Islington in Europe chair Nick Turton: ‘My anti-Brexit hobby/obsession’

Nick Turton, chair of Islington in Europe, on an anti-Brexit campaign in Nag's Head, Holloway, on Sa

Nick Turton, chair of Islington in Europe, on an anti-Brexit campaign in Nag's Head, Holloway, on Saturday. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Two years on from the EU referendum, Nick Turton and his Islington in Europe cronies just won’t give up and accept Brexit. After their latest campaign outside Angel station and Nag’s Head over the weekend. Nick tells the Gazette what drives them.

Is it too late to stop Brexit? Should Remainers shut up, stop moaning and just deal with it?

For Nick Turton, chair of the Islington in Europe campaign group, the answer is a resounding “no”.

On Saturday, Islington in Europe launched its latest campaign, coordinated with 130 other Remainer groups across the country, demanding another vote on the terms of the deal.

You might have seen its campaigners outside Angel station or Nag’s Head shopping centre in Holloway. But what, if any, impact can a local campaign group have?

“There are some people who say we’re preaching to the converted,” he says. “But the main challenge here is convincing people that Brexit’s not a done deal.”

A communications officer by trade, Nick joined Islington in Europe when it formed two years ago. Then, it was campaigning for people to vote Remain (75 per cent of Islington voters did this). Now, it’s trying to deny the wishes of the 25pc who voted Leave.

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For Nick, it’s become somewhere between a “hobby” and an “obsession”.

He continues: “Democracy didn’t stop on June 23, 2016. Many people didn’t know what the consequences would be, and now it’s becoming more obvious. We need to retest this mandate.”

Nick was born in the same month that the UK first joined the European Economic Community. At university, he studied European politics and speaks French and German conversationally. In May last year, he also married a German national.

The 45-year-old, who has lived in Finsbury’s Spa Green Estate for the past three years, continued: “I’m totally British – I grew up in York and have lived in London for 25 years. But I’m also European. I don’t get why identity has to be binary.”

Islington in Europe is maintaining a network of volunteers – it claims to have 1,500 – at the ready if another referendum should be called.

On a practical level, it also looks to support the 30,000 EU nationals living in Islington, for example by running free legal advice services.

Nick is optimistic as more backbench MPs speak out against the direction of Brexit. He thinks the argument for a new referendum is gaining ground rapidly. And even if not, he still won’t give up.

He adds: “Brexit will be terrible for this country. If it goes through as planned, I’m confident we’ll be discussing rejoining in 5 years. If so, I’ll be happy to be involved.”