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Analysis

Brexiters claim public wants no deal – don’t believe them!

by Luke Lythgoe | 04.04.2019

There have now been two polls in two days suggesting – at least at first glance – that the majority of the public favours a “no deal” Brexit. Dig deeper and that’s clearly not the case.

Brexiters have been making hay with this polling, both in Parliament and on the front pages of right-wing newspapers. Arch Brexiter John Redwood announced in the Commons yesterday that “half the public” now think that leaving without an agreement is “the right thing to do”. Meanwhile the Telegraph today ran the misleading headline: “Every region of England and Wales happy to leave the EU without a deal – except London”.

But “happy” is far from the feeling YouGov’s latest poll highlighted. In fact, just a quarter of the public think “no deal” would be a good outcome, with double that number thinking it would be a bad outcome.

The Telegraph’s headline referred to what people wanted to do in the very specific scenario that we couldn’t agree a deal or extension with the EU, and were then faced with a choice between “no deal” or cancelling Brexit altogether. All the more reason to avoid this devil’s choice, secure a decent amount of extra time, avoid the “bad” outcome of no deal and settle Brexit democratically with a People’s Vote.

Another poll by Britain Thinks, appearing in the Guardian yesterday, suggested 46% thought it now “better to leave with no deal” compared to 38% who didn’t. This poll was focused on Brexit fatigue amongst the public. A comment from a participant in one of Britain Thinks’ focus groups was very telling: “The advantage of leaving [without a deal] would have been not having to hear about it any more. I don’t mean that in a flippant way. It would be lovely to turn the TV on and not have to hear about it and move on.”

So the overwhelming point emerging here is that people just want Brexit to go away. But a no-deal crash out from the EU won’t make that happen. We’d spend years stuck in political arguments and trying to work out our new relationship with the world, then decades suffering a lagging economy and be swept up by recrimination and blame.

The best way to prevent years of debate on Brexit is to stay in the EU, and the democratic way to get there is a People’s Vote. If the question had been posed in those terms, with the likely realities contextualised and explained, the response from a Brexit-weary public would undoubtedly have been very different. So when Brexiters claim half the country wants “no deal” – don’t believe it.

Demand a vote on the Brexit deal

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4 Responses to “Brexiters claim public wants no deal – don’t believe them!”

  • I have never met a Brexiter who is aware that Brexit is simply a prelude to many years of complicated negotiations with our future partners. And in the meantime, whilst these continue, some default WTO rules will be applied.
    The media hardly makes a mention of this. Achieving Brexit is usually referred to as the main objective. Rees-Mogg and friends speak blithely of leaving “Without a deal”…conveniently forgetting the work that has to be done in setting up trading agreements. If the public were aware that their lazy commitment to Brexit, as in “just get on with it” simply opens the door to years of negotiations then this might be enough to swing a People’s Vote towards Remain and the whole sorry mess can be stopped.

  • You must move in a very closed group of people. Sounds as though you have never met a representative group of those that voted to leave and do not know any either. Maybe you can say how many you really do h ave contact with.

    If you only read the mainstream press what do you expect and it equally applies to the other side of the coin!

  • Lot of assumptions there. However, most of the people I know are Brexiters and hardly any are aware of the affected EU institutions let alone the many consequences of actually leaving. They seem to be mainly influenced by the mainstream press, in particular, the Mail and Telegraph. “Take Back Control” and other tripe.
    One of the issues here, of course, is that no one has ever presented a proper Brexit plan for evaluation… they choose to reveal only the next steps to the populace. It seems the poor things are not to be trusted with the full scale of what they erroneously selected… as May said, they chose to leave, let them suffer the pain, as reported by Vince Cable, following a meeting with her.

  • Leaving with no deal does not mean we can forget about the Withdrawal Agreement. We would desperately need to start negotiations on an FTA (itself taking five years or more) but the EU have said that that will not happen until we sign the WA. So at best it’s a temporary painful pause before we end up returning to and signing the deal.