people.”

Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie added: Mr Beattie said: “First and foremost this was a democratic process and we must respect the decision of the people of the UK, however marginal this result was.

“However, this has to be framed in the context of the Scottish result, where we voted overwhelmingly by a margin of two to one to stay in the European Union.

“The will of the Scottish people must therefore not be ignored.

“Personally I regret the UK decision and am deeply concerned that Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against its choice.

“I am certain that the long-term will see Scotland prosper, but the next few years will almost certainly see unnecessary hardships foisted upon ordinary working families.”

Ross Laird, spokesman for Midlothian Lib Dems, said: “Midlothian Liberal Democrats are bitterly disappointed by the outcome of Thursday’s EU referendum result. We will be working with all necessary organisations to ensure that we continue to have a meaningful role and relationship with the EU. We would encourage anyone who shares our anger to join with us to help make the case at all levels of government.”