Labour MPs, including a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench team, have seized on a poll suggesting the public now regrets the referendum decision to leave the EU.
A YouGov survey found that only 42% of respondents think it is right to leave the EU, compared with 47% who think it is wrong. This is the biggest gap in favour of remaining in the EU since the referendum in June.
The poll of 1,680 people for the Times, also detected some buyer’s remorse among leave voters. It found that 86% of those who voted leave thought they made the right decision, while 7% said they were wrong and 7% said they didn’t know.
The biggest gap was among female voters. Asked whether the UK was right or wrong to vote for Brexit, 49% of women said it was wrong, compared with 40% who said it was right.
Labour’s Steve Reed, shadow minister for civil society, said the poll was another sign of a turning point in public opinion on the issue.
It was also highlighted by two other prominent Labour MPs, David Lammy, and Chuka Umunna, who, like Reed, represent London seats that overwhelming backed remaining in the EU.
Labour’s official policy is that it accepts the referendum result, but its leader has sent mixed signals about whether he would support staying in the single market. This week Corbyn said he would vote to remain if there was a second referendum, but at last month’s Labour conference he said he was wary of committing to staying in the single market because it would restrict the powers of a future Labour government.
The poll was conducted earlier this week against a backdrop of news stories about growing tension in the government over Brexit. But it was held before the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned that there was a “disturbing deadlock” in the negotiations to leave the bloc.
Almost two-thirds of those polled thought the negotiations were going badly.