Poll: Fewer Brits believe Brexit was a mistake

A new poll has found that 45 per cent of Britons thought that Britain was right to vote to leave the EU, while 44 per cent said that the decision was wrong, a smaller gap than a week ago.

Vote to leave flag | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

17 Aug 2016

It says that four out of 10 respondents thought that Britain would be worse off as a result of leaving the EU and 37 per cent believed that Brexit would not have a dramatic effect.

Some 47 per cent thought it would reduce the number of immigrants, while 37 per cent believed it would make no real difference, according to the YouGov poll.

As the fallout from the EU referendum on 23 June continues to filter through, two senior Italian government members have called for a "Schengen of defence".


Speaking in the wake of the landmark Brexit vote which will see the UK exit the EU, Italy’s foreign and defence ministers, Paolo Gentiloni and Roberta Pinotti said, "While the UK’s exit from the EU deprives us of a member state with remarkable military capabilities, it does, nevertheless, open up new prospects for a common European defence.

"Italy invites its partners to begin a discussion over a more ambitious option: the launch by a group of EU member states of some kind of Union for European defence.

"With a view to this ‘Schengen of defence’, a group of member states could speed up their integration in the domain of defence by mutualising a certain number of capabilities and resources."

In a Le Monde op ed, the ministers said, "This would not be about creating a ‘European army’ bringing together the entirety of the national forces of the participating countries, but rather setting up a ‘multinational European force’ - whose tasks and mandate would be established jointly, and which would have a common command structure, decision-making mechanisms and budget."

Elsewhere, a spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Theresa May has responded to reports that there could be a delay in the process of leaving the EU.

Recent media reports say that the UK may not begin the formal process for leaving the EU until the end of next year.

On Tuesday, the spokesperson said, "The Prime Minister is providing the kind of leadership you would expect to confront this serious and very complex task and the full weight of the machinery of government has been put behind it…article 50 notification won’t happen before the end of 2016."

There are also reports that British government ministers are stepping up efforts to engage the Scottish government in the Brexit negotiations. 

"What we need to do is get the best deal possible for Scotland and for the UK," Scotland Minister Lord Dunlop said, calling on the Scottish government to join in a "Team UK" approach. 

He said that the last thing Scottish business needed at the moment "is further discussion about a second independence referendum, which creates another layer of uncertainty."

Separately, following the Treasury’s guarantee around EU funding announced over the weekend, Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke has sent a letter to David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, in which he suggested that the structural and investment projects which require approval following the Autumn Statement will undergo tests to ensure they "best serve the UK‘s national interest".

Meanwhile, Italian MEP Barbara Spinelli has warned that Europe is facing the prospect of a rerun of the 1930s and the rise of fascism.

She called for a complete overhaul of the EU to iron out its "ruinous deficiencies", saying the unaccountability of decision making has made the EU unsustainably unpopular.


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