In an embarrassing mix-up, the Electoral Commission has confirmed that Remain actually won the EU referendum after the wrong name was announced on the night.
Jenny Watson, chief counting officer for the referendum, admitted the error in the early hours of this morning and attributed it to being given the wrong envelope on the night of 23 June last year. ‘I opened the envelope and it said “La La Land”’ she explained, “so I naturally thought that mean that the Leave campaign must have won it.’
The Leave campaign has reacted with understanding and good humour after the mishap. ‘It was terribly funny really,’ said a pro-Brexit spokesperson. ‘We were just doing what winners traditionally do after winning an award – you know, making a speech, criticising the losers, abandoning our pledges and generally buggering everything in a blaze of monumental incompetence and petty politicking – when these blokes came running onto the stage yelling “no, no there’s been a terrible fuck-up.” Of course we thought it was just Boris Johnson setting out our Brexit strategy but it turns out it was an even bigger bungle than that. ‘
Remain campaigners said they were ‘quite pleased’ with the eventual outcome. ‘The Brexiteers have been so nice about it all,’ said a senior pro-EU campaigner. ‘Theresa May has been absolutely fine about us asking David Cameron to return as PM, but then she supported Remain anyway, so that’s been great and she can get back to introducing those immigration restrictions that we’ve always been able to do as EU members but never bothered with.
‘Even better, Boris has gone back on the rota for Have I Got News For You, we all love the Supreme Court and the pound is worth more than a chocolate coin again. There’s only one downside, which is that it will take six to eight months for experts to extricate Michael Gove from Rupert Murdoch’s back passage. If they can be bothered.’
The Electoral Commission has formally apologised for making the error and vowed it will never happen again. ‘It’s easy to see where we went wrong,’ they said in a letter to the prime minister. ‘We should never have employed an immigrant to write the name of the winner on that bit of paper. The sooner we get rid of them all the better, frankly. Any ideas?’