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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Bregrets, we've had a few

The Independent reports on a new poll from Pollster UnHerd Britain that highlights which areas of UK have the most and least regrets about Brexit.

They say that the research suggests that the constituencies which most strongly voted for or against Brexit are still entrenched in their views almost seven years on despite the national mood shifting.

Bristol West, which had one of the highest Remain vote shares of 79.3 per cent in 2016, is cited as the constituency where most voters have expressed regret at the UK leaving the European Union:

Pollster UnHerd Britain found that 69 per cent of constituents in Bristol West agreed with the statement ‘Britain was wrong to leave the European Union’, with 50 per cent ‘strongly agreeing’ and 19 per cent ‘mildly agreeing’. This was far higher than the national average - which saw 37 per cent strongly agree and 17 per cent mildly agree.

Edinburgh South, Streatham, Manchester (Witherington) and Islington North - where Jeremy Corbyn is MP - were the other constituencies in the top five, having all seen high Remain votes in 2016.

Meanwhile, Boston and Skegness, which saw 75.6 per cent of votes in the referendum in favour of Brexit – the UK’s highest – saw the least amount of regret among constituents.

UnHerd found 32 per cent of residents in the Lincolnshire seat’s boundary ‘strongly disagree’ with the same statement and 9 per cent ‘mildly agree’. South Holland and the Deepings, Louth and Horncastle, South West Norfolk – Liz Truss’s constituency – and Penrith were also in the top five places to show the least level of Brexit regret having also strongly voted leave in 2016.

Earlier this month, a Savanta survey for The Independent showed 65 per cent of UK participants felt there should be a second referendum. Chris Hopkins, from Savanta, said: “It’s hard to imagine being in the EU would solve any of the country’s current economic issues,” adding: “but perceptions matter”.

What is not clear is how big the sample was in each of these constituencies, which is important in assessing margin of error. However, even if these polls are correct, and there is now a small majority in favour of rejoining the EU, the likelihood of us doing so is remote.

This is not just because winning another referendum will be tough, it will actually be very difficult, but it is highly unlikely that the EU would want us back. 

In my view the main focus should be on pushing to rejoin the single market. If only there was a political party prepared to put its head above the parapet and campaign on that basis.

Bristol West is the constituency of probably the strongest advocate of the EU within the Labour party, and she has not backtracked as so many of her colleagues have.
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