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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Adam Forrest

Brexit: 65pc of British voters say EU withdrawal has gone badly, poll finds

Anti-Brexit campaigners wave Union and European Union flags outside the Houses of Parliament, London. File phote

Two in three Britons believe Brexit has gone badly, a poll has found – the highest level of negativity since former prime minister Boris Johnson’s trade deal come into force at the start of 2021.

Some 65pc of voters think Brexit was going badly and only 21pc said it is going well, the latest Opinium survey found.

Polling expert Professor John Curtice told The Independent that the results reflected a steady “erosion” in support for Brexit, mainly due to economic turmoil.

His own poll-of-polls analysis shows support for rejoining the EU at 57pc and staying out at 43pc if another referendum was held.

“The proportion of people who say they would vote to rejoin has been going up in the past year,” said Prof Curtice. “There is no doubt that there has been something of a decline in support for Brexit.”

He added: “The principal explanation for the shift seems to be to do with the economic consequences of Brexit. We are now somewhat more economically pessimistic about Brexit than we were.”

Prof Curtice said the trend has been evident since stories about empty supermarket shelves, lack of lorry drivers and wider workforce shortages emerged last year. “It’s the economy that matters, surprise surprise.”

He said immigration and the rise in small boat crossings in the English Channel may also have had an impact. “Leave voters have spotted that immigration has not gone down. One of the things that might have kept them loyal [to Brexit] is no longer there.”

Opinium’s December poll shows 31pc think Brexit had gone “fairy badly” and 34pc think it has gone “very badly”, according to the National Centre for Social Research’s What UK Thinks tracker.

Some 36pc said Brexit had gone worse than expected, while only 8pc said it had gone better than expected, according to the Opinium poll.

It comes as new analysis shows that consumers in the UK have cut back spending more than almost any other industrialised country – ranking 41st out of 43 nations.

Britons’ spending in the three months to September was 3.2pc below pre-Covid levels – the third worst across leading economics, according to Financial Times analysis.

Meanwhile, Prof Curtice said UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives are set to lose around half of their MPs at the next general election based on current opinion polling.

He said the seats of chancellor Jeremy Hunt, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab and former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith appear particularly vulnerable.

“The Conservative Party, at the moment, on current polls would indeed lose half of all its MPs,” he told GB News.

“Interestingly, out of the 15 or so MPs who have said that they're going to stand down, seven are currently in constituencies which, given the current polls, might well be lost. It’s around a half and is actually no higher than the total proportion of all the Conservative MPs who are now likely to be at risk.”

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