Dismayed and disillusioned: Shropshire Star readers give their Brexit verdict
People are fed up with Brexit – and can see no real way out of the stalemate out country finds itself in.
Shropshire Star readers want MPs to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal and many say a second vote should be given, according to our opinion poll.
A total of 4,500 readers took part in our survey, with an overwhelming 84 per cent calling for MPs to reject Theresa May’s controversial Brexit agreement.
Almost three-quarters of those who took part said they would back a second referendum to decide whether Britain should stay in or exit the EU. And a similar number said they would now vote to stay in.
This is despite Shropshire voting decisively to leave the EU when the referendum was held in 2016.
Almost seven in 10 said they did not believe Brexit would actually happen.
Despite the findings, both Brexiteers and Remain supporters in the region said they believed Britain would leave the EU one way or another.
Bill McClements, who campaigned to stay in the EU, said he believed Mrs May’s deal would eventually go through, although it would probably be voted down the first time it went before Parliament.
He said much of the disillusionment probably stemmed from the poor quality of the debate when the vote took place two years ago.
“There were MPs who did not even know what a customs union was,” he said.
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Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies said he understood why some people thought Britain was not going to leave the EU, but was confident it would happen as planned on March 29.
“The only way I could see our membership going beyond that date is if it was for a significant purpose, such as the time being extended to strike a deal along the lines of the European Free Trade area,” he said.
“But I still think we will leave the EU on time, it’s what the people voted for in the highest election turnout in British history.”
The poll also found that almost two-thirds wanted Mrs May to resign – but few have any faith in Labour and Jeremy Corbyn to do any better.
Mr Davies said he fully supported the Prime Minister, saying she had done a good job at a very difficult time.
But veteran eurosceptic Christopher Gill, who clashed with former prime minister Sir John Major over his handling of the Maastricht Treaty which effectively created the European Union, was not surprised people were calling for her to resign.
“She has ignored the will of the British people, and betrayed their trust in the political process,” he said.
Not keen on Theresa May’s deal, not happy with the alternatives. Unhappy with the Government, no confidence in the opposition.
For all the talk of a divided Britain, the Shropshire Star’s Brexit polls suggests our readers are united in one thing – a feeling of disillusionment with the political process.
But despite Shropshire voting for Brexit by a clear margin during the 2016 referendum, the overwhelming majority of people who took part in our survey said they wanted to remain in the EU.
Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement, approved by the EU’s heads of government this week, got a firm thumbs down in our poll.
Of the 4,500 people who took part, only 16 per cent said MPs should vote through the deal. The remaining 84 per cent said it should be rejected.
Mrs May’s handling of the negotiations was even more unpopular, with just nine per cent believing the Government has done a good job, while 91 per cent said it hadn’t.
That said, the public had little confidence in the opposition, either. Only 23 per cent of those who voted believe Jeremy Corbyn and Labour would have struck a better deal, with 77 per cent saying they wouldn’t.
Almost two-thirds, 65 per cent thought it was time for Mrs May to resign as prime minister, with the other 35 per cent believing she should remain in office.
Despite Britain having gone to the polls little more than two years ago, there does appear to be growing calls for a second vote.
Our survey found that 73 per cent wanted a second referendum on on the matter, with 27 per opposed to another vote.
If a referendum were called, our poll suggests the result would be very different.
In the referendum, the Shropshire Council area voted to leave by a margin of 57-43, while in Telford & Wrekin the Leave vote was even stronger, at 63.2 per cent compared to 36.8 per cent who wanted to stay.
But our poll now paints a very different picture. Of those who took part, only a quarter said they would vote Leave, with 74 per cent saying the would opt to stay in. One per cent said they were unsure.
And it seems that most people believe they will get their way. Only 31 per cent said they believed Brexit would happen, with the vast majority believing we would remain in the EU.
The paradox is that while most people who took part in our survey now say they want to remain in the EU, and appear to believe that is what will actually happen, they are also resolutely gloomy about the nation’s future.
Just 30 per cent said they were optimistic about the future of the UK, with seven in 10 saying they were not.
Of course, some of this could be down to people on both sides of the fence fearing that their wishes will be betrayed.
It is possible that a significant portion of those who think Britain will not leave the EU are actually Brexit supporters, and indeed it may be that those who believe Brexit will happen are actually remainers.
Nevertheless, the sheer numbers suggest that readers’ disenchantment with the political system runs much deeper that Brexit.
Meanwhile, in a similar poll run by our sister paper the Express & Star, 68 per cent of readers called on MPs to vote down Mrs May’s plan when it goes before the Commons.
The poll, which saw 5,000 people take part, also showed that 85 per cent said they were unhappy with the Government’s handling of Brexit.
The Black Country had some of the highest pro-Brexit areas in the UK, with nearly 70 per cent voting out in some boroughs.