UK voters should make final Brexit decision if talks with EU collapse -poll

People's March Against Brexit in London. [Andy Rain/EPA/EFE]

If Brexit talks break down without a deal, half of Britons believe the final decision over whether to leave the European Union should be taken by the public in a referendum, according to a survey.

Among the 10,000 people interviewed, YouGov poll found that twice as many respondents favoured the public rather than parliament taking a decision between remaining in the EU or leaving the bloc without a deal.

The survey was commissioned by the pro-referendum “People’s Vote” campaign group.

With less than eight months until Britain is due to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to find a proposal to maintain economic ties with the bloc that pleases both sides of her divided party and is acceptable to negotiators in Brussels.

At the weekend, British trade minister Liam Fox warned he saw a 60% chance of a “no-deal” Brexit, which would see the world’s fifth-largest economy quit the EU on 29 March 2019, without a trade agreement. Concerns over the prospect of that outcome have weighed on sterling.

UK trade minister says EU is pushing Britain to no-deal Brexit

The United Kingdom is now likely to leave the European Union without a deal due to the “intransigence” of the European Union, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told the Sunday Times.

The poll, conducted from 31 July to 7 August, found 45% of voters supported holding a referendum on completion of the negotiations whatever the outcome, while 34% opposed it.

Asked who should make the decision between staying or leaving if the talks broke down without a deal, 50% said it should be the public voting in a referendum while 25% said it should be lawmakers voting in parliament.

Faced with a three-way choice between remaining in the EU, leaving without a deal or accepting May’s deal, 40% favoured remaining, 27% wanted to leave without a deal and 11% would vote to leave with the deal proposed.

May has repeatedly ruled out holding another public vote on Brexit, saying the public spoke at a 23 June 2016, referendum, in which 51.9% of the votes cast backed leaving the EU while 48.1% backed staying.

The poll also found 74% of those questioned believed the negotiations were going badly, and 68% thought that made it likely Britain would get a bad deal.

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