Study finds Brexit has ceased to be the “will of the people”

Brexit has ceased to be the “will of the people”, analysis of British Social Attitudes Survey respondents has suggested.

National Centre for Social Research data found 55 per cent of Brits would vote Remain in a second referendum, with just six per cent of respondents saying they now think the UK will secure a good Brexit deal – a massive reduction from the 33 per cent who were optimistic about the outcome of negotiations when the Article 50 process was triggered in March 2017.

The findings have prompted the centre’s senior research fellow Sir John Curtice to warn MPs discussing Brexit in Parliament that: “There is seemingly room for debate about whether leaving the EU is still the ‘will’ of a majority of voters in the UK.

“Perhaps the key message for the politicians as they decide what to do is that those on all sides of the argument might be best advised to show a degree of humility when claiming to know what voters really want.”

Of the 70 polls conducted since the 2017 General Election only two have given Leave the edge (+1), with five ties and 63 Remain leads.

Recent averages for Remain have been between seven and eight points.

There also hasn’t been a single poll in almost a year now with Leave lead.

But Sir John issued a note of caution by saying: “The Remain lead in our data is not sufficiently large for anyone to be sure what the outcome of any second ballot would be, especially as any such ballot would occur after a campaign that might result in a shift of opinion in one direction or the other.”

He also warned: “There must be a question mark about whether those who did not vote first time around would necessarily do so second time around.”

But he concluded the new data clearly showed a “potential frailty of arguments that leaving the EU is necessarily the ‘will’ of a majority of the British public.

“It is enough to raise doubts about whether, two and half years after the original ballot, leaving the EU necessarily continues to represent the view of a majority of the British public”


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