The UK’s EU referendum, more commonly known as ‘Brexit’ took a violent turn on Thursday when Jo Cox, a Labour Party member of Parliament (MP) was stabbed and shot dead in her constituency near Leeds in Yorkshire. Ms Cox was a prominent Remain supporter who had spoken out for migrants and campaigned extensively on behalf of Syrians. A brave woman, she died at the hands of an extremist, only proving that the wave of xenophobia, that has gripped the UK in the wake of the migrant crises, lies at the heart of the Brexit campaign.

The referendum is set to be held on Thursday, 23 June, to decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave campaigners have argued that Britain had not had a say since 1975, when it voted to stay in the EU in a referendum. They believe that the EU, which imposes too many rules on business and charges billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return, is holding Britain back. But the main reason that they want Britain to leave the EU is so that it can take back full control of its borders and curb the inflow of migrants. The main reason is not economic, but xenophobic. The remain campaigners wish for Britain to stay in the EU as it makes trade with other EU countries easier and, they argue, that the flow of immigrants, most of whom are young and keen to work, fuels economic growth and helps pay for public services.

Support for Brexit comes from a very myopic view of the situation. The economy is predicted to take a massive hit if UK leaves. Brexit will weaken the pound, hurt Britain’s financial center, increase taxation, and create chaos for shipping and transport. At the moment the Britons are divided equally as the gap between the Leave and Remain supporters is becoming narrower. Though a referendum was due, just for the purpose of exercising a democratic right, it does not mean that Brexit was ever a viable option.