MORE people in Tendring are identifying as British than before the EU referendum, figures suggest.

The Office for National Statics Annual Population Survey asked a sample of local people how they would describe their national identity.

The survey shows 34 per cent people in Tendring identified as British in the year to June 2020, up from 30 per cent four years earlier, in the run-up to the EU referendum.

But Englishness, while still the more popular answer, is on the decline – 75 per cent said they were English, compared to 79 per cent in the year to June 2016.

In Tendring, 69.5 per cent voted in favour of leaving the EU and former MP Douglas Carswell claims the Brexit revolution "started in Clacton”.

The constituency's re-election of Mr Carswell after he defected from the Tories gave a major boost to the UK Independence Party, putting pressure on former Prime Minister David Cameron to hold the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

In the survey, people can identify as British, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh or “other”.

Respondents can choose as many options as they think apply to them, so could choose English and British as dual identities.

The survey also found that fewer people in Colchester are identifying as English than before the referendum.

Just 62 per cent of people in Colchester identified as English in the year to June 2020, down from 66 per cent four years earlier, in the run-up to the EU referendum.

The proportion who described themselves as British stayed broadly the same, at 40%.

Professor John Denham, director of the Centre for English Identity and Politics, said the relative rise in British identity was in line with other recent surveys.

“It is not clear why this has happened, but one significant factor is likely to be age,” said Prof Denham, who runs the centre at the University of Southampton.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Douglas carswell

Douglas Carswell picture in Clacton in 2015

“It has been the case for some time that younger generations have been more likely than older residents to emphasise their British identity.”

He said there was a misconception that English identity had been on the rise in recent years, which was partly driven by Brexit.

“Those who emphasised their English identity were much more likely to vote Leave, and those who emphasised Britishness were more likely to vote Remain,” he said.

But he pointed out that other surveys show around eight in 10 people identify as both.