In this chapter, we explore the effects of Brexit on people's attitudes towards the way Britain is governed. London is a major contributor to the UK's economy and fiscal performance, and is also the seat of government where many decisions related to Brexit are taken. It was the only region in England that voted to “remain” in the referendum. The mayor and businesses in London have been advocating for special migration and trade rules for the capital and its industries, as there are threats to the dominance of the City of London.
This panel will examine how London is different and how Brexit could affect the city's future. Data from recent studies has revealed that there has been little change in the general explanatory power of political values, but notable changes in the relative contribution of the economic and cultural dimensions. For the first time in modern history, economic competition between left and right between Labour and Conservatives was accompanied by a proportional emphasis on a second cultural or social dimension of politics. The tendency to vote for the majority parties, in line with attitudes towards Europe and immigration, was also the product of changes in voter competence assessments that occurred after the Brexit vote. However, for many of the voters, the most important factor at play in the elections was Brexit, as noted by Prosser (201). In the early days of Britain's membership in the EEC, partisan divisions in Europe fit relatively clearly into the traditional left-right economic axis of political competition.
After the realignments of the 1990s, European integration had become a cross-cutting political divide with the potential to cause a loss of votes both for divided conservatives (Evans 199) and for a Labor Party that was moving away from the values of its fundamental labor base (Evans 2002; Evans 1999a). Tony Travers, director of LSE London, a research center at the London School of Economics and Political Science, further confirms this result largely depended on the political response to the Brexit vote and subsequent changes in party image. But no one wants to light the fuse on this highly contentious political issue for fear that it will explode in their faces. The impact of Brexit on politics in London has been profound. The referendum result has caused a shift in public opinion towards more Eurosceptic views. This has been reflected in changes to voting patterns across England, with London being one of only two regions to vote “remain”.
As a result, there have been calls from businesses and politicians alike for special migration and trade rules for London and its industries. This is due to fears that Brexit could lead to a decline in London's dominance as a financial hub. The effects of Brexit have also been felt on a personal level. Many people have had to reassess their political values due to changes in voter competence assessments after the referendum result. This has led to an increased emphasis on cultural or social dimensions when it comes to voting decisions.
This is further evidenced by Tony Travers' research which found that much of this shift was due to changes in party image following Brexit. Ultimately, it is clear that Brexit has had a significant impact on politics in London. The referendum result has caused a shift towards more Eurosceptic views which has been reflected in changes to voting patterns across England. Businesses and politicians have called for special migration and trade rules for London due to fears that Brexit could lead to a decline in its dominance as a financial hub. On a personal level, many people have had to reassess their political values due to changes in voter competence assessments after Brexit.