Let us start with the rhetoric. In January Theresa May said that “no deal is better than a bad deal”. When polls ask about that sentiment people generally agree with it. When Theresa May first made the statement, YouGov found 48% of people agreed that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, 17% thought a “bad deal was better than no deal” (34% agreed with neither or said don’t know). SkyData asked a similar question at the start of the month and found 74% of people thought no deal was better than a bad deal, 26% that any deal was better than no deal.

These two questions suggest that the Prime Minister has landed upon a message that chimes with the public, but we don’t know what respondents are thinking of as a “bad deal” or “no deal”, and whether they think a “no deal” is a good thing or just marginally less awful than a “bad deal”. More in depth questions asked around a “no deal” Brexit suggest it would not be widely welcomed.

Questions that have asked specifically about whether people see a “no deal” Brexit as good or bad have consistently shown a negative reaction. In ICM’s most recent poll they asked how people would react if “negotiations failed to reach agreement by Brexit Day, and the UK left the EU in a so-called ‘hard Brexit’?” 62% of people picked negative words, like worried (50%), confused (29%) and furious (24%), only 20% picked positive words like pleased (14%), proud (11%) or excited (11%).

YouGov asked if people thought it would be good or bad for Britain if we ended up leaving the EU without agreeing departure terms with the EU at all – 57% thought this would be bad, 10% thought it would be good for the country, 20% said neither. Survation asked a very similar question in June (but without a neither option) and found 58% thought it would be bad for Britain, 31% good for Britain.

Of course, this is somewhat missing the point. Given there is significant public support for the sort of Brexit that Theresa May has set out (of immigration controls *and* a trade deal with the EU), a “no deal” Brexit is unlikely to be seen as desirable by the public. It is more a case of whether it is seen as acceptable if negotiations for a better Brexit fall through.

Last week YouGov asked what the government should do if we get to the end of the two year negotiation period and the government have not managed to strike the sort of Brexit deal that Theresa May is seeking: 18% of people said we should stay in the EU after all, 17% that we should delay Britain’s departure in order to continue negotiations, 16% that Britain should accept some of the EU’s demands in order to reach a compromise, 32% that Britain should leave without a deal. Looking at those who voted to Leave in 2016 and those who voted Tory in 2017, a majority of both groups say Britain should leave without a deal rather than seek to delay Brexit or compromise with the EU.

Opinium’s last poll had a very similar question, but with slightly different options. They also asked what people thought should happen if we got to the end of the two year negotiation period without a deal – 15% said we should remain in the EU after all, 35% that we should have a transition deal while negotiations continued, 44% that we should leave without a deal. Again, a majority of Tory voters and Leave voters said that under those circumstances we should leave without a deal.

Summing it all up, a “no deal” Brexit is not something that the British public actually like the idea of – the majority tend to see it in negative terms or as being bad for Britain. However, placed in a position where negotiations for a better deal have failed, a sizeable minority of people (and a majority of Conservatives and Leave voters) would opt for a “no deal” Brexit. Put in that choice between a rock and a hard place, more people would opt for “no deal Brexit” than would opt for remaining in the EU, though a sizeable chunk would take the option of compromise or delay if offered.

1,441 Responses to “What the public think about a “No deal” Brexit”

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  1. Given the extreme vulnerability of the tories to yet another leadership election, which would be extraordinarily divisive, last for ages, lead to demands afterwards for a general election and, to make matters even worse, come at a critical time in EU negotiations, I am astonished at how T May is misjudging her paradoxical strength.

    She has an opportunity now – which is unlikely to come again – to have a major re-shuffle and, to those who say they are going to do something about it reply, like Jack Palance’s character in Shane:

    “Prove it.”

    [before outdrawing them and shooting them dead**]

    That’s wot ole jack did; I’m not suggesting Mrs May goes that far.

  2. Theresa May was warned about appointing Boris as Foreign Secretary.


    I don’t it is a very good idea, to try balance the cabinet based on whether people supported remain or leave campaigns. Base decisions on whether people can do the job without creating problems.

  3. r huckle

    Agreed: it’s as daft as appointing a cabinet based on which footy team they support.

    [Actually, if ole Corby goes for a cabinet of Arsenal supporters I might come around to the idea…]

  4. ALEC

    @”@Colin has previously suggested that entering 2018 without any signs of a deal gets us into territory of businesses reconfiguring, with potentially significant headlines of economic flight.”

