New poll says voters want Brexit to be on UK election agenda

Martin Banks

Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) – A recent survey found that 63% of Labour supporters want the UK to rejoin the EU, while a separate poll showed that 58% of voters believe Brexit should be a main issue in the upcoming election. Despite this, Brexit was not mentioned in a recent TV debate between the two men vying to become the next PM.

As the UK gears up for its general election on July 4, a new survey reveals that a significant majority of Labour supporters want the country to rejoin the EU. This comes as voters in the EU head to the polls for the European parliament elections, with many expecting extremist groups to perform well. Despite the significance of Brexit to the UK’s future, it has been notably absent from the election campaign so far, with neither of the main parties willing to discuss the issue.

Brexit Absent from UK Election Debate Despite Voter Concerns

A second and separate poll on voter intentions reveals that almost six in 10 voters (58 per cent) think that Brexit and Britain’s relationship with the EU should be one of the main issues in the election. So far, little or nothing has been said about Brexit in the UK campaign including in a tv debate between the two men vying to become the next PM. The findings come as millions of EU voters go to the polls this weekend in crunch elections for the European parliament. 

The We Think survey of 1,242 voters commissioned by the pro-EU European Movement UK followed an intervention by the former UK deputy prime minister Lord Michael Heseltine in the Independent newspaper last week where he warned no issue can be discussed without referring it to Brexit. Last week, UK PM Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer went head-to-head for the first time in the General Election campaign, as both leaders tried to convince the public why they deserve the top job which will be decided on 4 July.

Brexit Omertà: Campaigners Slam ITV Debate for Ignoring Elephant in the Room

The ITV debate focused on key issues facing the country such as the NHS, the cost of living crisis, immigration, and the conflict in Gaza, and how the UK’s relationship with Donald Trump – now a convicted felon – will play out if he wins a second term.  However, campaigners have criticized that Brexit was not mentioned once during the debate, despite the fact it is estimated to be costing UK economy £100bn per year.

Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for Britain and founder of tactical voting website, GetVoting.org said, “Brexit has made the cost of living crisis worse, increased labour shortages in the NHS and strained our international relations, so to talk for over an hour on the sorry state of all three without even mentioning it is at best dishonest and at worst deceitful.

“People, politicians and the press are understandably sick of talking about it, but we must break the Brexit omertà because no future Government can meet the serious challenges facing Britain if they continue to ignore the immense damage Brexit continues to cause.”

Young Voters Betrayed as UK Parties Ignore EU Future

Dr Mike Galsworthy, chair of European Movement UK, said: “Rather than a discussion on their future, young people have been offered national service instead. It is a betrayal of our younger generations that both the main parties are seeking to avoid any discussion of the European future our youth want to be talking about.

“If you ask 18- to 34-year-olds what they want – it is overwhelming that they want to join the EU and they want have discussion about the UK-Europe relationship right now in this election. It’s time to let them fight for their futures rather than forcing them to train to fight for a country that doesn’t listen.”

Voters in the Netherlands were, on Thursday, first to go to the polls in the EU elections with most other countries voting on Sunday. Some expect extremist groupings to perform well in the elections with an influx from far-right parties.

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Brussels Morning is a daily online newspaper based in Belgium. BM publishes unique and independent coverage on international and European affairs. With a Europe-wide perspective, BM covers policies and politics of the EU, significant Member State developments, and looks at the international agenda with a European perspective.
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Martin Banks is an experienced British-born journalist who has been covering the EU beat (and much else besides) in Brussels since 2001. Previously, he had worked for many years in regional journalism in the UK and freelanced for national titles. He has a keen interest in foreign affairs and has closely followed the workings of the European Parliament and MEPs in particular for some years.