Brexit poll shows majority of Britons want to remain in the EU | News | DW | 17.12.2017
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Brexit poll shows majority of Britons want to remain in the EU

As Prime Minister Theresa May enters the second phase of Brexit negotiations, a poll commissioned by UK daily The Independent shows that more than half of Britons want to remain in the European Union.

A poll conducted by the BMG Research group for UK newspaper The Independent shows that 10 percent more Britons want to remain in the European Union.

BMG Research asked 1,509 adults living in Britain from December 5-8, "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union, or leave the European Union?" Of the respondents, 51 percent backed "remain," while 41 percent voted "leave." Seven percent said "don't know," and when they were pressed to give an answer or be left out of the results, 55.5 percent backed "remain" and 44.5 percent backed "leave."

The Independent claims the difference was the largest margin since the referendum.

"The last time Leave polled ahead of Remain was in February 2017, and since then there has been a slow shift in top-line public opinion in favor of remaining in the EU," Michael Turner, head of polling at BMG Research, told the Independent.

"However, readers should note that digging deeper into the data reveals that this shift has come predominantly from those who did not actually vote in the 2016 referendum, with around nine in 10 Leave and Remain voters still unchanged in their view."

In the June 2016 referendum vote, 52 percent of voters chose to leave the European Union, while 48 percent voted to remain. The voter turnout was 72.2 percent.

"Our polling suggests that about a year ago, those who did not vote in the referendum were broadly split, but today's poll shows that they are now overwhelmingly in favor of remaining in the EU, by a margin of more than four to one," Turner added.

Brexit 'will not be derailed'

Watch video 01:53

Relief in Brussels: Brexit talks to go into second phase

Critics of Prime Minister Theresa May, who replaced David Cameron as the head of the UK's Conservative Party following the Brexit referendum, have questioned the way she has handled the country's transition out of the EU. She responded those critics in an editorial in the Sunday Telegraph, saying her government is "proving the doubters wrong."

"Amid all the noise, we are getting on with the job," she wrote. "In the face of those who want to talk Britain down, we are securing the best and most ambitious Brexit deal for our whole United Kingdom. And my message today is very clear: we will not be derailed from this fundamental duty to deliver the democratic will of the British people."

Tony Blair, the UK's prime minister from 1997-2017, struck a different tone in an interview with The Guardian, saying that the UK leaving the EU is "an extraordinary thing to do."

"It's a decision to relegate ourselves as a country," Blair said.

On Friday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May secured a deal that cleared the way for the second phase of Brexit talks, ones world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, expect to be tougher. Britain plans on leaving the EU in March 2019.

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