    To be clear-my reading of Industry comments is that they require details of the Extension period (beyond March 2019 ) by Q1 2018.

    If they have three years grace that is one thing .

    If they are still staring at 1 year-and no details yet-they will do their own planning.


    @”She has an opportunity now – which is unlikely to come again – to have a major re-shuffle ”

    I agree.

    There are fresh faces & talent available. She needs both desperately.

  6. Colin

    You’re quibbling.

  7. Corbyn very evasive on Carwen Jones in a Sky piece this morning.

    Embarrassment -or keeping his powder dry?

  8. Colin

    Corbyn won’t want to be drawn into the Welsh labour row, too easy for it to turn into a ‘Corbyn deposes opponents’ story


    I was agreeing with you ! ??

    I will consult my dog eared copy of ” The Rules & Conduct of International Quibbling ” -of course.

    But memory suggests that one cannot Quibble during , or as a result of, agreeing with a third party.


    Perhaps so-but can he remain distance from his own Party Rule book when its Due Process in this matter is being questioned is such a difficult context.


  11. @ Colin @ PAUL CROFT

    I was agreeing with you ! ??

    I will consult my dog eared copy of ” The Rules & Conduct of International Quibbling ” -of course.

    But memory suggests that one cannot Quibble during , or as a result of, agreeing with a third party.

    I think you’ll find that this falls in to the category of “cavilling” a variant on the quibble which allows minor disputes within agreement as opposed to the “hair-splitting” category which of course is worth triple points and a bonus if played on the third Wednesday after Pentecost.

    Personally I find Mornington Crescent a much less complicated game!

  12. “But memory suggests that one cannot Quibble during , or as a result of, agreeing with a third party.”

    I thought that was superceded by the Hamilton Convention?

    Besides, if @Paul Croft things you are quibbling and you think you are agreeing, then regardless of the Third Party Agreement Rule – you’re quibbling.

    Your turn next Paul.

  13. Sorry – meant to add, for those who don’t know the Hamilton Convention, it effectively means that a rule dispute is only settled upon payment of £10,000 by one of the parties in a brown envelope to the Game Convener.

  14. WB

    But I think the Cavilling variant was only introduced by the Global Convention on Qubbling quite recently……………around 1970 ish ??

    My own copy of Rules & Conduct is an Edition 1. I don’t really hold with revisionist tendencies.

  15. This is better than Mornington Crescent.

  16. ALEC
    @” As many Brexiters have noted, the EU haven’t budged an inch.”

    I’m beginning to think that our problem stems from DD not being a member of a Masonic Lodge.:-


  17. COLIN

    TWO internationally renowned referees siding with me I believe !!!!!

    My point.

    Your turn to quibble, carp or [only for duffers of course – pass.**]

    ** almost beneath contempt.

  18. ps

    I am often amazed by the number of posters here who, upon reading a post that they disagreed with, write:

    “I laughed all morning.”

    I can think of no occasion in my life [even after cracking one of my funniest jokes] that that has ever happened to me – far less on this site!

    However, I digress. [new game??] The three recent “quibble” comments did draw audible chuckles from me – enough to disturb the snoring Rosie and Daisie in fact.


    Which two?

    Renowned by who -apart from themselves?

    This bending of Ancient Rules & Practice, which has been tested in the furnace of Centuries ; just to pander to some namby pamby hoiti toiti teenage Liberal clique does not impress me.

    I will continue to observe the Old Ways as set out in my beloved Rules & Conduct-Edition ONE. !

  20. @ paul croft

    TWO internationally renowned referees siding with me I believe !!!!!

    Well there you are immediate demerit points for accepting the decision of referee’s without obligatory accompanied “carping” about officious Bar Stewards

  21. NEILJ
    “I have answered your question and sorry to press you but should Boris go, if not now then after this incident is over.”

    I didn’t know I was being pressed, but no. My view is that the whole sorry bunch should continue to be held to have collective responsibility for this failure, but of course for others, and given the push, preferably around April 2018, having reached a decisive point on Brexit from which the country can judge the outcome and move on.

  22. WB

    Oh bugger…..


    Now you ARE quibbling.

    [Actually, I’ve just remembered – this is where I say “You are simply making my point for me now,” which, even in dust ole book one**, can be a game-changer.]

    ** Commonly known as the Necronimicon to aficianados I believe.

  23. MarkW

    Anything is better than Mornington Crescent – and I don’t even know what that is.

