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Most younger Leave voters think the UK should keep or boost EU regulations and standards after Brexit, a poll has suggested.
Overturning some commonly-held assumptions about Brexit voters, two thirds of Leavers aged between 22 and 48 said they want to keep or increase regulation in areas like consumer protection, food safety and the environment.
This holds true for Leavers who voted for both the Conservatives and Labour in the December election, according to the Ipsos MORI poll for Unchecked UK.
The vast majority of respondents (78%) also agreed that regulation was necessary to ensure there is fair behaviour by people and businesses.
It raises questions for Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiating strategy, with hopes for a deal beginning to fade as the talks remain deadlock over EU demands for the UK to sign up to minimum standards in areas like workers’ rights and the environment.
The prime minister has made clear he will not accept that kind of “level playing field”, arguing the EU is treating the UK unfairly as it did not make similar demands when striking free trade deals with countries like Canada.
Emma Rose, director of Unchecked UK said: “As the UK deals with the economic fallout from Covid-19, and embarks on the negotiation of trade agreements with countries around the world, the question of whether the government will pursue social and economic deregulation is becoming increasingly critical.
“For the first time, this polling brings the views of younger Leave voters to the table.
“It suggests that – contrary to common assumptions – a significant majority are in favour of maintaining, increasing and strengthening existing standards.
“These voters see strong rules not as an inconvenience to be removed where possible, but as a valued public good. Covid-19 is likely to have strengthened these sentiments, as people experience first-hand the benefits of strong protections.”
:: Unchecked UK commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct interviews drawn from a representative sample of 4,000 adults aged 22 to 48 years (aged 18-44 in June 2016) in Great Britain, in order to identify 1,099 respondents who voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. These respondents were also asked how they voted in the 2019 general election.
Interviews were conducted online using panels owned by Ipsos MORI and other panel providers between March 3 and 12 2020. Quotas were set by age, gender, education, region and working status for the full sample of 4,000 and the results were weighted by these variables as well as by level of education to known population proportions.