Poll: Majority say Brexit will lead to 'break up of the union'

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A majority of  people in Scotland and England believe Brexit is likely to lead to the break-up of the UK, new research across both countries has found.

And a majority of voters on the both sides of the Brexit divide say they are prepared for major change to the union in order to get their way on Brexit.

The union is under "considerable strain"

The union is under "considerable strain"

Read more: Poll - Scottish independence voters switching to support the Union

The Future of England Survey findings show there is "considerable strain" on the union as a result of Brexit divisions, according to one leading academic behind the survey.

More than half in England (52%) and almost two thirds in Scotland (61%) think that Brexit is likely to lead to the break-up of the UK. In Wales, the figure was 47%

Around three-quarters of Remain voters say the union will come to an end, while similar proportions of Leave voters believe staying in the EU will undermine faith in the union.

Read more: Welsh Labour leader says Scotland should get second independence referendum

Majorities on both sides of the Brexit divide are willing to see substantial change to the union to get their own way on Brexit. Among Leave voters, 74% in England, 74% in Wales
and 59% in Scotland believe the breakup of the UK would be worth it to secure Brexit. Similar proportions of Remain voters believe that undermining faith in the union
would be a price worth paying to stay in the EU.

Professor Ailsa Henderson of The University of Edinburgh and co-director of the survey, said: “These findings demonstrate that Brexit is putting the union under considerable strain regardless of whether we stay or go. Both sides are prepared to fundamentally rewrite the rules of politics as we know it to get what they want.

"Staying in the EU will likely decrease faith in the union. Brexit could well change its borders. Individuals might profess an attachment to the union, but Brexit has revealed most in Britain to be ambivalent unionists who now see it as expendable to get their own way on Brexit.

"Because this holds for both Leave and Remain voters, it confirms just how much the Brexit debate has polarised the electorates in Britain. These findings show that polarisation is reshaping how we argue with one another, and what we argue about, but could reshape the union as well.”

The findings were based on polling by YouGov which surveyed 1,594 adults aged 18 and over in England, 1,503 in Wales, and 1,006 in Scotland. Polling was conducted online between September 27 and October 3.