British expat voters set to make Tories pay for Brexit

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British expat voters set to make Tories pay for Brexit
British expat voters set to make Tories pay for Brexit

Only a quarter of Britons believe the country should be outside the European Union, according to a report published today, the lowest proportion since the 2016 vote to leave the bloc. Britain will hold a national election on July 4, its first since the country formally left the EU in 2020. Despite Europe having long been a divisive topic in British politics, the issue of Brexit has barely featured so far in the election campaign.

The British Social Attitudes survey, carried out by the National Centre for Social Research, found 24% said Britain should be outside the EU, compared to 36% in 2019 and 41% in 2016. It also found the impact of Brexit on issues such as the economy and immigration was regarded more negatively now than in 2019, when the last election was held. The change was particularly marked among those who voted ‘Leave’ in 2016.

Around 40% of Leave voters feel that the economy is worse off as a result of Brexit, compared to 18% who felt that would be the case in 2019. Nearly two-thirds now believe immigration is higher as a result of leaving the EU, compared with just 5% who previously expected that would be the case. “In short, it appears that for many of those who voted to leave the EU, Brexit has not turned out as they anticipated,” the report, co-authored by polling expert John Curtice, said. The survey of 5,578 people, carried out between Sept. 12 and Oct. 31 last year, also found public trust and confidence in government had fallen to record lows, with 45% ‘almost never’ trusting British governments to put the needs of the nation above the interests of their own political party

And scrapping the 15-year voting rule for British expats by the Conservative Party may backfire on the Tories, according to the latest surveys. This week Lord Cameron posted a video on socia media calling on expats to use their right to vote and it looks like they will, but to the benefit of Labour and the Lib Dems. It appears many UK citizens living in Spain and across Europe are set to vote against the Conservatives as they are ‘still living in the consequences of Brexit’,

Dr Susan Collard, from the University of Sussex, told The Times there was no evidence to suggest that voting intention among Britain’s expat community had changed since she carried out a 2020 study into the potential impact of the rule changes. The combined vote share for Labour and the Liberal Democrats rose from 56 per cent in 2015 to 85 per cent in 2019, it also showed.

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