50% of Leave voters are proud of the British Empire, compared with 20% of Remainers

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
No Deal Brexit concept image of cracks over image of London with UK and EU flags in image
Half of people who voted to leave the EU are proud of the British Empire. (Getty)

Half of the people who voted to leave the European Union are proud of the British Empire, while only a fifth of Remainers say the same, according to a new YouGov poll.

The data also shows 53% of Conservative voters “think the British Empire is more something to be proud of than ashamed of”, while 21% of Labour supporters agree.

In total 51% of Brexiters said Britain’s former colonies benefited from their inclusion in the empire, compared with 22% of Remain voters.

The stats also show 66% of people who voted to stay in the EU don’t wish the empire was still around.

But Leave voters are split, with 39% wishing the empire still existed and 40% disagreeing.

Read more: John Bercow mocks Boris Johnson and Tory MPs over chances of 'strong Brexit'

Voters are divided on the British Empire (Picture: YouGov)
Voters are divided on the British Empire. (YouGov)

The YouGov poll shows the Dutch (50%) are most proud of their colonial past, with Brits (32%) second and the French (26%) third.

Further down on the list were Belgium (23%), Italy (21%), Japan (18%), Spain (11%) and Germany (9%).

YouGov said: “While the Dutch are substantially more proud of their empire than other peoples, they tend to be far more circumspect on whether their former colonies are better off for the experience.

“Only about a quarter of Dutch people (27%) believe their old colonies are better off as a result of their presence.

‘This puts them in fourth overall, behind the 33% of Britons, 32% of Japanese people and 30% of French people who think this.”

Read more: Tory MP calls for new June bank holiday to celebrate Brexit referendum

How proud are people of their former empires? (Picture: YouGov)
How proud are people of their former empires? (Picture: YouGov)

The Labour Party last year in its general election manifesto pledged to ensure “historical injustice, colonialism and role of the British Empire is taught in the national curriculum”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he wanted the “unbelievable levels of brutality” of colonialism committed in the slave trade to be “part and parcel of what our children learn all year round”.

Labour leadership contender Lisa Nandy has also promised to remove references to the empire from the honours system if she becomes prime minister.

The sample size for the poll included 1,684 adults who were surveyed in the UK in June 2019.