Manchester

EU referendum: Tatton voters split over Osborne's future

George Osborne Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption George Osborne was a prominent Remain campaigner

George Osborne usually cuts a popular figure in his Cheshire constituency. But how has the UK's vote to leave the European Union affected perceptions of the chancellor?

Winning 58% of the Tatton vote in the 2015 general election, you might think sympathy for the Remain-campaigning minister would have stayed strong.

But as Mr Osborne battles through arguably the most vulnerable point in his career, opinion in the Cheshire East borough is as divided as the nation with 51.2% of his constituents voting to leave the EU, and 48.8% choosing remain.

Some Leave voters have blasted the chancellor for presiding over what they say was a lacklustre Remain campaign.

Others admit they would like to see him help steer the government through the choppy waters of the post-Brexit seascape - although Mr Osborne has said he will not enter the contest to succeed David Cameron as Conservative leader.

'Little bit rubbish'

Medical student Pippa, from Knutsford, said the referendum result had left her "furious", and is worried about the impact on medical research.

She said she did not want to "slag off" Mr Osborne, but believed his Remain drive failed because it did not appeal to "disadvantaged, working class people".

"Both campaigns were a little bit rubbish," she added.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Brexit vote has prompted a wave of financial uncertainty

Critical comments are easier to find among Leave voters, who freely lambast the chancellor's role in a campaign dubbed Project Fear by some.

Pipe fitter and Leave voter Dave Hawkins said Mr Osborne's handling of the campaign was "absolutely disastrous".

The 72-year-old also criticised his MP for "threatening us with a punishment budget and all that rubbish".

Retired print worker Joe has lived in Tatton for 50 years and voted Remain - but did not vote for Mr Osborne in last year's election.

He accused him of both scaremongering and complacency.

"I don't think he pushed it enough to stay," he said.

Image caption Mr Osborne's Cheshire constituency includes Knutsford, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and other affluent communities

"I think they thought it was a foregone conclusion. They thought they had to call a referendum and that would be it because people would vote Remain."

He added: "That speech where he said that if we went out we would lose loads of money - that was scaremongering."

Craig Edwards, from nearby Mobberley, said the Leave vote was "brilliant for democracy" and Mr Osborne's "threats" had been a "really bad strategy".

But it seems Mr Osborne may have partially redeemed himself with his speech on Monday morning, designed to calm financial uncertainty.

Mr Edwards continued: "I listened to him today and I thought he came across very well.

"He was very calming. He was statesman-like today."

Should Mr Osborne ultimately stand down as chancellor? Here too, his constituents remain divided.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The government expects to begin formal negotiations to leave the European Union at a later date

Labour-voting printworker Joe believes he should resign, simply because he is David Cameron's "right-hand man".

For balance, he said Remain-campaigner Jeremy Corbyn should also resign.

Others seem more willing to give the chancellor another chance following his stoic speech.

Pipe fitter Mr Hawkins said he would be content to see Mr Osborne stay in position in the immediate aftermath of the post-Brexit vote.

"[He should] take us in a new direction. Start producing things again," he said.

Mr Edwards added: "I'd like him to still be in the cabinet. He's looked after the economy, he's created jobs, he's created work.

"But it's up to the new government isn't it?"