Why did Sheffield choose Brexit?

Posted on October 21st, 2016 by Amy Fedeski

In an article published on Thursday, Crick Centre director Matt Flinders considers why Sheffield voted to leave the EU in June’s referendum. Arguing that there is no simple answer to the question, Professor Flinders puts forward the idea that the result was due to several factors. He highlights the effect of disillusionment with politics, the weakness of the remain campaign, and an energetic leave campaign.

Professor Flinders states that the key to Sheffield voters’ decision to choose Leave was the increasing division of the city. The article reveals that the EU referendum was ‘a lightning rod for social frustrations and a growing sense that the political establishment no longer care about the poor and disadvantaged’.


The problem, Professor Flinders argues, is that by leaving the EU Sheffield will have much to lose. The city will no longer have access to the significant benefits which have been brought to the city by European funding schemes, not to mention the academic and cultural opportunities offered by its two universities, whose thousands of students and staff hail from all over the world.

He concludes by highlighting that ‘Sheffield’s global reputation as a friendly and welcoming city has taken a hit while other university cities can trumpet their ‘remain’ credentials’