Brexit news latest: PM fails to win public backing for her deal as more than half of Brits reject her proposals for leaving EU, poll reveals

Theresa May‘s efforts to win public backing for her Brexit deal have failed, according to a poll that will pile pressure on her to delay a potentially crushing defeat in the Commons.

More than 60 per cent think leaving the European Union on her terms would be a bad outcome for Britain, including 47 per cent of Conservatives, Ipsos MORI said. Only 25 per cent think the deal would be good.

Seven in 10 are not confident she obtained a good agreement from the EU, including more than half of Conservative supporters. Half of the public say the deal is “worse” than they expected.

The Prime Minister launched her plan to get the public on her side two weeks ago in the hope that MPs would fall into line. But the poll for the Evening Standard suggests it has fallen flat.

In other key developments:

  • Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson called for more “gumption” and “leadership” over Brexit in an interview.
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock said No 10 was “very clear” that the Commons vote will not be postponed. He revealed planes may be used to fly medicines in a no-deal outcome.
  • Downing Street declared 30 Cabinet ministers were visiting “all corners” of the UK to sell her deal. However, some did not seem to venture far from home. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, was listed as visiting a “butchers in East Anglia”; Chancellor Philip Hammond was visiting a school in Chertsey, which is in his constituency; and Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay went to Peterborough, close to his North East Cambridgeshire seat.
  • Tory ex-minister Jo Johnson and former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband joined forces to attack the “Norway-plus” option for Brexit, which they said would cost as much as EU membership yet make the UK rule-takers. The pair urged wavering MPs to back a second referendum.

With MPs speculating that Mrs May will face a confidence vote next week, some 43 per cent of the public told Ipsos MORI they thought she should resign as Prime Minister if her plan is voted down. But 50 per cent thought she should carry on.

The Prime Minister’s efforts to win backing for her deal have failed (AP)

The public were deeply divided if the vote was lost on Tuesday, but the options that commanded biggest support were another referendum on Leave vs Remain (20 per cent); asking the EU for a better deal (19 per cent) and quitting on no-deal terms (20 per cent).

There was less support for a second Commons vote without any changes (six per cent) or a general election (10 per cent); a referendum on the deal alone (10 per cent) or scrapping Brexit without a referendum (11 per cent).

Boris Johnson has called for more ‘gumption’ over Brexit (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Treasury warnings of lower growth appear to have hit home.

By more than two to one, Britons think their own standard of living will deteriorate. Some 55 per cent think the economy will be worse off for the first five years after Brexit.

However, 45 per cent think the country will benefit in 10 to 20 years.

Mrs May’s personal ratings have improved during her battle for the deal, including among Conservatives. Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings have slipped slightly among Labour supporters.

And Tories will be cheered that they are level-pegging with Labour despite the Brexit woes, at 38 per cent each. 

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “Unfortunately for Theresa May, reaction to her withdrawal agreement is now worse than it was for the Chequers plan.”

But he warned: “Politicians aren’t going to find any easy answers in public opinion. There is little consensus among the public over the best approach to take if her deal falls.”

Chief Whip Julian Smith has admitted to ministers that the Government is heading for defeat. Some MPs think they will be more than 100 votes short. Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers urged Mrs May to delay the vote and ask the EU for better terms.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,049 adults across Great Britain by telephone, from November 30 to December 5. Data are weighted.

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