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Montevideo, June 16th 2019 - 04:51 UTC

Six out of ten voters said UK's exit from EU increased prospect of splitting up

Thursday, May 24th 2018 - 08:35 UTC
Full article 20 comments
“Support for the Union is strong, but people are understandably nervous about the future. The UK needs a ‘new Unionism’” “Support for the Union is strong, but people are understandably nervous about the future. The UK needs a ‘new Unionism’”

Most voters are in favor of the Union but believe Brexit has made the break-up of the United Kingdom more likely, polling has found. In England, 68% of adults backed the UK status quo followed by 66% in Wales, 59% in Northern Ireland and 52% in Scotland, according to the ICM research. But across the four nations, up to six out of 10 voters said Britain’s exit from the European Union had increased the prospect of the UK splitting up.

The study for Policy Exchange comes ahead of its conference on the union and unionism, which includes speeches from Environment Secretary Michael Gove, DUP leader Arlene Foster and Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

Dean Godson, director of the think tank, said: “Support for the Union is strong – but people are understandably nervous about the future. The UK needs a ‘new Unionism’, one based not just on the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, but on the regions and peoples within them.

“A new Unionism would not deny the difficulties faced by the United Kingdom, but Brexit also provides an opportunity for a reboot of one of the most successful nation states in modern history.”
Concerns about a Brexit-fuelled break-up of the UK were most pronounced in Northern Ireland where 60% of voters believed it was likely to happen. Failure so far to find a solution to the Irish border issue has proved the key stumbling block in exit negotiations. Scotland followed on 59%, England on 58% and 54% in Wales.

Ms Davidson said UK should become less London-centric to strengthen and protect the union. She called for major institutions – such as the British Museum – to consider setting up elsewhere in the UK, as well as for most fishing infrastructure to be moved to Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon promised to “restart the debate” on Scottish independence with the publication of her party’s long-awaited growth commission this Friday.

ICM polled 533 people in England, 514 in Scotland, 513 in Wales and 500 in Northern Ireland between May 15 and May 17


Categories: Politics, International.

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  • DemonTree

    I'm surprised support for the union is so low, even in England, and surprised it's only 6 in 10 who thought Brexit increased the chance of a breakup.

    TV, remember Wales voted to leave the EU, and I think people in NI were more worried about the border than about losing handouts. Cornwall also benefited greatly from EU handouts but voted strongly for Brexit.

    What's wrong with the Westminster gvmt deciding how to spend taxes is exactly the London-centricness that means they give problems in other regions a lower priority. For you London seems much closer than Brussels, but for someone in the the Outer Hebrides that is not necessarily true. Having a devolved government seems to have benefited Scotland, maybe places like the South West would also be better off if more decisions were made locally?

    May 24th, 2018 - 01:50 pm +1
  • The Voice

    I said 'UK' residents, I didnt say Westminster. The UKs regional assemblies can do a better job of distributing funds than Brussells bureaucrats. But, some things, like agricultural subsidies should be decided by Parliament.

    Having lived in South Wales for many years I know that Wales has many groupings, the Valley peoples, the Southern City people, the anglo friendly people of mid and west wales and the welsh speakers of North Wales. To say that Wales voted this way or that way is obsfucation, its not a cohesive whole, nowhere in the UK is these days. Have you ever been to the Hebrides, the number of English accents is amazing?

    To break up the UK would be an act of madness and realistically its not likely at all. This is just another Project Fear stunt by the smarting Remainers who think they run things but dont.

    May 25th, 2018 - 09:49 am 0
  • DemonTree

    Yes, you said UK residents, but in practice the decisions will be made by the government in Westminster. You understand that for eg Scottish nationalists, the UK government appears as exactly the distant, unresponsive bureaucracy that Brussels does to you, where decisions are made by and for England instead of France and Germany? And judging by what you have said here, you don't trust them yourself much more than the government in Brussels.

    Yes, Wales has many groups, and the results there resist any simple explanation. Maybe you shouldn't be addressing 'Scots, Welsh and Irish UK residents' as a group if you know perfectly well they are not one cohesive whole?

    “To break up the UK would be an act of madness and realistically its not likely at all.”

    That is exactly what people said about Brexit. Now we know all too well that people will vote for mad things, do you trust that the SNP supporters are saner than you?

    May 25th, 2018 - 11:32 am 0
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