Nearly two years after Britons voted in favor of the U.K. leaving the European Union, some are calling for a second Brexit referendum. This time, however, the question isn’t whether the U.K. should leave the bloc, but how.
Concern over what kind of final deal the U.K. will get out of its negotiations with the EU has fueled the recent interest in a second referendum. A survey published Friday by the Guardian and British pollster ICM found that 47 percent of British voters surveyed support having a say on the terms of a final Brexit deal. When one omits the respondents who said they were undecided, support jumps to 58 percent. And the support comes from voters on both sides of the Brexit debate: The poll estimates that one quarter of “leave” voters also favor having a second referendum on the final deal.
The debate over the type of final deal the U.K. should seek is almost as fraught as the one over whether it should leave the bloc at all. Some, like London Mayor Sadiq Khan, have called for a final deal that allows the U.K. to remain within the EU’s single market and customs union, while others, like British Trade Secretary Liam Fox, adamantly oppose the U.K. staying in either. The debate is made no less contentious by revelations that all plausible Brexit scenarios—including those in which the U.K. stays in the single market, those in which it leaves the single market (but with a free-trade agreement with the EU), and a hard Brexit (leaving the single market without a deal)—appear to leave the U.K. worse off than it is currently. A leaked Brexit impact report prepared by the British government found that, in all plausible scenarios, almost every sector of the U.K. economy would take a hit.