Hungarian refugee who has lived in Britain since she was a child explains why Brexit is forcing her to return to Europe

Hungarian refugee who has lived in Britain since she was a child explains why Brexit is forcing her to return to Europe

Brexit and the hate-filled rhetoric that has accompanied it since day one has not just divided the British people but the people that have come to call this country their home.

More than 40 years ago, Magda Williams, who came to Britain as a 13-year-old Hungarian refugee and settled in Sevenoaks, Kent has admitted that she now feels that she must look for a home elsewhere in Europe.

Speaking to Kent Live, Ms Williams, who, along with her mother fled from the communists in Hungary to Austria before eventually travelling to the UK, is now a regular anti-Brexit protestor outside of parliament, striving to convince MPs that Brexit will be nothing short of a disaster.

My view is to leave Europe will be a disaster for the UK which has been part of Europe since I first came to the UK.

I fled to Austria from the communists in Hungary when my mother was at university in Vienna and I am moving back to Austria which is where I came from.

The former diplomat, who has worked on behalf of the foreign office in London and Strasbourg, is now hoping to return to Austria as she never believed that the anti-foreigner language that she heard as a youngster would return to the public conscience.

In her own words, she told Kent Live, how dispiriting Brexit has been for her as a refugee and how the issue has helped embolden bigots, xenophobes, racists and fascists and what it will mean for the future of the NHS.

'Why don’t you go back to where you come from?' I was 12 years old when the class bully asked me this question when I dared to stop her from throwing my cap into the mud for the third time that week.

I told my mum when I got home crying, and she said that we could not go back to our country and that we had as much right to live here as the school bully and her family.

I had been a refugee at eight, the family got asylum and a refugee passport in the year of our flight from Communism, and after five years we were proud citizens of a Western European country. We thought we were safe.

I never thought to hear bullying voices telling migrants to go back to where they came from in the UK of the 21 st century. Enoch Powell’s memory had faded in my mind.

I considered the country I had made my home nearly 50 years ago one of the most tolerant and multicultural societies. I thought I had found my sanctuary. Had I deluded myself?

But this does not feel like my home any longer. Bigots, xenophobes, racists, fascists have been emboldened to voice their hatred and anger. And neither the media nor government are taking steps to prosecute them.

Plus, with the devaluation of the pound and rising costs, my little pension will not be sufficient to keep me and my two dogs. I worry about NHS and cancer treatments as both my parents died of cancer.

Even if we cancel Brexit, like we must, this country will not be the same again. I cannot wait decades for the UK to recover.

So, at the ripe old age of 70, totally devastated, I will be a refugee again. Looking for a little corner of the world to make my new sanctuary.

Williams is part of the Sevenoaks and Swanley anti-Brexit group Better Together, which marched, along with 1 million other people last weekend for a second referendum.

I had 450 people ask me to walk for them not just for Sevenoaks but across the UK.

Now I am outside Parliament five days a week - come rain or shining protesting and speaking to MPs - because I think this is such a disaster. 

Peter Kinsler, the Better Together rally coordinator, added:

We are detecting a change. You see people who have never voted saying this is such a mess if they had the chance to vote again - they would and would opt to stay in Europe. But we do also meet hardliners.

HT Kent Live

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