Voters now want to rejoin the EU, polls show, in evidence that goods shortages and spats with Brussels are fuelling disillusionment with Brexit.
A four-point surge in support for reversing the 2016 referendum means 53 per cent back membership in a survey by Savanta ComRes, with 47 per cent wanting to stay out of the EU.
One in ten Leave voters want to rejoin the bloc, as do one in five Conservative supporters, the poll found – while 40 per cent of adults back a fresh referendum within the next five years.
Strikingly, it is the second survey in recent days to have produced the same six-point margin in favour of EU membership – nearly one year after Brexit was completed.
Savanta ComRes pointed to “momentum shifting towards a majority who would now vote to rejoin the EU”, despite no political party advocating the policy.
“Issues such as disrupted supply chains and spats with fellow European leaders over fishing and vaccines may have cut through, although the results are still on a knife-edge,” said research director Chris Hopkins.
He pointed to the 77 per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds who support rejoining – and no fewer than 80 per cent of those who failed to vote in 2016, adding: “The Brexit story isn’t going away any time soon.
“All eyes will be on those who did not vote in 2016 and younger voters who may have not had the opportunity to, who are both overwhelmingly in favour of the UK becoming a member again.”
The polls come as the economic damage from leaving the EU becomes clearer – after the Office for Budget Responsibility said GDP will fall by 4 per cent, twice the loss from the Covid pandemic.
Since what Boris Johnson called his “excellent” trade deal came into force on 1 January, exporters have protested at huge costs and barriers, which swiped £17bn from trade in just three months.
Ministers were also forced to concede that Brexit was a key cause behind the autumn food and fuel shortages – which have put Christmas deliveries at risk.
However, both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are shying away from any attempt to rejoin the EU question, Keir Starmer making clear his determination to “make Brexit work”.
Meanwhile, the prime minister is thought to see advantage in stoking Brexit battles, as a way to hang onto the Labour-switching “Red Wall” voters who delivered his 2019 landslide.
However, the Savanta ComRes poll found that one in six Leave voters would support a referendum within the next five years.
* The pollster interviewed 2,231 UK adults between 5 and 7 November, excluding don’t knows from the results obtained