An Ulster Unionist party officer who voted for Brexit despite the party’s Remain stance has said that Friday was one of the happiest days of his life.
Alex Redpath, a councillor in Lisburn who is also chairman of the UUP youth wing, the Young Unionists, called on all sides to now respect the outcome of the referendum and said he was disappointed at attempts to “cherry pick regional results in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of this decision”.
The solicitor told the News Letter: “Friday the 24th of June was one of the happiest days of my life. At 4am the BBC called the result for Leave and I knew that the United Kingdom had voted to reassert its independence.
“We chose to take control of our policies on trade, agriculture, criminal justice, immigration, fisheries, monetary policy and citizenship. Soon these powers will be returned to our locally elected representatives in Westminster and Stormont.”
Highlighting the number of non-EU countries which have already said that they want to begin trade talks with the EU, Mr Redpath said that the decision meant that “soon we will be free to trade as we please with the rest of the world”, giving the UK “enormous new opportunities which we could never have had whilst a member of the EU”.
He added: “However, I am keenly aware that many Remain supporters feel anxious about the future. Whilst the markets have stabilised and the stock markets have quickly regained lost ground, it is vital that we act on the concerns of this who voted Remain.
“Our new Prime Minister and his cabinet must soon turn their mind to negotiating our future relationship with our partners in Europe.
“All steps must be taken to ensure we have a positive mutually beneficial relationship with our neighbours.”