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Sat, 6 June 2020

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Tories face general election backlash if they push for no-deal, new poll finds

Tories face general election backlash if they push for no-deal, new poll finds
3 min read

More than 40% of voters say they would be less likely to back the Conservatives if the next Prime Minister triggers a no-deal Brexit, a new poll has found.

The survey is a major blow for Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, as both of the candidates in the race to replace Theresa May have vowed to exit the EU with no agreement in place if they fail to strike a new deal with the bloc.

And the expected winner Mr Johnson has vowed to deliver Brexit "do or die" by the October 31 deadline.

But according to the latest polling, 65% of voters believe the cost of "daily essentials" would be likely to rise in a no-deal scenario, while just under half (49%) say they would expect UK manufacturing exports to be hit with expensive tariffs.

The 38 Degrees poll, commissioned by the 'no to no-deal' campaign group, also found that half of voters expected the NHS would be hit by staffing shortages under a no-deal situation.

Ellie Gellard, campaigns director at 38 Degrees, said: "People didn't vote to 'Take Back Control' to put working people out of a job, for our NHS to run shirt of medicines or to threaten the future of proud British industries like manufacturing and farming.

"Today's research shows the public understand what No Deal could mean for their lives - and the Conservative Party will pay the price if the next leader is responsbile for deliver it."

Automotive worker Andrew MacIver, who voted Leave in 2016 but who now backs the 'no to no-deal' campaign, told the study: "In 2016 I voted to leave the EU. Today, seeing the harm that a no deal Brexit will cause to the UK manufacturing industry, I'm utterly opposed to a no deal Brexit."

Responding to the report, former Conservative cabinet minister Oliver Letwin, said: "These results show that many of our fellow citizens are concerned about the risks associated with a disorderly 'no deal' exit from the EU. I share that concern. It is not sensible to impose these risks on our economy and our society."

The incoming PM is already set to face a growing rebellion from Conservative MPs over the possibility of a no-deal exit.

On Monday, Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan resigned from the government, saying it was "tragic" that ministers had had to work "beneath the dark cloud of Brexit".

Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed he will resign after Theresa May's final session of Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday should Mr Johnson be named Tory leader.

The senior Cabinet minister said he would not be able to serve in Mr Johnson's cabinet if it meant accepting the "condition" of backing a no-deal Brexit on October 31.