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Majority of people think UK was wrong to leave EU, new poll suggests

23 Jun 2023 3 minute read
Picture by Tiocfaidh (CC BY-ND 2.0)

More than 50% of people believe that the UK was wrong to leave the EU seven years on from the referendum, according to a new poll.

Based on a survey of 1,525 adults and carried out at the start of June, the poll found that 34% still believe that Brexit was the correct decision.

The findings, published by the Tony Blair Institute and carried out by Deltapoll, also suggest that 18% of Leave voters now believe that the decision was wrong.

Nearly 80% believe that the UK should have a closer relationship with the EU in the future, with 43% wanting the UK to rejoin the EU and 13% preferring a return to the single market only.

The poll found just over a fifth of people support a closer relationship with the EU, although not as a member or as part of the single market.

The data forms part of a new report, which considers how the UK can improve its post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

Authors Anton Spisak and Christos Tsoulakis also caution that the “views of those who voted in the 2016 referendum do not appear to have changed dramatically”.

“Instead, a key factor in this change is the attitudes of those respondents aged between 18 and 24 who did not vote in 2016 but largely consider the decision to leave as wrong.

“Most of the shift appears attributable to younger people entering the electorate rather than a significant portion of those who voted Leave changing their minds,” the report says.

Voluntary alignment

Among the proposals set out by the institute include encouraging the Government to commit to a voluntary alignment with EU regulations on goods, including product rules and food safety standards.

The Sir Tony Blair-backed think tank suggests this could be a precursor to negotiations with the bloc on closer regulatory alignment on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures.

The report also suggests linking the UK and the EU’s emissions trading systems, as well as agreeing an reciprocal exchange scheme for young people while also improving mobility for business people.

It also calls for a so-called “strategic pillar” within the current trade agreement that would act as the basis for a joint framework on foreign policy and defence.

Mr Spisak, head of political leadership at the institute, said: “Our polling shows that there is a large majority of the British public who recognise that Brexit in its current form isn’t working and would like to see the UK moving closer to the EU.

“This creates a substantial political space to move the debate forward from refighting the old battles about whether Brexit was right or wrong, to discussing what an improved future relationship with the EU should look like.

“The EU will always remain a key strategic ally, and it is absurd that the bloc has deeper trading arrangements with Israel and Georgia, better regulatory recognition on food-safety standards with Canada and New Zealand, and deeper mechanisms for political co-operation with nations including Australia and Japan.

“Any future British government that wants to improve the relationship with the EU will need a carefully considered strategic plan – and make a clear-eyed offer to the other side. Asking the EU nicely cannot succeed as a negotiating strategy.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

Parents, start apologising now or face a lonely old age…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

Aditya Chakrabortty is without doubt one of the UK’s finest journalists! In the Guardian today…

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
9 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Indeed, he clearly explains that adjusted for inflation there has been no growth in the UK since the seventies. The cause of this begins with Thatcher, and all those leaders that followed her, smashing Trade Unions and driving down wages, but it’s about so much more than that. The telling statistic is that wages in the UK will be lower than those in Poland by 2030. Yes, we need access to the Single market, but that would only mitigate the damage done to the UK’s economy. I stuck steadfast to the idea of Federalism for years, but I was wrong!… Read more »

John Davis
John Davis
9 months ago
Reply to  Owain Morgan

Good luck with that. Power corrupts….

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago
Reply to  Owain Morgan

‘How to run a country diligently’ should be widely taught in our schools and universities because it is barely understood at present, sadly…

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
9 months ago

“the Tony Blair Institute” Oh dear…..

“43% wanting the UK to rejoin the EU”,,,,,,so 57% DO NOT want to rejoin!! Oh dear…..

John Davis
John Davis
9 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

37% of the electorate voted to leave the EU……so 63% did not want to leave!! Oh dear….

Manipulating figures to support a leave argument is not a good idea, but is typical of Leave supporters. It is not an inference which holds water – what about the undecided?

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
9 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Stop cherry picking stats and taking them out of context! They asked in terms of the EU and the single market, which is part of the EEA. The important state is that 80% believe the UK should have a closer relationship with the EU. In other words 4 out of 5 people in the UK want a closer relationship. Even if we go along your line only 34% still believe Brexit was a good idea, where as the 43% want to rejoin and the 13% want to be in the single market. 43 + 13 makes 56. In other words… Read more »

Richard
Richard
9 months ago
Reply to  Owain Morgan

Forget the past referendum whether Brexit or the Ist Devolution one and look to the future, The Tory Blair Think Tank is wasting its resources . We don’t want to return to the past where Wales had only 3 or 4 MEPs but look to the future by building new bridges, new relationships and new opportunities for Wales in Europe……that enable us to have our own seat at the table …..sitting along side other nations. Gwynfor and the founders of modern Wales saw Cymru as an equal and participatory partner in developing a Europe of nations – based on respect,… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Richard

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