23 June 2023

At least 20% of Brexit supporters would now vote differently, BBC poll finds

23 June 2023

At least 20% of Brexit supporters would vote differently if they were asked now, a poll of hundreds of people on BBC Question Time has found.

Audience members were quizzed on whether Brexit was the right thing to do, with the results showing 70% still agreed, 20% would vote differently while 10% were unsure.

The poll was carried out as part of a special episode of the show in which the audience was made up solely of Leave voters.

It was recorded in Clacton-on-sea, Essex, on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the EU referendum on 23 June.

The Tendring area of Essex – which includes Clacton – had one of the highest leave votes in England in the 2016 referendum, with almost 70% of people voting for Brexit.

One audience member, who admitted he would vote differently now, said: “I don’t see any benefit from it all”, while another blamed the efforts of politicians to “frustrate” the process and said: “We haven’t started Brexit yet, when’s it going to start?”

The questions discussed during the show included the impact of Brexit on the cost of living, the benefits and downsides of Brexit, the effect of Brexit on immigration and what the Conservatives and Labour should offer as a Brexit strategy for the next election.

Conservative MP John Redwood said the cost of living is “not at all” to do with Brexit and said a fall in inflation “should be coming quite soon”.

He added that it was a “dreadful mistake” by Western banks including the Bank of England to depress interest rates and said: “They created the money and credit explosion.”

Former No 10 press secretary Alastair Campbell received a round of applause from the audience for his opening comments in which he said the British public were “lied to” and called for Boris Johnson to be held accountable.

He said: “You were lied to. You were told that it would be pain-free. You were told that it would all be upsides, no downsides.

“We’re all of us paying a higher price in our cost of living and everything else because of the lies we were told.”

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister Baroness Jenny Chapman criticised the Government’s handling of Brexit but added “we can put the ‘great’ back into Great Britain”.

She said: ”What you can’t have is this kind of mess of a government who are more concerned about peerages for their mates and partying during lockdown.

“They’re spending far more time on those things than they are on fixing the deal.”

However, businessman and Reform UK member Ben Habib said: “The reasons we haven’t seen the Brexit dividends we should have seen are because we haven’t Brexited properly.”

He blamed a lack of deregulation, stating: “We are hitched at the hip to the EU, and that’s why we haven’t got the dividends because we can’t deregulate, we can’t cut taxes and we can’t put more money in your pockets.”

On the subject of borders, he received a round of applause for his comments on Britain’s reliance on immigrant workers.

He said: “The reason we’ve got rampant unchecked legal migration is because the Government hasn’t got joined up thinking on how to skill up our own native population.

“One of my biggest problems with this Government is it no longer pays to work in the United Kingdom if you are a low skilled worker.”

Regarding Labour’s Brexit Policy at the next election Baroness Chapman ruled out re-entering the EU and highlighted the UK-EU Veterinary agreement, the European Horizon research and innovation programme, qualifications and getting rid of red tape as key areas of focus for a potential Labour government.

Mr Habib on the other hand called on the current government to scrap the deal with Northern Ireland.

He said: “The Windsor framework needs to be ditched.

“What we’ve got now is a border right down the middle of the United Kingdom – that is an abomination to me.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, asked about his stance on Brexit during a visit to an RAF base in Oxfordshire on Friday, said there was “no case for going back into the EU”.

He said: “I think the overwhelming feeling across this country, whichever way people voted all those years ago, is we have got to make this work.

“The deal we’ve got isn’t working properly, so we need to improve upon that and make sure we can make a success of this as we go forward.”

Downing Street said the UK was capitalising on the benefits afforded by the Brexit vote.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are already using Brexit freedoms in a raft of areas to benefit people up and down the country.

“On businesses, things like Solvency II.

“We have a new model of medicines approval to help the public get cutting-edge drugs faster. We have a points-based immigration system. And we are agreeing new trade deals.”

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