Half of British public want second vote on Brexit if no deal agreed with EU, YouGov poll finds

Written by Nicholas Mairs and Emilio Casalicchio on 10 August 2018 in News

Exactly 50 per cent of respondents to the poll said they would favour a new vote on Brexit in a ‘no-deal’ scenario

EU flag on hand - Image credit: Press Association

Half of the British public would want a second referendum on Brexit if talks with the EU break down, a new poll has found. 

A YouGov study of 10,000 people found 50 per cent of Brits would want a so-called 'people's vote' in the case of a no-deal scenario, while just 25 per cent said MPs should have the final say.

Another 25 per cent did not know. 

The UK Government has ramped up preparations for a no-deal Brexit in recent weeks, and has promised MPs a say on what happens if talks break down.

As negotiations stand at the moment, some 45 per cent of Brits believe there should be a second referendum, while just 34 per cent do not.

The poll, conducted for pro-EU campaigners, also found that when excluding don’t knows, voters would back remaining in the bloc by 53 per cent to 47 per cent if a referendum were held now.

Peter Kellner, a leading pollster and former president of YouGov, said the findings were "politically significant".

He said: “There is clearly the potential for a broadly-based campaign this autumn for a Peoples Vote, should the Brussels talks go badly.

“Support for a new referendum would go well beyond the ranks of those who want to stop Brexit.

“Across the spectrum, the message from voters in this survey is clear: if the Government and Parliament can’t sort out Brexit, the people should."

Elsewhere, the poll found 68 per cent of people agreed with the statement that the country “will get a bad deal from Brexit talks”, compared to just 13 per cent who disagree – while 64 per cent would lay the blame for a breakdown at Number 10. 

And almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of those surveyed expected the promises made by the pro-Brexit campaigns to be broken.

Meanwhile, 50 per cent said trading with the continent is more important than controlling immigration, versus to 29 per cent who disagreed.

The poll comes just weeks ahead of crunch talks between Theresa May and the EU, as leaders prepare to strike a final agreement on Britain's future relationship with the bloc.

Reports today suggest Brussels is ready to compromise by allowing Britain access to the single market for goods while ending freedom of movement for people.

The Telegraph reports that leaders of the EU27 are prepared to concede ground on the issue – which was recognised as a major factor behind the UK’s vote to leave.

However, the move would reportedly need to be matched by a trade-off that would see Britain accept all future EU environmental and social protections, in what would likely provoke outrage among hard Brexit supporters.

A senior Whitehall source told the paper: “The noises coming out of Brussels this week suggest some positive engagement with the Brexit white paper.

“That needs to translate into positive discussions in the negotiating room.”

The European Commission declined to comment on the proposal, but did not deny that member states “may be discussing it”.

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