Most of the British public would prefer a Brexit deal rather than crashing out of the European Union without one, a Sky Data poll reveals.
However, they are divided on whether the deal should include the Irish backstop – which would see the UK effectively remain in the EU customs union and avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Asked to choose between Theresa May’s initial Brexit deal including the backstop, a version of the same deal without the backstop, or a no-deal Brexit, leaving without a deal is the most popular single option – but significantly more would prefer a deal of some sort if you count the different options together.
Four in ten (39%) would prefer a no-deal Brexit, 34% would like to see a deal without a backstop and 27% would most prefer Mrs May’s initial deal.
The majority of people think that those saying any deal including a backstop should be rejected are really pushing for a no-deal Brexit, with 51% saying this is their agenda, 22% saying it is not and 27% unsure.
On the other side of the Brexit debate, six in ten Britons (60%) think most people saying we should delay Brexit by extending Article 50 are trying to stop Brexit entirely – 23% say they are not, and 17% answer don’t know.
MPs have voted for a proposal calling for the prime minister to find “alternative arrangements” to the backstop in her Brexit deal, but the EU has said the withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation.
Parliament also voted to symbolically state that MPs reject leaving the EU without a deal, but voted against a proposal that would have delayed Brexit if the House of Commons had not approved a deal by 26 February.
The Irish backstop would see the UK effectively remain in the EU customs union – and avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – if a deal on the future relationship can’t be agreed after Brexit.
The prime minister previously insisted that this would only be a temporary measure, but many Leave-supporting MPs raised concerns about the UK being unable to exit the backstop without the EU agreeing.
Sky Data interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,036 UK adults by SMS on 30 January 2019. Data are weighted to the profile of the population. Sky Data is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
For full Sky Data tables, please click here.
:: Sky News will broadcast a special live debate at 7pm tonight – Brexit Crisis: Deal or No Deal – from Sunderland, a city that voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU.
(c) Sky News 2019: Sky Data poll: Public prefer a deal instead of hard Brexit