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