A year on from Britain’s formal departure from the European Union, Brits believe Brexit has done the country more harm than good, a new survey has found.
The Savanta poll, conducted for The Independent, revealed that more voters believe Brexit has worsened the UK’s position – on issues as wide-ranging as the economy and Britain’s ability to control its borders – than improved it.
Roughly six out of ten believe Boris Johnson lied about what Brexit would be like during the referendum campaign.
And Brits said that the Remain campaign’s forecasts of damage to the economy have proved more accurate than the Leave campaign’s promises, such as the infamous bus-side claim that EU withdrawal would deliver £350 million a week for the NHS.
‘Benefits of Brexit’
A slim majority of 51 to 49 per cent of respondents said that, if they could vote again, they would opt to rejoin the EU, with younger voters considerably more enthusiastic than the old for renewing membership.
Boris Johnson has vowed to “maximise the benefits of Brexit” in 2022 as consumers were warned to brace for fresh disruption due to new rules coming into play.
The Prime Minister, marking a year since the post-Brexit free trade deal with the European Union came into force, said the Government would “go further and faster” to take advantage of the “enormous potential that our new freedoms bring” in the new year.
But it comes as January 1 ushers in new barriers to trade with the bloc, with rules stating that importers must make a full customs declaration on goods entering the UK from the EU or other countries.
And polling suggests that as many as 38 per cent of Brits believe Brexit has had a damaging effect on the UK’s interests – with just 27 per cent suggesting it had improved matters.
‘People were deceived’
Even among Leave voters, just 39 per cent said Brexit had been good for the UK – with 18 per cent saying it had been harmful.
Former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine, a leading Remain figure, told The Independent: “The British people were deceived. The Brexit campaign was based on a range of emotional prejudices that set a mood of national frustration.
“This poll reflects a growing disenchantment as people recognise the scale of the deception. A year from now it will be worse.”