Anti-Brexit protester Steve Bray (L) and a pro-Brexit protester argue as they demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on January 08, 2019 in London, England (Image: Getty Images)
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Remain would snatch victory if the Brexit referendum were held today, according to a new poll published five years on from the divisive vote.
The referendum vote on June 23, 2016, marked the start of half a decade of political wrangling, division and protest, before the UK finally left Brussels’ orbit on January 30, 2020.
But a new poll by Savanta ComRes published on the five-year anniversary of the vote finds that if the referendum was re-run now the result would be a narrow win for Remain – by 51% to 49%.
The actual result on June 23 2016 was 51.9% for Leave and 48.1% for Remain.
After major developments including two general elections, Brexit deals and the pandemic since 2016, around a third of respondents – 31% – said Brexit had been a success, while slightly more – 34% – regarded it as a failure.
More than half – 51% – said it had left the country more divided with just 13% who thought it was more united.
Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes said: “On the five year anniversary of the Brexit vote this poll shows a country just as divided as it was during the campaign, with a re-run of the referendum on a knife-edge according to this voting intention, and the opportunity to rejoin being favoured by a majority of those who voted Remain in 2016, rather than ‘accepting’ the 2016 vote and moving on.
"However, if either of these questions were to be put to the British people again, those who did not vote in 2016 look to be a key source of Remain/Rejoin support, and there are always likely to be sceptics regarding whether such potential voters would even turn out in any future vote, and therefore those still in favour of Remaining or Rejoining would need to do much more to convince Leavers that they’d made the wrong decision in 2016, rather than relying on those who did not vote last time to turn out.”
While many of the changes over the last six months have been overshadowed by the Covid pandemic, the UK’s departure has led to fundamental shifts.
The country has more freedom over trade, immigration and our own laws – but Brits are no longer entitled to freedom of movement in the EU and face more expensive imports and the loss of trade.
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Marking the anniversary of the vote, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Five years ago the British people made the momentous decision to leave the European Union and take back control of our destiny.
“This Government got Brexit done and we’ve already reclaimed our money, laws, borders and waters."
He added: “The decision to leave the EU may now part of our history, but our clear mission is to utilise the freedoms it brings to shape a better future for our people.”