Arguments against a Final Say referendum on Brexit are flawed, as this research makes clear
Theresa May has rejected calls for a second referendum on the grounds that it would ‘undermine faith in democracy’ – the truth is, the damage has already been done
The report, which draws on polling of 32,000 people over the last 12 months by Populus and YouGov, and focus group discussions, shows the nation’s mood is much more complex than “just get on with Brexit,” as Brexiteers repeatedly claim.
The stark message from this study is that the damage has already been done.
Only 20 per cent of people trust this government to deliver a good Brexit for them, with Leave voters (66 per cent) almost as likely as Remain voters (75 per cent) to feel this mistrust.
Only 21 per cent support May’s proposed deal, while 47 per cent oppose it.
Overall, the findings undermine the arguments against another referendum. We are already a polarised country, with 58 per cent of people regarding themselves as either a hard Leaver or hard Remain supporter.
So much for May’s talk of the country coming together.
The cautious approach of both May and Jeremy Corbyn, as they try to hold their divided parties together on Brexit, appears to be turning off the voters. Strikingly, only 32 per cent of people believe any of the main parties reflect what they think, with Leavers slightly more likely to feel unrepresented.
This should worry both the Tories and Labour; whatever happens in the Brexit endgame, it could leave them with a huge job of rebuilding trust.
Hope Not Hate is right to argue that, with trust falling in politicians and in the process, scraping together an unloved last-minute deal without consulting the public becomes ever more ludicrous and dangerous.
It found support for a pause, with 42 per cent of people saying it would be sensible to delay leaving the EU by a few months to agree a better deal with the EU and/or to hold a referendum.
Some 43 per cent support another public vote, but 38 per cent are against the idea. Some 39 per cent favour consultative citizens’ assemblies as a means of finding consensus on the way out of the Brexit maze.
The idea is attracting growing interest among MPs and will be proposed by the Labour backbencher Stella Creasy in tonight’s Commons debate on Brexit; though it is unlikely to command a majority.
Now that so much new information about Brexit has come to light since 2016, the public may be more hungry to have the Final Say than many politicians choose to imagine. More public debate, involvement and decision-making cannot be anti-democratic.