UK trade union polls show backing for second EU referendum

YouGov poll shows 68 percent of members of three biggest unions want rerun of referendum on UK's membership of the EU.

    An anti-Brexit protester outside Britain's Houses of Parliament [Hannah McKay/Reuters]
    An anti-Brexit protester outside Britain's Houses of Parliament [Hannah McKay/Reuters]

    A survey of Britain's three largest trade unions has found overwhelming backing for a second referendum on the UK's continued membership of the European Union.

    The YouGov poll of Unite, Unison, and GMB members also found a clear majority backed remaining in the 28-member bloc.

    A margin of 68 percent of respondents said they wanted another vote compared with 32 percent who said there should not be another referendum.

    One of the main reasons cited for opposing Brexit included worsening economic prospects such as fewer job opportunities. 

    The poll was commissioned by the People's Vote campaign, which is calling for a referendum on whether to choose the government's final deal to leave the EU or to reject the idea of Brexit outright.

    As the unions are affiliates of the opposition Labour Party, the results will add to calls for its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to back the People's Vote campaign.

    Corbyn has been criticised for his stance on Brexit, which many within his own party see as too closely aligned to the government's "Hard Brexit" stance.

    The UK has until March 2019 to conclude an agreement on the terms of its exit from the EU, with lack of preparation and internal divisions over the issue within the government slowing the pace of negotiations.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May was only able to agree on a common negotiating platform with her cabinet in July and even that led to the resignation of Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

    Her Conservative Party is bitterly split between those who wish to have a clean break with the EU on the party's hard right and those that want to maintain some arrangements with the EU, such as a common trade and customs area.

    In an editorial for the Mail on Sunday, Johnson compared Conservative leaders' plan to putting a "suicide vest" around the British constitution and handing the detonator to the EU.

    Concerns for those opposed to a hard Brexit include the ease of maintaining manufacturer supply chains, which for many industries are spread across the EU, and fears that multinational companies will relocate to the continent due to its larger markets.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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