Wales would not have voted by a majority for Brexit if not for retired English people moving across the border, according to research by Oxford University.
This was despite a pro-Leave vote in the valleys of the south-east of Wales, according to Danny Dorling, professor of geography at Oxford.
“Wales was made to look like a Brexit-supporting nation by its English settlers,” he told the Sunday Times.
In the 2016 referendum, border towns and areas of central Wales popular with English settlers saw a large proportion of leave votes. Wrexham and Powys were examples of this, he said.
Dorling revealed the statistics at the British Science Association’s annual meeting at Warwick University.
He said: “The Welsh did not want to quit the EU, but that is one of many false beliefs about Brexit.
“The biggest is that the pro-leave vote was due to northerners. It’s true some northern areas were strongly pro-Brexit, but the population there is too small to swing the vote.
“The real support for Brexit, in terms of numbers of votes, was in places like Cornwall, which was 57% for leave, Hampshire, with 54%, Essex with 62% and Norfolk with 57%.
“It is those southern English voters that are dragging Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland unwillingly out of Europe.
“Everyone blames Wigan and Stoke for Brexit but we should really be blaming Cornwall and Devon.”