Brexit town wants government to 'get on with it' and leave EU

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Clacton Gives EU the Bum's Rush

CLACTON-ON-SEA, England, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Gazing out across the calm, grey North Sea towards northern France, families in Clacton enjoy the English summer, some sipping tea, others with cans of beer, outside wooden beach huts strung with union jack flags.

Two months ago, many residents of this town of 55,000 in eastern England, were celebrating: 70 percent of people in the area voted on June 23 to leave the European Union, helping secure Britain's 52-48 percent result in favor of quitting the bloc.

But the joy of that victory has begun to fade in Clacton, a town represented by the only member in parliament of the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP). It has been replaced by frustration at the lack of any clear progress towards making Brexit actually happen.

"We need to get moving," said Janet Ford, 60, a retired bookkeeper at a Brexit-themed party held by UKIP in a pub.

See inside the quaint town and meet the residents:

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Beach town that voted Brexit wants England to hurry up
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Beach town that voted Brexit wants England to hurry up
People relax in front of beach huts in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People relax on a beach in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman relaxes in a beach hut in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People relax in front of beach huts in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman holds her raffle prize at the Clacton United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Committee Brexit party in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman carries a prawn sandwich on a Union Jack-coloured paper plate at the Clacton United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Committee Brexit party in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman pours sauce on her fish and chips in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.?
People dance to the British national anthem at the Clacton United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Committee Brexit party in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. ?
A person uses a fan at the Clacton United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Committee Brexit party in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. ?
A man plays in an amusement arcade in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A couple eat ice cream in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People relax on the pier in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A man pushes a woman in a wheelchair past an amusement arcade in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A couple plays at an amusement arcade in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Souvenirs are displayed for sale in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman works in a fish and chip shop in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A man stocks his store on the beachfront in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman serves ice cream in the oldest kiosk in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Fish and chips are seen at a table in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman in a mobility scooter drives along a beach in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People browse a car boot sale in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A union flag is displayed on a house at Jaywick near Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Recent sightings are displayed at a bird watching hide at Holland Haven Country park near Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A bird watching hide is seen at Holland Haven Country park near Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A decorated house is seen in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A vintage military vehicle displays an English flag in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People browse a car boot sale in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People pass a closed pub in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A beach hut displays the Union Flag in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A boat passes a wind farm in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A woman walks her dogs past the pier in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A seagull flies past an amusement arcade in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The pier is seen in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People spend time on a beach in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A man reads on a beach in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People ride an attraction in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Women walk on a beach in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A sand castle is washed away by the sea in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Children ride an attraction on the pier in Clacton-on-Sea, a town in eastern England, where 70 percent of people voted on June 23, 2016 to leave the European Union, Britain August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall SEARCH "CLACTON BREXIT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will not trigger Article 50, the formal mechanism which sets the clock ticking on a two-year deadline to leave the EU, in 2016. Media reports have said it might be as late as the second half of next year, a notion rejected by some government sources.

May, who has established departments to negotiate a new relationship with the EU and sign trade deals with other countries, has said that Britain needs time to prepare before Article 50 is triggered.

But for Tony Goldstone, 56, a retiree who has been in favor of leaving the EU for over 10 years, the referendum result lacks weight until the formal leaving process is started.

"We're happy but I don't think it will sink in until they trigger Article 50, because at the moment I feel like we're in limbo," he said, nibbling on sandwiches and chatting to fellow UKIP supporters at the British flag-festooned event.

BETTER DAYS

Once a fringe movement, UKIP's years-long anti-EU campaign helped shape Britain's future. The party came third in the 2015 general election with more than 12 percent of the vote, but under Britain's winner-takes-all system, has only the Clacton seat in parliament.

UKIP's success in the town is linked to the area's high retiree population, with one in three residents a pensioner.

"We've seen the other side of it. We remember a better Britain," said Ford, suggesting a reason why older people in the area tend to vote for UKIP.

Many pro-Brexit voters are stirred by a nostalgic vision of Britain. They talk of a country which made its own laws, was unburdened by EU rules and was less crowded before hundreds of thousands of EU migrants began settling in the UK from the mid-2000s.

"I like the idea that we should run our own country. Immigration was part of it, not all of it. It's everything really associated with making our own laws and controlling our own borders," Ford said.

With its pleasure pier of fairground rides stretching 300 meters (yards) off the shore, and cluster of bed and breakfasts, Clacton used to be a destination for holidaying Britons before trips to Europe became popular from the 1960s onwards.

Related: See the Irish towns who are fearing Brexit:

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Irish border towns fearing Brexit
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Irish border towns fearing Brexit
The remains of the Belcoo-Blacklion railway bridge which was detonated in 1976 by order of the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) is seen in Blacklion, Ireland, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Butcher Martin Flynn, 40, lives in Northern Ireland but works at and owns FlynnÃs butchers in Blacklion, Ireland, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The Belcoo and Blacklion Bridge which served as a hard border between the adjoining villages of Blacklion (Rep. of Ireland) and Belcoo (Northern Ireland) until 1998 and separates the towns by 100 metres is seen from Belcoo, Northern Ireland, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Peter Gallagher, farmer and owner of Agri-Supply business, poses for a photograph on his farm in Belcoo, Northern Ireland, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Mairead O'Dolan, 88, a retired Civil Servant who voted remain in the recent EU Referendum speaks on her phone at her home in the former Belcoo and Blacklion railway station in Belcoo, Northern Ireland, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Grass grows on the track at the former Belcoo and Blacklion railway station, which is home to Mairead O'Dolan, in Belcoo, Northern Ireland, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The former Belcoo and Blacklion railway station watch tower is seen at the home of Mairead O'Dolan in Belcoo, Northern Ireland, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY?
A sign for Blacklion village is seen on the Belcoo and Blacklion Bridge which served as a hard border between the border towns of Blacklion (Rep. of Ireland) and Belcoo (Northern Ireland) until 1998 is seen from Belcoo, Northern Ireland, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Tour guide Leslie Nixon leads the way through the popular Marble Arch caves in a cross-border UNESCO Geo Park which straddles Fermanagh and Cavan in Belcoo, Northern Ireland, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Retired Detective-Sargeant Con Lee, 53, with An Garda Siochana (Irish Police), worked on the Blacklion-Belcoo border stationed in Blacklion from 1982 to 1991 poses for a photograph in Sligo, Ireland, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Tourist administrator, Helena Corcoran looks at a map in the Tourist Office in Market House, Blacklion, Ireland, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Donkeys stand Peter Gallagher's farm in Belcoo, Northern Ireland, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Land is seen for sale in Blacklion, Ireland, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY?
Disused fuel pumps are seen in Blacklion, Ireland, July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne SEARCH "BELCOO AND BLACKLION" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY?
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About 80 miles (130 km) from London, Clacton has above-average unemployment and part of neighboring Jaywick has been classified as the most deprived place in England.

That poverty and a lack of investment is why Graham Thornton, 53, a truck driver said he voted to leave the EU.

"We need to get our country back," he said. "We need to get it back to the reality where everybody can earn a decent living, everybody can live in a decent home."

Munching on his takeaway fish and chips on a bench in the town, Thornton does not want the Prime Minister to delay triggering Article 50.

"We need to get out as soon as possible and then start talking about what (trade) deals we're going to get because it doesn't matter what deals we're going to get. Can we live on our own? You better believe we can," said.

As May and her government return to work from their summer breaks, executing Brexit will be foremost in their minds, and UKIP and its supporters in places like Clacton will be there to make sure it stays the priority.

"I want UKIP there to keep them (the government) in check, to make sure it goes through properly and they don't make too many compromises," said Goldstone.

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