A survey has found that more than half of Britons do not care if Northern Ireland left the United Kingdom, while many supported a border poll.
In a sign of a fraying United Kingdom after Brexit, analytics firm YouGov discovered that 53% of Conservative voters indicated they were indifferent about Northern Ireland breaking away, even though the party they supported included the name ‘unionist’ in it.
In fact, Britons generally supported a poll on Irish reunification with 36% of respondents believing it was a good idea with just 25% opposing it. Over a quarter – 39% – were undecided.
Remain voters were more likely to back the move with 41% for and only 23% against while 34% of Brexiteers thought the referendum should go ahead, with 29% disagreeing.
The firm surveyed people across England, Wales, and Scotland and found that just over a quarter of respondents – 37% – want Northern Ireland to remain in the UK and more than half of Tory supporters agreed.
YouGov believes the extraordinary findings were in part a result of demographics. They said a large proportion of participants resided in England and that they were the least likely to feel a common bond with their neighbours across the Irish Sea, if at all. Furthermore, only 28% felt Northern Ireland shared common ties with Britain.
The surveyors hinted this could be because very few English were aware of modern Irish history, with 6% saying they studied topics like Irish Home Rule and the Troubles at school.
The results come at an important juncture in British modern history as the UK government seeks to avoid a hard between the UK and the Republic while trying to uphold commitments made under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
This has not dented the belief that the region nation would seek reunification anyway, with 46% of the public believing Northern Ireland would reunify with the Republic within the next 50 years, while 14% believed it would happen in the next five years.
When it came to party lines, Labour and Liberal Democrat voters were more like to supporters a border poll than oppose it with 48% and 42% backing it respectively.