Five years on from the Brexit referendum and nearly two years after leaving the bloc, most Britons would vote to rejoin the EU if a plebiscite were held, according to a new survey released on Friday (12 November).
The UK would vote to rejoin the EU by 53–47%, a survey of over 2,000 people by Savanta has found. Meanwhile, 82% of those who did not vote in the 2016 referendum say they would now vote to re-join the EU.
The passage of time appears to have done nothing to reduce the political divisions and faultlines in UK society that were exposed by the referendum campaign and political deadlock and continue to dominate UK politics.
The promise that London’s relations with the EU were settled for good by the referendum and the election win for Boris Johnson’s Conservative party in 2019 is also belied by the survey which finds that despite Brexit fatigue, two in five UK adults would support a referendum on whether to re-join the EU within the next five years, with just one-third opposed to the idea.
Moreover, with the majority in favour of EU membership largest among young voters, of whom 77% would vote to rejoin the bloc, the UK’s EU question appears unlikely to go away any time soon.
49% of voters aged between 18–34 would like a new referendum to be held in the next five years.
“Five years on from the Brexit referendum, this polling suggests a country that is equally divided, but with the momentum shifting towards a majority who would now vote to re-join the EU,” said Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes.
“And while many feel like the issue is best put to bed, the high levels of support for re-joining amongst younger voters, as well as the significant proportion who would back having such a referendum in the first place, indicates that the Brexit story isn’t going away any time soon,” he added.
The post–Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which came into force in January, had been promised as bringing the Brexit process to an end by Johnson and his ministers. But delays and supply chain problems across a number of sectors, and labour shortages, exacerbated by the UK’s EU exit, have resulted in empty shelves and product shortages in British shops and supermarkets.
Meanwhile, disputes with France over licenses for French fishing vessels, and with the European Commission over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol have been a near-permanent feature this year and UK and EU officials concede that relations will remain difficult for the foreseeable future.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]