  24. Why isn’t the BBC helicopter being used to track Penny Mordaunt’s delayed train? It’s even going slow for them.

    Is it just used for sackings??

  25. I don’t wish to be pedantic.

  26. JJ

    Yes you do.

  27. If Penny Mordaunt is appointed and IF (!) “nomen ist omen”, I will have to re-read Dumas’s 20 years later …

  28. Penny Mordaunt is appointed.

    What a wasted opportunity.

    Now we will have continued deadlock.

  29. Chamberlain & Munich.
    @ Norbold
    “Actually Chamberlain wasn’t busted on Munich, he was busted when even after Germany invaded Poland he still wanted to negotiate with Herr Hitler . . .that’s what finally finished him, ”

    The execration of Chamberlain for his Munich policy disguises the policy’s immense popularity in UK & indeed W. Europe. His rapturous reception from the public & the H. of Cs on his return from Germany was unprededented.
    He was “busted” not in ’39 but by the failure of the Norwegian campaign in May 1940, which he opposed & which was all Churchill’s idea. [Churchill was obsessed with amphbious campaigns — except DDay — & had been the architect of the disastrous Gallipoli one.]
    Chamberlain remained more popular with the Tories even after his resignation than Churchill, as they hated Chucrhill’s idea of total war & would much preferred a treaty with Germany under Halifrax as PM.

  30. Any guesses on next YouGov poll number (due tomorrow I think). Here’s my guess:

    CON 39 (-2)
    LAB 44 (+1)
    LDEM 7 (uc)
    UKIP 5 (+2)

    (some rounding issues between polls, UKIP usually 4 and rounded down last time)
    Across the board rise in DKs (previous were 16, 15, 20)
    If they ask about leaders then across the board drops in all three.

    Frankly stunned if CON can keep within 5pts of LAB given all the -ve issues they are facing right now but “peak Corbyn” in low-mid 40s means the headline numbers have to go somewhere.

    I hope Survation do a poll soon as they tend to ask lots of interesting questions.

  31. Mordaunt a good choice…….+ a 2015 female new Minister it seems.

    Though I imagine Rory Stewart will be disappointed.

  32. If May had the strength of Corbyn she would purge the remain members of the front-bench as Corbyn did.

    Hammond (Eeyore) – should stand down as CON party altogether and represent LDEM in a by-election
    Rudd (Owl) – her 2016 conf speech means she is the worst kind of turncoat, Remain at heart
    Williamson (Rabbit) – possibly the worst appointment ever in the history of any party
    McLoughlin (Piglet) – with a ranking of -51 he is viewed even lower than Hammond (-41)


    May can be all nobel and rid us of her own presence at the same time – PTSD is a mental illness and she has my sympathy but not my confidence!

  33. @Danny

    “3% might be too low, but I doubt that anything above 4% would serve any purpose”
    And where is there any evidence on that? By logic I’d suggest a figure more like 30% would perhaps start to impact returns. 4% is hardly bigger than the professional transaction fees. Maybe Brexit has been depressing sales?’

    It is difficult to get to the heart of stamp duty figures, because the goal posts are often being shifted. There is quite a lot of evidence that the market responds very noticeably to changes in stamp duty.

    The most obvious example was the introduction of a 3% surcharge on second homes and investment properties, by to let, etc. In March 2016 there were 164,000 transactions. The following month, after the change was introduced, there were 94,000. This remarkable shift was probably almost entirely ascribable to the stamp duty change.

    Gross receipts from stamp duty have been climbing, due to rising property prices, increased transactions and the second home surcharge, amongst other things. The fact that 45% of all stamp duty is paid within the M25 is another complication.

    However, most commentators are agreed that the very high rate on top end sales has depressed the market, whereas reduced rates at the lower end have helped.

    If it costs a lot to move, fewer people move. As you would expect. The March/April numbers given above are very clear evidence of the way people behave when stamp duty rates change.

    The optimum stamp duty rate is not the rate that produces the most revenue. It is less than that, because higher numbers of transactions help the wider economy, and help people get into more appropriate accommodation.

    What Alec and I were agreed upon, and is arguably more important, is the fact that escaping stamp duty by going offshore is wrong, and easily countered. I cannot understand why the Government allows it to continue.

