Protestors gather outside N10 Downing Street on the day British Prime Minister David Cameron announcing his resignation after losing the vote in the EU Referendum outside N10 Downing Street in London, Britain, 24 June 2016. Approximately 52 percent voted for Leave in the so-called Brexit referendum.
Protestors gather outside N10 Downing Street on the day British Prime Minister David Cameron announcing his resignation after losing the vote in the EU Referendum outside N10 Downing Street in London, Britain, 24 June 2016. Approximately 52 percent voted for Leave in the so-called Brexit referendum. EPA - FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

What does this British expat think of Brexit?

WHEN he got a text message from his father saying 'we're out of the Euro', British-born James Tomney's first thought was football.

But his dad wasn't talking about the European Football Championship, where England are yet to play Iceland ahead of the quarter-finals.

Instead, he was sharing the news that shocked the world; Britain had voted in favour of exiting the European Union.

The historic move was decided in a referendum, where 52% voted in favour of leaving and 48% voted to stay in the EU.

READ: How Brexit unfolded

Living in Australia, James said he hadn't followed the referendum debate closely and hadn't made his mind up about the outcome.

But had he been voting, the Rockhampton accountant said he would likely have been swayed by the Remain campaign.

"I think I would have erred on the side of no, to remain," he said.

Analysing the debate post-Brexit, James said there seemed to be a large focus on emotive issues like immigration and funding of the National Health Service (NHS) from the Leave camp.

Before moving to Australia in 2008, both James' parents worked for the NHS.

It was looming budget cuts and the possibility of job losses in the health sector which prompted their move from the UK.

Rockhampton accountant and British expat James Tomney shares his thoughts on the UK's decision to leave the European Union. Photo Michelle Gately / Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton accountant and British expat James Tomney shares his thoughts on the UK's decision to leave the European Union. Photo Michelle Gately / Morning Bulletin Michelle Gately

James said many voters may have been swayed to vote Leave when the campaign pledged to spend £350 million on the NHS after Brexit.

However, some Leave campaign politicians have, since polls closed, said that funding was never guaranteed.

When it came to this, and the debate around immigration, James said he could see plenty of similarities between the referendum campaign and Australian politics.

He said much of the debate seemed based on fear and "taking back control" of the UK.

"For all these people who wanted total control of their country, it just feels like it's the wrong way to go about getting it," James said.

Although he doesn't believe the EU will break up, James expects there to be a lot of instability in European politics as negotiations for Britain to exit take place.

In Scotland, 62% of voters were in favour of remaining, leading to calls for a second independence referendum for the country once the Leave campaign was declared victorious.

James said he thought there would "definitely" be another Scottish referendum.

But regardless of the UK's future political landscape, James has his sights set firmly on staying in Australia.

James found his last visit to England in 2013 disenchanting, with many small businesses closing and a "really weird ambiance around everything".

"Even before all this EU stuff, I had decided Australia was the place to be," he said.

"But I will always be British."



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