Tuesday

22nd Jan 2019

Leave voters would accept economic woes to ensure Brexit

  • A majority of Leave voters take a hardline position on Brexit. (Photo: Reuters)

Six in ten Leave voters think that significant damage to the UK economy is worth it, as long as Brexit happens, a new YouGov poll shows.

While leading politicians in London debate on how to pursue Brexit, and with the EU negotiations having already begun, the survey shows that those who support leaving the EU do not mind paying a heavy economic price.

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  • The YouGov poll on the attitude of Leave voters. (Photo: Yougov.co.uk)

Finance minister Philip Hammond has also warned of dire economic consequences after Brexit. Nevertheless, almost 40 percent of Leave voters appear not to mind losing their jobs if it meant an end to the UK’s EU membership.

The survey’s results, published on Tuesday (1 August), show that 61 percent of Leave voters consider “significant damage to the British economy to be a price worth paying for bringing Britain out of the EU”.

Only 20 percent of Leave voters think that is not a price worth paying.

The survey also shows that 39 percent of the Leave voters do not mind a personal cost either - they would be willing to lose their own job or that of a family member if it meant leaving the EU.

On the other hand, 38 percent of Leave voters think that job losses would be too much of a price to pay.

Older Leave voters are even more hardline: 71 percent of Leave voters over the age of 65 think that significant damage to the economy is worth it, whereas only 46 percent of voters between the age of 18 and 24 agree with that proposition.

The Remain camp have their 'extremists', as well. Thirty-four percent of Remain voters say that “significant damage to the UK economy would be a price worth paying for if it means that Britain stayed in the European Union”.

Thirty-eight percent of Remain voters think that damage to the economy would be too high a price to stay in the EU. And only 18 percent of them think that losing their job would be a price worth paying to stay in the bloc.

This could mean that supporters of a soft Brexit might not win much backing among voters when appealing for economic common sense.

Meanwhile, Hammond, who has been pushing for a softer Brexit and a transitional deal that maintains strong ties with the EU, has received some support from former Conservative foreign secretary William Hague.

In an opinion article published in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, Hague said that Hammond’s plan for a transitional period of up to three years after March 2019 - along the lines of an existing “off-the-shelf” model, such as a Norway-style agreement - was the best way of trying to rescue Brexit.

He said there was a "clear potential for Brexit to become the occasion of the greatest economic, diplomatic and constitutional muddle in the modern history of the UK, with unknowable consequences for the country, the government and the Brexit project itself".

Hammond’s plan, to use an off-the-shelf model for the transitional period, was ruled out on Monday by 10 Downing Street.

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