Anti-Brexit activists marking the fifth anniversary of the UK's EU membership referendum demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament. (Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Brexit is now “probably less popular” than it has ever been since the 2016 referendum, according to a polling expert.
Professor Sir John Curtice said the referendum six years ago failed to provide a “permanent settlement” to the debate on whether the UK should be a member of the EU.
He said the 2016 vote had come no closer to settling the issue than the previous referendum in 1975.
The UK voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the EU six years ago, while in 1975, 67 per cent voted to remain part of the bloc.
Curtice, who is president of the British Polling Council, said that while polling on Brexit remained inconclusive the public were still divided on the issue.
He said that apart from the SNP, opposition politicians did not want to talk about the issue.
Statistics also showed that Labour was gaining votes from both from Remainers and Brexiteers, while support for the Tories was declining among those who voted Leave in 2016.
At a briefing for Westminster journalists, Curtice said: “Despite the fact the opposition parties - leaving aside the SNP - don’t want to talk about Brexit, within the public the debate is still there.
“At the moment, it looks as though the 2016 referendum is going to be as unsuccessful as the 1975 one was in proving to be a permanent settlement of this debate.
“We are as a country divided down the middle on this subject and it looks as though we are going to continue to be so for the foreseeable future.”
Professor Sir John Curtice. (Photo: Ken Jack via Getty Images)
Support for rejoining the EU has grown steadily, with the latest polls showing a majority of 57 to 43 per cent for reversing Brexit.
“If you look at YouGov’s question which asked people ‘in hindsight do you think Brexit was the right or wrong decision?’ they’ve increasingly been getting more people saying it was the wrong decision,” Curtice said.
“I think the truth is that Brexit is now probably less popular than it has been at any point since June 2016. But people like me are being cautious.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.