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UK support to rejoin the EU passes 50% for the first time

UK support to rejoin the EU passes 50% for the first time
An EU flag flies outside the UK parliament in London, Britain, 15 June 2022. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

More than half of Britons would vote to rejoin the European Union for the first time since the nation opted to leave the bloc seven years ago, YouGov polling showed.

Some 51% of Britons told the polling company that they would vote for the UK to become an EU member again, while 32% said they’d stay out, according to the survey conducted last week. The proportion in favour of rejoining has risen 11 points since January 2021, when Brexit formally took place.

The findings reflect growing disillusionment among British voters about Brexit, which triggered years of divisive debate in Parliament before the UK finally left the bloc.

Britons are yet to see the promised fruits of departure from the EU, with UK holidaymakers facing longer queues at European airports and shoppers facing higher food prices fueled by both Brexit curbs on migrant workers and its effect on supply chains. A trade deal with the US, meanwhile, held as one of the great prizes of Brexit, doesn’t look likely to materialise anytime soon.

Seven years on from the referendum, the UK remains in a cost-of-living crisis with inflation outstripping price rises elsewhere in Europe. Meanwhile, many regions which voted for Brexit are more likely to face a widening wealth and opportunity gap relative to richer parts of the UK, according to Bloomberg analysis earlier this year.

Some 57% of Britons told YouGov the UK was wrong to vote for Brexit in 2016, the highest figure the polling firm has recorded. One in five Britons who voted to leave the EU in 2016 now say it was the wrong decision.

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has repeatedly said he believes in Brexit and the opportunities it presents, but his government is nevertheless seeking to renegotiate parts of the UK’s exit deal that it fears will cause disruption and added costs to businesses and consumers.

UK officials are currently in talks with their EU counterparts to delay upcoming tariffs on electric vehicles shipped between the UK and the EU and the government is also weighing options to limit the cost of post-Brexit border checks on European food imports due to start in the next six months. 

In April, Bloomberg reported that Sunak also hopes to reach an agreement to let Britons use EU e-gates for passport checks, another friction point for tourists and business travellers since Brexit. DM


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