Only a third of Leave voters now think Brexit was a success

24 December 2022, 07:23 | Updated: 24 December 2022, 07:25

Just a third of Leave voters think Brexit was a good idea
Just a third of Leave voters think Brexit was a good idea. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Just a third of people who voted to leave the European Union in 2016 now think Brexit was a success, according to a new poll.

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The survey by YouGov for the Times two years on from the Brexit trade deal found that 41% of Leave voters thought that Britain's departure from the EU had been worse than they thought at the time of the referendum.

Just under a quarter said Brexit had damaged Britain's place in the world, 34% said it had had a negative effect on the economy and 41% said it had been bad for immigration.

More Leave voters than not are now in favour of having a closer relationship with the EU, including possibly rejoining the single market.

But less than half of all voters - 47% - would reverse the Brexit referendum vote, even though only 20% think it was a good idea.

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The survey, which shows increasing unhappiness with the way Brexit has gone among both Leave and Remain voters, is YouGov's first detailed look at attitudes to Britain's departure since the end of the pandemic.

Some 44% of all voters thought that Brexit had had a negative effect on regulation for British businesses, and 48% thought it had harmed the UK's ability to control immigration.

Overall, just 15% of voters thought Brexit had been a success and 53% a failure. Some 34% of Leave voters thought Brexit had been a success, with 19% saying it had failed.

Pollster John Curtice said that the number of people who voted to Leave in 2016 was falling because of old age, replaced with younger people who largely think Brexit was a bad idea.

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He told the Times: "Unless the Tories can convince middle-aged voters that Brexit was a good idea, then it is an idea that will die on its feet as the electorate changes.

“There are very few voters under the age of 24 who think Brexit was a good idea.”

Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith. Picture: Getty

Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith, a prominent Leave advocate, said the results showed the government needed to do more to take advantage of Brexit.

He said: "I’m not surprised Leave voters are unhappy,” he said. “I’m bloody unhappy.

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"Boris settled for way less than he should have done in the trade deal and then didn’t do what he should have done to reshape the economy to take advantage of having left the EU.

"We need to change the face of the economy to make the UK much more competitive, but nothing has been done.”

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