Keir Starmer discuses Brexit and a second referendum
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The political consensus in Parliament that Brexit is irreversible may not be the view of a majority of the public after Britain’s recent economic woes, Professor Curtice has warned. The UK’s best-known polling expert said support for Leave is on the slide after the country was hit by a number of problems around the cost of living and impending recesssion.
Writing in the Telegraph, Curtice suggested that Brexit supporters should not be complacent that the issue is settled with recent polls showing a distinct turn in favour of rejoin.
The comments come despite the fact that the main rejoiner group the European Movement is looking for a new leader after Lord Adonis resigned as chairman.
But former Brexit Party leader turned GB News host Nigel Farage has warned already that the failure of the Conservative government to take advantage of Brexit opportunities has undermined support for Leave.
Prof Curtice though put the blame on economic factors.
He said: “Brexiteers should not mistake the Westminster consensus as evidence that the debate over Europe has ended.
“The last three months of political and economic turbulence have not only witnessed a slump in the Conservatives’ standing in the polls but also seen support for being outside the EU drop to its lowest level since the 2016 EU referendum.”
Some have tried to blame Liz Truss for the problems after her mini Budget caused a run on the pound.
But Prof Curtice said she was not solely to blame.
He said: “That support was already on the slide even before Liz Truss’ administration began to fall apart. The first cracks began to appear the previous autumn in the wake of petrol shortages and empty supermarket shelves that were blamed on a lack of EU lorry drivers.
“However, in October the average level of support for staying out of the EU fell below 45 per cent for the first time – and it has not recovered since. The last half dozen polls put the figure at just 42 per cent, while as many as 58 per cent say they would now vote to join the EU.”
He added: “True, most of those who voted Leave in 2016 still say they would vote to stay out. However, at 74 per cent, the proportion who would do so is eleven points down on a year ago. In contrast, as many as 80 per cent of those who in 2016 voted Remain say they would vote to rejoin, a figure that has largely held steady over the last two years.
“The oft-made suggestion that most Remainers have come to terms with Brexit receives little support in the polls.”
Prof Curtice claims the economy is the biggest problem pointing to evidence from Savanta ComRes.
He said: “Why have some Leave voters changed their mind? The polls point to one principal culprit – a loss of confidence in the economic consequences of Brexit.
“According to Savanta, at the end of 2021 slightly more Leave voters believed that the economy had improved in the wake of Brexit (30 per cent) than reckoned it had got worse (26 per cent). Now, in contrast, just over twice as many (42 per cent) feel that the economy has worsened than believe it has got better (20 per cent).
“On no other issue covered by Savanta has the mood of Leave voters darkened as much as it has on the economic consequences of Brexit. Polling by both Opinium and Redfield & Wilton points towards a similar conclusion.
“And while not every Leave voter who now expresses concern about the economic consequences of Brexit has stopped supporting Brexit, no less than half of them would no longer vote to stay out.”
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Recently arch-euro federalist Guy Verhofstadt mocked Brexiteers claiming that there is a majority for Rejoin.
He said: “I have no doubt that one day, a young British politician will slay the proverbial elephant and lead Britain back into the European family, where it belongs.
“It is up to the British people to decide how quickly this day comes.”
Mr Farage though blames the Conservatvies.
He recently told Express.co.uk: “Sadly the useless Tories have made life too easy for the rejoiners.”
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