Will Brexit once again become Britain’s big issue?

Adam McDonnellAssociate Director of Political and Social Research
September 16, 2020, 8:21 AM UTC

At one point Brexit was the most pressing issue for Britons when surveyed, but health and the economy have now risen back above it. Now that could be changing.

Until the start of this year it was near impossible to avoid the topic of Brexit. It had dominated headlines around the country since the EU referendum back in June 2016, and remained head and shoulders the most important issue facing the country in our polling. However, after COVID-19 hit the UK Brexit quickly slid into third place behind health and the economy.

With the debate around a trade agreement with the EU starting to heat up, the number of people seeing Brexit as a top issue has been steadily increasing once again. Some 51% now point to it as a top issue facing the country, the highest number since January 2020.

This is now just two points behind Healthcare (53%) and the Economy (53%), both of which have remained key issues for the public throughout the pandemic. With Brexit discussions only likely to ramp up, it’s possible the issue could top the list next week for the first time since February.

Healthcare first topped the list of issues in March, as the lockdown rules came into place, peaking at 75%. In more recent months, the economy has caught up (peaking at 60% in July) and these two issues have been switching places as the most important amongst Brits in recent weeks.

While it appears there are now three issues of concern, coronavirus isn’t going anywhere and with talks of a possible second wave and the end of the furlough scheme approaching. It would be quite something if Brexit were to overtake healthcare and the economy as the number one issue facing the UK.

Explore the data here