- Support for Brexit in the UK is at its lowest point since the referendum, a new poll has found.
- Fifty-one percent of respondents told YouGov that the 2016 referendum vote was the wrong move, compared with just 38% who said it was the right decision.
- It is the biggest lead for “wrong” over “right” ever recorded by YouGov.
- Nearly two-thirds of Brits also told YouGov the UK government was handling Brexit “badly.”
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A record majority of British people believe leaving the European Union was a mistake, a new poll has found, as the UK gets ready to leave European trading rules.
The UK is due to leave the EU single market and customs union at the end of 2020, more than four years after the country voted to leave.
A record-high margin of Brits told a new YouGov tracker poll, however, that they believed voting for Brexit was the “wrong” decision, with support for the decision to leave sitting at its lowest point since the referendum.
Asked last week “in hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the European Union?” just over half of respondents — 51% — said “wrong,” compared with 38% who said “right.” Eleven percent said “don’t know.”
When those who said they didn’t know are excluded, the poll found 57% said it was wrong compared with just 43% who said it was right.
This is the highest level of support for “wrong” ever recorded by YouGov as well as its biggest lead over those saying it was right to leave.
The new findings come as UK and EU negotiators race to negotiate and ratify a new free-trade deal before the Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year. Both sides believe they will have to reach an agreement in the next week or so to have enough time to put it into law before the new year.
The UK negotiating team led by David Frost is in Brussels this week to continue talks with the EU side led by Michel Barnier.
“Although there has been some progress in recent days, there’s much work to be done and time is very short,” a representative for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.
Failure to negotiate a deal — or what Johnson’s UK government calls leaving on “Australian-style” terms — would lead to the imposition of costly tariffs on goods sold between the UK and the EU, plus a host of new checks at the border.
There is set to be significant disruption at Britain’s borders in January even if Johnson secures a deal with EU leaders, however, because of the UK’s decision to diverge significantly from the EU’s trading rules.
Ed Davey, the leader of the UK Liberal Democrats, on Tuesday wrote to Johnson urging him to negotiate an “adjustment period” for British businesses, warning him that they needed time “to adapt to new trade arrangements and save jobs.”
He told Johnson: “By phasing-in new rules, regulations and procedures, our businesses would have the breathing space they need to prepare and adapt. The UK will also have time to prepare for the logistical burden of customs checks at the border.
“At a time when our country faces an unprecedented challenge from the pandemic, it is more important than ever to put ideology to one side and stand by British businesses and workers.”
Industry groups have warned that businesses across the country are not ready for a new trading relationship with the EU in just seven weeks. They also say they need more operational details of how that relationship will work to prepare for the change.
Last week, Logistics UK — the country’s leading logistics association — said that despite its best efforts to get details from ministers, “not enough has been forthcoming” from Johnson’s government. The body’s policy director, Elizabeth de Jong, said it needed “government’s help now to ensure our industry can continue to support UK business, prevent lorry queues at Dover and empty shelves in Northern Ireland, and make a success of the UK’s departure from the Single Market.”
The YouGov poll found that nearly two-thirds of respondents — 59% — said Johnson’s government was handling the UK’s exit from the EU “badly,” with 28% saying the government was doing “well” and 13% saying they “don’t know.”
YouGov interviewed 1,632 British adults November 11-12 in a poll for the Times of London newspaper.
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