Who would Leave voters blame if Brexit doesn’t happen?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
March 01, 2019, 8:54 AM GMT+0

The EU and those MPs who blocked May’s deal top the list

With the Labour party now backing a second referendum, the prospect of Brexit being cancelled becomes slightly more plausible. A YouGov tracker found the number of people who think a second referendum is now the most likely outcome rising from 12% to 19% following Labour’s announcement.

Many commentators have suggested that remaining would lead to a catastrophic loss of trust in the political system – or even civil unrest. But who would Leave voters blame should the referendum result be overturned?

Unsurprisingly, 82% of Leave voters would hold responsible those MPs who opposed May’s deal in an attempt to stop Brexit. Some 65% of respondents said these MPs would bear “a lot” of the responsibility.

Those MPs who opposed May’s deal because they wanted a softer Brexit would be blamed by 80% of Leave voters, with 48% considering them to bear “a lot” of the responsibility.

Others lay the blame firmly at the door of Brexiteers themselves. Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein said of the ERG this week: “When Theresa May returned from the negotiations, the deal done, all they had to do was vote for it and Brexit would have been secure. Now, it isn’t… You betrayed you. You can’t count and you can’t compromise and you can’t take yes for an answer.”

And indeed, a majority of Leave voters would blame those MPs who refused to back Theresa May’s deal because they were holding out for a harder or no-deal Brexit.

Six in ten (63%) say those MPs who held out for a harder Brexit would hold at least some responsibility for Brexit not happening, with 59% saying the same of MPs who held out for no-deal.

Notably, far fewer Leave voters would believe these MPs to have “a lot” of the responsibility (29% and 26% respectively) than those MPs working for a softer Brexit or no Brexit at all.

The EU would also be a key culprit in the eyes of Leave voters should the UK’s exit not come to pass. Overall, 80% would blame the EU, with 59% saying the body would bear “a lot” of responsibility.

The Prime Minister herself would be culpable in the eyes of 69% of Leave voters. With a relatively low 30% feeling that she would bear “a lot” of responsibility. She fares better than Jeremy Corbyn, who 75% would hold responsible to an extent, with 48% considering him to bear “a lot” of responsibility.

Photo: Getty

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