British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday at UN headquarters in New York.
British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday at UN headquarters in New York. Jason DeCrow

Brexit tide turns as people learn it is complex

BRITISH people have turned their backs on Brexit, according to a new poll released just as Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to give a make or break speech on her plans for EU withdrawal.

The exclusive survey for The Independent by BMG Research showed a majority believed the country should remain in the EU, after weeks in which deadlocked Brussels talks and cabinet splits exposed the sheer complexity of withdrawal.

With time running out before Britain falls out of the bloc without terms, Ms May goes to Florence hoping to convince EU leaders of the "importance of negotiations making further progress”.

She outlined her speech to ministers on Thursday at a cabinet meeting that ended in a public display of unity, following reports that Brexiteers had planned to quit the frontbench if she dared to soften her stance.

The new poll of more than 1400 UK adults showed 52% of the public backed remaining in the EU, while 48% would support leaving.

The numbers are an exact reversal of the June 2016 referendum result and a shift from the same poll conducted two months ago, which showed a 50-50 split.

Ms May's speech is being seen as an attempt to persuade the leaders of EU countries that the UK is serious about paying its Brexit "divorce bill”, in the hope they will agree to start talking about a future trade deal.

A briefing released beforehand said Ms May would be reminding "leaders that a successful final agreement is in the interest of both sides”.

Joe Watts, The Independent



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