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Leave-voting areas oppose Boris Johnson choosing no-deal Brexit, new polling reveals

Boris Johnson (centre) in the House of Commons with Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

A new poll has found that a significant majority of Britons think that leaving the Brexit transition period without a trade deal would be a bad outcome for the country.

Last month, Boris Johnson said ending Brexit talks without a deal was a “good outcome” for Britain, even though it would lead to new tariffs on businesses, border chaos, and potential food and medical shortages.

But, as times for a deal continues to run out, nearly two-thirds of British people – 64% – say failing to reach a deal by January 1 would be a “bad” outcome for the country, a Focaldata poll for campaign group Best for Britain has found.

Johnson told viewers on the Andrew Marr show that he did not want to trade with the EU on WTO terms but that if push came to shove that Britain could “more than live with it”.

“I think the people of this country have had enough… they have had this for a long, long time, being told that this or that is impossible or intolerable,” he said.

But polling has shown Johnson is out of touch with the British public.

Not only does an overwhelming majority of Britons feel a no-deal scenario is “bad”, over a quarter – 38% – said such it would be “fairly bad” while 26% said it would be “very bad”.

The poll also found every surveyed region in the UK opposed the idea, including strong Leave-voting areas such as the northwest, northeast, and the Midlands.

A staggering 78% of Scots felt a no-deal outcome would be “bad” while 70% of Londoners agreed.

MORE: Snap poll reveals majority of Brits don’t think Boris Johnson has a clear plan to tackle new Covid-19 outbreak

When Focaldata spoke with 8,152 people between September 19 and 23, they did find a small pocket of support for the prime minister’s ambitions.

Some 37% told them that leaving without a deal would be a “good outcome”. 13% said it would be “very good” and 24% suggested it would be “fairly good”.

Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith said: “This poll shows the country overwhelmingly wants the government to end the transition period with a deal. No-deal has no mandate.

“It may not be the comprehensive ‘oven-ready’ deal that every Conservative MP promised when they stood for election last year, but a trade deal is still much better than the messy divorce that would result from leaving without a deal.”

She added: “The clock is ticking. The prime minister must now make a final push to secure a deal so that businesses aren’t staring down the barrel at a ‘perfect storm’ of Brexit and COVID this Christmas, and so that we aren’t stuck under a depressing cloud of UK-EU negotiations for years to come.”