    Overall, the Government made a significant reduction in stamp duty rates in 2014, and removed the absurd ‘cliffs’ at, for example, £250,000. Since then revenue has climbed. So it looks like the Laffer Curve has been in evidence. But, to be honest, it is hard to tell.


    “If May had the strength of Corbyn she would purge the remain members of the front-bench as Corbyn did.”


    According to the BBC only 10 LAB MPs come out for Leave before the referendum, and none of them are in the Shadow Cabinet. Therefore they are all Remainers.

  35. From Marsha Jane Thompson’s own mouth; accusations of Electoral fraud it seem inaccurate?

    ”“I have written to every paper that has inaccurately reported this but they have so far refused to withdraw the false claims and in fact keep repeating them.

    “Their headlines of ‘election fraud’ and ‘100 fake voters’ are inaccurate and misleading, and bear no relation to the offence I admitted to.”

    So what’s the real story? “I returned to work in the winter of 2004 after maternity leave, financially in a very precarious place as a period of it had been unpaid,” she answers.

    “I foolishly signed council papers to say that I had completed work that I hadn’t, which involved signing the details of whoever occupied the address to be an accurate record — details that were already on the electoral roll.

    “I admitted to doing this on 20 forms — which amounted to fraudulently claiming £21.15 — and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

    “The conviction I have is for fraud — not electoral fraud — and false accounting.

    “I have always been honest about this — in fact I even had a blog about it at the time and wrote about my experience of community service.”

    And specifically about Andrew Gilligans claim repeated by the Daily mail of Electoral fraud involving 100 votes.

    ”“Absolutely not.

    “Any attempt at electoral fraud would have led to a charge under the Representation of the People Act, but this isn’t what happened.

    I remain very ashamed of the mistake I made — but it was a financial thing, not an attempt to register fake voters.”

  36. The lack of posts here in the last 40 minutes suggests that even our Leave supporters aren`t very enthused by Penny Mordaunt`s appointment.

    David Cameron commented on her claim in the referendum campaign that Britain didn`t have a veto on Turkey joining the EU, that it was “a very misleading”.. He said she was trying to convince voters by saying something “that is not true”.

    A handy person to have in the Cabinet.

  37. So poor ailing little Nell has replaced she of the flaming underwear with another token female, token brexiteer. This one has apparently been working flat out to improve the lot of the disabled in-between appearing on radio 4 to earnestly warn people about our green and pleasant land being overrun by Turks when Europe allows them to join because we wouldn’t be able to veto it, widely reported during the referendum as being not really, actually true, and donning a sparkly number to act out her little mermaid fantasies on the telly.

    Apparently we’re supposed to be impressed that she donated 7k from her great leap into a swimming pool, a whole k less than it cost to send the newly discredited former minister most of the way to her Ugandan assignation with the other discredited former minister yesterday before their elopement was discovered, to her local lido.

    I can’t help thinking that if she and her mates hadn’t butchered public spending and put her local lido at risk in the first place that she could not only have spared us the Ariel in a swimming cossie experience, but spent the time either educating herself about the veto we’ve just given up on countries joining the EU, or even doing something to make the lives of disabled people in Britain at least not worse.

  38. Brexit Bill is in committee stage next week current position is that there is a 175-page amendment paper, containing 366 amendments and 74 new clauses. On my calculation given an 8 day stage with an average parliamentary day of 12 hours that means that there can be about 10 and a bit minutes debate on each if only the changes are debated and no-one tries to talk about the clauses in the bill itself.

    Brexiteer or no surely everyone would say that this is insufficient to discuss the most far reaching constitutional change since the Great Reform Acts.


    @”The lack of posts here in the last 40 minutes suggests that even our Leave supporters aren`t very enthused by Penny Mordaunt`s appointment.”

    I don’t think it does.

    I think it confirms that the core population of this board throughout the day if LoC/Remain.

    And given the ever present suggestion of misogyny -so abundantly evident in your own post- , a shed load of hurrahs for three female Tory promotions was about as likely here as a Support Israel party at 105 Victoria Street.

  40. correction with apologies :-

    @”so abundantly evident in your own post”

    should read

    so abundantly evident in THEEXTERMINATINGDALEK’s post

  41. @Paul Croft

    I rather like the idea of politicians being aligned with the shirt colour of their favourite football team. Labour would get all the Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool supporters; the Tories would get Man City, Chelsea, Leicester and Everton supporters. Crystal Palace would attract Red Tories and Blue Labour, while the Lib Dems would have to make do with Watford. Swansea and Tottenham supporters would sit as independents.

