Could Brexit become Bre-entry?

Support grows for a fresh vote within the next five years

There’s an old saying that “there are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.” Certainly, statistics can be and frequently are interpreted in different ways – depending on who is reading them. On the one hand, the government and hardened Brexiteers will be pleased and relieved to see that in a recent British Social Attitudes survey, nine out of ten Leavers would vote the same way in any new referendum. But on the other hand, Remainers will be delighted in the knowledge that a swing of just one per cent would likely be enough to change the decision made in 2016 to leave the EU. Of course, these are just numbers and anyway, it’s too late now. Or is it? A close look at further polling figures from Savanta ComRes show that not only would more than half of UK adults vote to rejoin the European Union in any fresh referendum, more than eight in ten, 82%, who did not vote in 2016 would now vote to rejoin. The survey appears to confirm that the government’s struggles with the supply of goods, the continuing arguments with Brussels and our European neighbours – including the thorny issue of Northern Ireland –  and the absence of the promised significant and improved trade deals from around the world are prompting increasing discontent. That “oven ready” Brexit deal promised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson was clearly not “oven ready” at all, and as the government scrambles to change or even scrap parts of the agreement, 40%, of adults surveyed would back a fresh vote within the next five years, while just a third, 34%, are against the idea. A strong majority amongst the young, those aged between 18 and 34, are in favour of rejoining according to the survey and, perhaps most worrying of all for the Prime Minister, twenty per cent of Conservative voters who opted for Leave last time, would also vote to rejoin.

As winter begins to bite, predictions for a boost to the economy are hard to find. And with billions wiped off trade since the deal came into force at the beginning of 2021, Johnson must be comforted and grateful that the Opposition are not yet picking up on the changing mood spreading through the country. Labour leader Keir Starmer has made clear his determination to “make Brexit work” but with a refreshed shadow cabinet potentially voicing different opinions if the anti-Brexit feeling increases, that vow may yet come back to haunt him. Our own recent poll on Brexit, broadly reflects the Savanta ComRes poll. Over 40% of our readers think that there should be another referendum within five years to reconsider the matter and the majority consider the UK worse off as a result of Brexit and would vote in favour of rejoining. The numbers are not overwhelming either way, but it’s clear that we have more than a few regrets and like Scottish independence, the matter is unlikely to go away any time soon.

Surveys

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