AN East Lancashire MP has called for June 23, the date of the ‘Brexit’ referendum result, to become an annual ‘Independence Day’ bank holiday.

Nigel Evans, who represents the Ribble Valley for the Conservatives, said a national celebration to mark Britain’s decision to leave the EU was a “belter of an idea”.


Mr Evans, a leading backer of the ‘Leave’ campaign, spoke out after more than 20,000 people signed a petition calling on the government to consider an annual celebration.

Pendle Liberal Democrat Peer Tony Greaves has condemned the idea as ‘provocative, divisive and stupid’.

Mr Evans said: “The UK’s own ‘Independence Day’ is an absolute belter of an idea.

“This is the day to celebrate that we voted to make 100 per cent of our laws in the UK.

“It could be a day of national celebration of everything that makes the UK the country and the family it is.

“It could be like Thanksgiving Day in the United States.”

Robin Walker, a minister at the Department for Exiting the EU, said the proposal was ‘tempting’ but the government had ‘no current plans’ to create another bank holiday, saying it would be ‘too costly.’ Speaking after the referendum result UKIP leader Nigel Farage declared June 23 would “go down in our history as our independence day” and called for it to be designated a national holiday.

Mr Evans said: “It’s a shame the government has made this decision.

“If its too expensive then why don’t we swap it for one of those summer bank holidays in August and have our day of celebration?”

Lord Greaves said: “This is provocative, divisive and stupid.

“It is far too early to say this is a date worth celebrating.

“Many of us think it will have disastrous consequences in the long run for Europe, the UK, its people and its economy.”

The referendum saw 17.4million votes cast to leave the EU, compared with 16.1million for remaining part of the bloc, with a turnout of 72.2 per cent.The majority was 51.9 per cent to 48.1.

Mr Walker told MPs: “I am afraid that the Government have no current plans to create another permanent UK bank holiday.

“Tempting though it might be, an independence day would face fierce competition from the likes of Saint George’s day, Trafalgar day and many more. Within this context, it is hard to commit to 23 June over its many rivals. “