Brits Fear Theresa May’s Brexit Will Make Them Worse Off, Damning Poll Reveals
Just 19 per cent of people think the PM can pull off a good Brexit deal Nearly half of all people think they will be worse off after Brexit Nearly half think the negotiations are going worse than expected

Britain has lost faith in Theresa May’s ability to salvage a good Brexit deal with people increasingly fearful that they will be personally worse off.

A devastating poll by Ipsos MORI for the Evening Standard reveals a slump in confidence in the country’s prospects for Brexit and its economic aftermath.

The damning findings came as watchdogs rang alarm bells over the poor state of preparedness for the risk of Mrs May failing to get a Brexit deal at all- with warnings of potential chaos at ports, fresh vulnerabilities to criminal gangs and smugglers, a collapse of crime-fighting and biosecurity standards and possible shortages of essential goods and medicines.

The survey reveals:

  • Confidence in the Prime Minister to get a good deal in the Brexit negotiations has fallen to its lowest level yet. Just 19 per cent – fewer than a fifth – of Britons think she can pull it off, a figure that has plunged from 28 per cent last month. Some 78 per cent think she will fail, up eight points in a month.

  • Some 43 per cent think they will personally be worse off after Brexit, which has shot up from 36 per cent a year ago. Only 18 per cent think their standard of living will rise, despite the Brexiteer promises of prosperity outside the EU’s giant trade bloc, which is down two points. One in three thinks Brexit will make no difference.
  • Almost half the country, 49 per cent, feel the negotiations are going worse than expected.
  • Economic optimism has drained away to its worst level since 2011, with 61 per cent of Britons now believing that the economy will get worse in the year ahead, and just 14 per cent thinking things will improve.
  • Asked who would be to blame if talks collapse, people blamed roughly equally the Government, the EU and Conservative MPs, with a smaller number blaming Brexit campaigners. Fewer people blamed Remainers or opposition MPs.

Among Conservative supporters, confidence in the PM’s ability to pull off a good Brexit deal has plunged. Just 34 per cent of Tories think she can while 64 per cent think she will fail.

That represents a dramatic reversal since June this year when 56 per cent of Tories believed Mrs May would succeed.

The Prime Minister was hoping for a boost this afternoon when she voluntarily addresses the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs.

But rumours of a plot to oust her by gathering 48 names for a confidence vote were swirling around Westminster.

Meanwhile, at a State Banquet for the King of the Netherlands, the Queen said Britain was looking toward a “new partnership” with Europe after Brexit. King Willem-Alexander responded that “Brexit does not mean farewell”.

But their hopes were not shared by official watchdogs who produced a fresh torrent of gloomy warnings about what a no-deal departure from the EU bloc would mean for the country.

Fears of border chaos and crime were highlighted by the National Audit Office which said thousands of exporters have too little time to prepare for new rules. It said gangs could exploit weaknesses and queues were likely at ports, torpedoing the Brexiteer promises of smooth trade as a third country.

NAO boss Sir Amyas Morse, said: “What is clear is that businesses and individuals who are reliant on the border running smoothly will pay the price.”

A House of Lords report said Britain’s ability to deal with threats from animal and plant diseases could be “seriously compromised” by a no-deal Brexit.

Despite the Brexit anguish, the Conservatives are holding onto a two-point lead over Labour, at 39 to 37, unchanged since September.

But the Lib Dems have drifted down from 13 to 10 per cent following the party conference season.

The Prime Minister and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have equally dire satisfaction ratings. Just 29 per cent are happy with the way Mrs May does her job.

Mr Corbyn has recovered four points from a dip at the height of the anti-Semitism crisis but still only manages 28 per cent satisfied and 59 per cent dissatisfied.

Among Conservatives, 37 per cent are dissatisfied with Mrs May’s performance.

Gideon Skinner, the head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said the findings nevertheless showed a glimmer of hope for the embattled PM.

“The general public are clearly running out of confidence in Mrs May, but there is no sign that they think someone else could do a better job, which may be a lifeline for her.”

Mrs May was this morning warned that the European Parliament could veto a Brexit deal unless she caves in over the Irish border backstop.

Vice-president Frans Timmermans told MEPs: “The bottom line is we don’t yet have the decisive progress we need.”

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani said that without a legal backstop “it will be very difficult for Parliament to vote in favour of the Brexit treaty”.

The European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt trolled Mrs May on Twitter, saying: “Progress on the Brexit negotiations can be 90%, 95% or even 99%, but as long as there is no solution for the Irish border, as long as the Good Friday agreement is not fully secured, for us in our Parliament progress is 0%.”

HT Evening Standard

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