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Half of Brits want a second Brexit referendum if no deal agreed - poll

4 min read

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

A YouGov study of 10,000 people found 50% of Brits would want a so-called 'People's Vote' in the case of a no-deal scenario, while just 25% said MPs should have the final say. Another 25% did not know. 

The 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% of Brits believe there should be a second referendum, while just 34% 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% to 47% 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% of people agreed with the statement that the country “will get a bad deal from Brexit talks”, compared to just 13% who disagree – while 64% would lay the blame for a breakdown at Number 10. 

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

Meanwhile, 50% to 29% said trading with the continent is more important than controlling immigration.


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”.


The poll comes as Labour prepares for a major showdown with its own members over whether it should back a second referendum on Brexit - which is currently against party policy.

A massive 63% of Labour voters were found to have backed a second referendum on Brexit, with just 8% opposed - while support for Remain over Leave stood at three to one. 

About 130 constituency Labour parties are said to be backing a motion for debate at the upcoming party conference in favour of a second vote.

The move piles pressure on Jeremy Corbyn, as the motion has been penned by a campaign group which supports him: Labour for People’s Vote.

According to the Guardian, the party has been mulling moves to neuter the showdown. One option could be to offer a policy statement backing a second vote in exceptional circumstances.

Labour MP and supporter of a People’s Vote, Chuka Umunna, said of the YouGov study: "This poll shows that Labour voters overwhelmingly support a People’s Vote, putting them at odds with the Party’s official pro-Brexit position.

“The Labour party must now do what its members and supporters and voters are crying out for: put clear red water between the Opposition and the Government, and provide leadership to the country by backing the People’s Vote campaign."

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