FOLLOWING the 2016 referendum that saw the UK’s population vote in favour of Britain’s departure from the European Union, the time has now come for Brexit to formally take place, with the UK officially ceasing to be a EU member state today at 11pm.

The once-in-a-generation political move will likely start to show its effects after the 11-month transition period starting today at 11pm, but the theme of Britain’s exit from the EU remains a highly divisive one.

Chiara Tomasoni spoke to people on the streets of Brighton...

The Argus:

Jad Youssef, a 23-year-old French lifeguard living in Kemp Town, was especially saddened by Brexit.

He said: “I think it’s sad, obviously, that England is leaving the European Union.

I spoke to a lot of English people that would have wanted to vote again”.

I don’t know if it will affect me, perhaps in the future we will need to have a visa to travel from France.”

When asked about what groups of people he thought to be more likely to be impacted by the divisive political move, Jad stated: “I think students might be affected by it, especially international students who will have to pay more.”

The Argus:

East Londoners Julio Juan, 26, of Spanish origin, and Benoit Francou, who has a French background, 30.

They were celebrating Julio’s birthday by visiting Brighton, the city where the two friends had first met.

Benoit, a worker in the hospitality industry, said: “I think London, and the UK as a whole, will be losing a lot of tourism. I work in hospitality and I know that in London, most staff members are from France and Italy, and I already have spoken to so many people who want to go back to their countries.

"I know people who have lived in London for 20 or 30 years and, with the Brexit situation, they want to go back to their homeland.”

He added: “The situation is really, really bad. Last year, this French school I know in London was full up, with no spaces left available.

"Now it’s empty and people are going to different countries instead. I feel bad to be in a country that wants to disassociate itself from Europe, because I’m European. I feel rejected, unwanted.”

Spanish fashion photographer and stylist Juan said: “I have a master’s degree in fashion and communication, and now I’ve come to the UK and I get paid £7.50 per hour and I feel like I can’t grow in this country.

"I don’t know if I should go back to my country or go to Canada, it’s just really sad and scary”. “I thought the UK was more open-minded, but it’s not”.

The Argus:

Brightonians Trevor and Theresa Scoble, a married couple, were among those who are relieved that Brexit is finally taking place.

“I think it’s essential that it happens”, stated Mr. Scoble.

The couple are content about the implementation of the newly passed Brexit bill. He said: “Brexit is right, because it protects our fishermen, our farmers and everybody”.

“We’re not going to be governed by bureaucrats in Belgium that know nothing about livestock.

"It’s very important that we regain control of our lives”. He is pleased by the imminent British exit from the European Union.

On any potential effects that Brexit may have on the couple directly, Mr. Scoble added: “We’re in our 70s and 80s, so the impact on us is going to be very little, but it will help our grandchildren and give them a better opportunity”.

The Argus:

Ellie Mayer Robinson, a 20-year-old student living in Lewes Road, Brighton, shared her opinions regarding the way that information on Brexit was made available to the youth.

She said: “Personally, I feel quite negative about the whole situation.

"Especially for me and my generation, I feel like we are not taught enough about politics, although information is circulated everywhere in the media.”

Commenting on how Brexit will affect people her age, Ellie explained how many of her international friends are in a situation of not knowing what their future in the UK will look like.

Ellie added: “I don’t think that the results of the General Election mirrored the Brightonians’ opinion at all”.

The Argus:

“There’s a lot of nerves surrounding this topic”, said 19-year-old Jake Tettersell, a Ladbrokes employee from Tilbury Place, Brighton.

He is nervous about this political move that “has shaken up everything”.

Although he believed change to be generally positive, he also noticeably felt a degree of uncertainty and negativity on what the future of a non-EU-member Britain may hold.

He said: “It’s all up in the air, but it’s nice to have a change for once, although personally, I think it’s going to be a negative change, because if it was my choice I would have remained in the EU.”

Referring to his part-Irish nationality, he stated: “I think it’s going to affect me as I will now have to get my Irish passport sorted too.”

The Argus:

Maureen Bleeker Paal, a Kemp Town resident of Dutch origin, 49, who does workshops to empower women, said: “I’ve noticed that, after the election, a lot of people were very disappointed and gobsmacked”.

Referring to the reaction that her friends had to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, she stated: “They were asking how that would be possible, as they didn’t know anyone that voted for Brexit.

"I think here in Brighton, because it’s so diverse and full of people from different countries, many people are against Brexit”.

On her future as a non-UK citizen living in Britain, she added: “I’m going to apply for a visa and just wait and see what happens. I don’t think anything is going to change drastically as I am Dutch and therefore am European. If you’re not from a European country, I think the situation could be different”.

“For me, I just hope that the queues at borders and airports don’t get out of control”.

The Argus:

Accompanied by a feeling of slight resignation, retired 85-year-old John Benson, from Bread Street, Brighton, said he was not a Brexiteer.

He said: “I didn’t want it myself in the first place, but now it’s here and I will just have to put up with it.”

He added: “I don’t know if it will affect me in any way, that’s a very hard question to answer at the moment”.

“There is not much clarity on the issue of Brexit.

“We’ll just have to see what happens”.

The Argus:

Katie Smith, 42, from Preston Road, Brighton, was on her last day working for American Express. She shared her discontent, as well as a fear of the unpredictability that she associates with Brexit.

She said: “I voted remain, so generally I am disappointed that it has come to this. I don’t think it was necessary.”

Believing Brexit to be a hazardous move, she stated: “I think it’s very hard to know at this point how Brexit will affect us all and what the impact of it is going to be. I just don’t know what’s going to happen now, that’s why I wasn’t in favour of taking that risk in the first place.”

Katie went on to touch on the subject of the 2016 Brexit referendum, and how the people of Sussex voted in it. She said: “It’s widely known, isn’t it? That, actually, the people in this particular part of the country didn’t vote with the majority of the UK on Brexit and you’ll probably find that more people are disappointed with the result in this area than in other places.”