Poll: More Britons now want to remain in EU, and vote on it

LONDON • More Britons want to remain a member of the European Union (EU) than leave, according to a survey published yesterday which also showed that voters want to make the final decision themselves.

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, but Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to get her exit deal approved by Parliament, opening up huge uncertainty over whether a deal is possible, or even whether the country will leave at all.

The survey by polling firm YouGov showed that if a referendum were held immediately, 46 per cent would vote to remain, 39 per cent would vote to leave, and the rest either did not know, would not vote, or refused to answer the question.

When the undecided and those who refused to answer were removed from the sample, the split was 54-46 in favour of remaining.

That is broadly in line with other polls in recent months which show a deeply divided electorate, in which opinion has swung slightly towards remaining in the EU.

The 2016 referendum voted 52 to 48 per cent in favour of leaving.

The poll of more than 25,000 voters was commissioned by the People's Vote campaign, which is spearheading an increasingly vocal push for a second referendum on Brexit.

Mrs May has strongly opposed holding a second referendum.

 
 

But, the survey showed that 41 per cent thought the final decision about Brexit should be made by a new public vote versus 36 per cent who believe it should be up to Parliament.

Removing those who are undecided, the split was 53 per cent in favour of another referendum and 47 per cent against.

Lawmakers are due to vote on whether to accept Mrs May's exit deal in the week beginning Jan 14.

As Britain's Parliament returns to work today after an 18-day Christmas break, Brexit is inevitably set to dominate proceedings, with the biggest question being whether Mrs May can persuade a hostile House of Commons to back the withdrawal agreement that she has painstakingly struck with the EU.

Mrs May could again delay a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal, The Telegraph reported. Her aides are drawing up proposals to make any approval by lawmakers for her deal conditional on the EU making concessions.

That would help limit opposition to her plans in the House of Commons, while buying more time for negotiations with the bloc, the paper said.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2019, with the headline 'Poll: More Britons now want to remain in EU, and vote on it'. Print Edition | Subscribe