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Public would blame Parliament more than Boris Johnson if Brexit is delayed, poll finds

3 min read

The public would blame MPs more than Boris Johnson if he ends up delaying Brexit again, a new poll has suggested.

The ComRes study for the Daily Telegraph found that just over half of voters (56%) would hold the Prime Minister responsible if Brexit does not take place by the 31 October deadline.

But more than eight in ten voters (83%) said they would point the finger at Parliament.

Seven in ten (70%) said they would blame Remain-supporting MPs specifically, while nearly two-thirds (63%) would hold the European Commission responsible.

Howver, more than two-thirds of 2016 Leave voters (64%) said they would blame Mr Johnson, a figure that rises to three-quarters (75%) among general Conservative voters. 

Mr Johnson has repeatedly insisted that Britain will leave the EU "come what may" on Hallowe'en, despite MPs last month passing a law which orders him to seek an extension from the EU if he cannot agree a Brexit deal by 19 October.

The ComRes poll found that both Leavers and Remainers blamed 'Parliament generally' more than any other entity for the current deadlock, with 94% of Brexiteers and 79% of Remainers pointing the finger at MPs.


The EU has so far given a frosty reception to plans unveiled by the Prime Minister last week in a bid to remove the Irish backstop and strike an agreement. 

Mr Johnson on Monday night urged Brussels to consider his "very fair, generous and reasonable offer".

"We haven't really heard the detail from them about what they think the problems are," he told reporters. 

"It's time for us to get together and really thrash this thing out."

But a Number 10 source - thought to be the PM's top adviser Dominic Cummings - told The Spectator's James Forsyth that talks between the two sides would "probably end this week".

And they pinned the blame on MPs for passing the extension law, known as the Benn Act.

"Those who pushed the Benn Act intended to sabotage a deal and they’ve probably succeeded," the source said.

"So the main effect of it will probably be to help us win an election by uniting the leave vote and then a no deal Brexit. History is full of such ironies and tragedies."

Former Prime Minister David Cameron meanwhile urged Mr Johnson not to try to swerve MPs' demands if he cannot strike a deal with Brussels.

Speaking at an event hosted by The Times, he warned: "You can’t disobey the law as prime minister." 

The ex-Conservative leader meanwhile said he did not know whether Mr Johnson could win an election after another Brexit delay.

ComRes spoke to 2,006 British adults between 4-6 of October for its poll.

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