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    A Pro-EU membership supporter hold a stuffed toy dog covered in union flags, outside the High Court, on the second day of the lawsuit of Gina Miller, a founder of investment management group SCM Private in London, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016.

    UK Public Overwhelmingly Opposed to Theresa May's 'Deal or No Deal' Proposal

    © AP Photo / Frank Augstein
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    Britons overwhelmingly oppose Prime Minister Theresa May's "hard" Brexit plans if it means seceding from the European Union with no deal in place, a BMG Research study has showed.

    The study showed twice as many people would rather the UK stayed in the EU, or secured a different deal, if both Houses of Parliament do not endorse the agreement the Prime Minister returns from Europe with. Moreover, the findings suggest the public are braced for a major economic struggle over the next two years, as negotiations over future relations between the UK and EU take place.

    The findings come as May's government prepares for another major standoff with the House of Lords. First, the chamber scuppered the government's plans for Brexit, by adding an amendment to the Brexit bill demanding the government undertake to protect the rights of EU workers in the UK. 

    Now, the Lords are demanding parliament be guaranteed by law the final say on approving the final Brexit deal, and given power to dispatch ministers back to the negotiating table if rejected.

    To date, May has only offered verbal assurance parliament will have a vote on the final deal — and warned MPs and Lords that if they reject the terms, the UK will simply exit the EU without a deal, and trade with the bloc based on World Trade Organization rules, a move potentially highly deleterious to the economy.

    Asked what should happen if parliament rejects May's deal, a mere 25 percent were in favor of a nuclear option — conversely, 27 percent said May should renegotiate a deal, 14 percent said the UK should stay in the EU on new terms, and 15 percent said the country should stay in on existing terms. In total, 56 percent favor options at odds with the Prime Minister's plan.

    Even Tory supporters, the mainstream voting bloc that is most passionately pro-Brexit, were tepid on the prospect, with only 38 percent backing leaving with no deal, as many as supported renegotiating. A further 18 percent favored staying in the EU on existing or new terms.

    The UK government may be in breach of the law if it fails to put a final deal to parliament for approval. Gina Miller, the campaigner who fought and beat the government in the Supreme Court Brexit case which eventually guaranteed the right of parliament to trigger Article 50, has argued the judgment she won legally obliges the government to secure a separate act of parliament before withdrawing the UK out of the EU with no deal.

    Despite being at odds with May over her plans, the BMG survey found 38 percent of the public did approve of the way the Prime Minister has handled Brexit, with 33 percent disapproving and 29 percent unsure.

    Opinion was less oblique when people were asked whether they felt the Brexit negotiations would have a positive or a negative impact on the British economy. Some 43 percent said the impact would be bad, of which 14 percent thought it would be "very bad." Meanwhile, 33 percent thought it would be good, with seven percent thinking it would be "very good." Just under a quarter (24 percent) believed there would be no impact.

    The study comes as grassroots campaign group Stop the Silence prepares for the second wave of its campaign opposing "hard" Brexit.

    Stop the Silence UK
    © Photo : Stop the Silence UK
    Stop the Silence UK

    The group is crowdfunding the effort, and plans to dispatch a poster van to tour the streets of Westminster, "so Peers and MPs will see it" in the days leading up to the final parliamentary Brexit vote, bombard social media with advertising, shuttle of supporters around the country to "get the message out" to the public, and place adverts in the national press.

    Explaining its motivation for the campaign, the group stated it didn't believe the UK government had any mandate for the Brexit plan outlined in its February white paper.

    "We don't believe the country should be left with 'deal or no deal.' This leaves us with no safety-net if the majority of the country doesn't like the deal negotiated with the EU. We didn't vote for this because these questions were not on the ballot paper. It's unacceptable millions of UK and EU citizens face such uncertainty about their futures. No one voted for that. The current culture of intimidation and abuse, online and in the media, goes against this country's traditions of fair and open debate. We need to stop the silence that surrounds hard Brexit," the group said.


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    Hard Brexit, post-Brexit, Article 50, public opinion, negotiations, survey, poll, economy, trade, UK Parliament, House of Lords, House of Commons, Theresa May, Great Britain, Europe, United Kingdom
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