Boost for pro-EU campaigners as major poll says Remain would win new vote by eight points
A majority of British voters would back staying in the European Union if the 2016 Brexit referendum were to be held again, a new poll has found.
The Channel 4/Survation study found that 54% of people would now vote to stay in the EU, compared to 46% who would back Leave.
The polling company spoke to 20,000 people and estimated that 105 local authority areas that opted to back Brexit in 2016 would now swing behind staying in the EU.
It found that support for quitting the bloc had fallen most sharply in areas that were heavily in favour of Brexit two years ago.
The survey also heaps fresh pressure on Theresa May over her Brexit plans, with a third (33%) of voters saying that would reject a deal she secures with the EU if it were put to a public vote.
Just 26% said they would accept it, with the remaining 41% saying they did not know or would not vote.
The findings come as the Prime Minister prepares to brief her Cabinet amid a fresh row between Britain and the EU over the future of the Northern Ireland border.
Mrs May will gather her top ministers after Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar flatly rejected calls from Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab to allow the UK to pull out of any 'backstop' deal aimed at maintaining an open border after just three months.
The plan was reportedly floated by the Brexit Secretary in a letter to Mrs May and raised directly with Ireland's deputy PM Simon Coveney in a meeting with Mr Raab last week.
But Mr Varadkar said any back-up solution to avoid a hard border if the UK does not agree a comprehensive deal with the EU could not be time-limited.
He said: "A backstop with a three-month limit on it, or an expiry date of that nature, isn't worth the paper it's written on."
Ahead of today's Cabinet meeting, government sources indicated that Mr Raab was not alone in his demand for Britain to be given a clear exit route from any backstop deal agreed with Brussels.
A Cabinet source told the Guardian: "I think up to half the cabinet have talked about the importance of the UK being able to end the backstop, but I don’t know how many will raise that specifically at the meeting."
One Cabinet minister told the Sun that ministers would use today's meeting to demand that Britain takes "control of the backstop".
They added: "If Theresa doesn’t stare down the EU and win a mechanism that does this, the whole argument is immaterial as there is zero chance of passing the Commons."