    This would also explain David Cameron’s failure. As a Villa supporter (claret and blue) he should have been the heir to Blair, instead of Gordon Brown (a Raith Rovers supporter – dark blue). Cameron would then have been leading a Labour-Lib Dem coalition after 2010 and we would never had had the promise of a Brexit referendum.

    Yes, politics based on football colours sounds like it might be an improvement on what we have. The quality of discourse in the Commons at PMQs isn’t that different to what you get in football grounds either.

  42. David Prescott’s woes don’t seem to be getting much traction. Too much else going on?

  43. Thanks Colin for the quick correction.

    I am not upset on the Sarah Newton and Victoria Atkins promotions. They at least have knowledge of feelings in the peripheral parts of the UK, the former insisting on Cornish for her HoC oath, the latter having gone to school near Blackpool. And her dad wasn`t a bad MP for South Ribble.

  44. @ Davwel
    “The lack of posts here in the last 40 minutes suggests that even our Leave supporters aren`t very enthused by Penny Mordaunt`s appointment.”

    As Aristotle said, political theorists devise general principles but it is tricky to apply these maxims to actual political events in a consistent fashion. So, in general, I want more women in positions of power, including the Cabinet. But as I said above, Rory Stewart, the Minister of State in the Dept, would be a much-better choice to succeed Patel than another hack, voter-misleading Brexiteer who happens to be female.

  45. Colin

    Not sure that the labour party rulebook obliges the UK Labour leader to get involved in a Welsh labour problem. But while we are talking about rule books could you point out where I can find a copy of the conservative party rulebook

  46. @ TE – Eh? Corbyn sacked 3 front bench for supporting Remain(ish) view:

    Its amazing how quickly LAB folks forgive/forget? Starmer’s “clarificatiion” was political tactics IMHO but believe what you want.

    Corbyn + McDonnell were even more reluctant Remain than May and if you know the history you’d know they are very much Eurosceptic.

  47. Colin
    Frankly puzzled by your accusation of misogyny, I would have considered it self evident that May is running out of women to promote by now, simply because of the way the numbers of Tory MPs by gender stack up.

    Promoting a man or a non brexiteer would have held her open to accusations of unbalancing the cabinet, regardless of whether either of those were more capable of doing the job.

    Therefore, because she has been weakened to the point of no return by (generally the men) in her own party, she has been rendered powerless to make her own choices on merit, and has no choice but to select a female brexiteer.

    That both the new and previous incumbents have a track record of being ignorant, self-seeking, vacuous purveyors of untruths has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with why neither of them are fit for the role they are or were in, any more than Boris, Davis, Hunt or Grayling are fit for theirs. If the new incumbent is the best candidate who was available for the job then the government are even more stuffed than they look.

    If that still makes me a misogynist then I apologise, in the full sense rather than the Borisonian “sorry if you took offense at what I said” way.

  48. @ WB – a lot of the amendments seem to be very similar. I’m not sure how they will rationalise the process but from what I understood more time was going to be given if it is needed (which it probably will be).

    Did you get a chance to skim through the amendments. Given you legal expertise can the ‘similar’ ones be roughly grouped together (e.g the ones all concerning A127 being a separate issue to A50)?

    Also my non-legal skim gave me the impression some of them were verging on spelling or grammar corrections and could be dealt with very quickly.

    I hope the bill gets all the time it needs but it is a critical piece of legislation so does need to pass – appropriately amended of course!


    @” could you point out where I can find a copy of the conservative party rulebook”


    Best to ask a Party Member I guess.

  50. As a sort of detached member of this political forum, I think that, in respect of what movement might occur in the latest opinion poll, etc., the great majority of the public don’t only have no interest in what is going on, it is actually completely peripheral to their lives.

    I just drove the girls to the woods for their dusk stroll. On the way there the radio was banging on about whether or not people wanted to listen to the theme tunes of stuff they watched on i-player, netflix etc.

    When I drove back, the topic had developed into how awful it was to have to hear/watch opening credits when one was “binge-watching” multiple episodes of a series in one go. At which point I turned off and enjoyed chatting to R and D.

    Politics and world affairs are just a side-issue for many millions of people – which is why opinion polls don’t really move much I guess: nobody has noticed anything and over 30% don’t even vote in real elections, never mind give a toss about polling.

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