Dr. Gudgin, left, and Dr. Tombs, right, are aiming to debunk stereotypes about Leave votersYouTube/Economic Research Council/Cambridge University

Disillusioned by the “one-sided propaganda” of their pro-remain academic circles, two Cambridge fellows have created a website outlining the argument for leaving the European Union.

Economist Dr. Graham Gudgin and emeritus professor of French history Professor Robert Tombs created briefingsforbrexit.com and are now the publication’s editors. By providing “factual evidence and reasoned arguments” on Brexit, they hope to debunk stereotypes of the typical ‘Leave’ voter.

The target audience of the website is “wide”, according to Dr. Gudgin, as it includes policy makers and pro-remain supporters as well as “pro-Brexit voters who have been maligned and discomforted” by Remainer discourse.

The group totals 37 members from backgrounds primarily in academia, though it includes several lawyers, businesspeople, and civil servants. Along with Gudgin and Tombs, five other Cambridge academics have joined Briefings for Brexit.

Members hail from both sides of the political aisle, including some who voted remain in 2016. The group’s mission statement affirms their “conviction that Brexit is about reasserting popular control over decision-making in the United Kingdom”.

The website will publish articles, blog pieces, and ‘briefings’ aimed at tackling Brexit assumptions, with headlines such as: ‘Financial services will thrive in the post-Brexit era’ and ‘How Brexit can help us tackle disadvantage’.

Gudgin and Tombs, both of whom come from working-class backgrounds, described their shared dismay at the Remain camp’s characterisation of Leave voters. They said there is a commonplace association between “support for Brexit with low levels of education and intellect”, which they believe to be not only divisive, but also a potential threat to “democratic legitimacy”.

Gudgin and Tombs also outlined a cultural stigma within academia wherein some younger pro-leave academics are reluctant to publicly join or support the group, fearing that being marked as pro-Brexit would leave them at a disadvantage in securing a career.

Although the website has no anonymous contributors at present, Gudgin told Varsity that he is open to “the possibility of anonymity for those younger and often female supporters who feel that their careers may [be] jeopardised by being open on their support for Brexit”, adding that this may include both “academics and students in Cambridge”.


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The campaign is particularly concerned with media coverage of Brexit; Gudgin argues that the views of pro-Brexit academics are “often ignored by the media”, and therefore hopes that the website will act as a voice for the views of intelligent leavers. The first line of group’s mission statement also states: “There is a prevailing media view that all sensible and informed people oppose Brexit.” The website has a ‘Media Watch’ section, where writers will examine commentary on Brexit in The Guardian, The Times, and The Economist.

The group’s website went live yesterday night and received a “heartening” response, according to Gudgin.

Cambridge is considered to be Remain voter heartland, with Market Ward, in the city’s centre, seeing the highest proportion of voters supporting staying in the European Union. In a Varsity poll during the build-up to the vote, 85% of respondents said they would be voting Remain.

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