The majority of Leave and Remain voters think violence towards MPs is a “price worth paying” to get their way on Brexit, according to new research.
Thousands of voters across Wales, England and Scotland were surveyed by YouGov on behalf of Cardiff University and the University of Edinburgh.
Academics say the findings are “uncomfortable reading” for both those who voted to leave and those who voted to remain in the 2016 EU Referendum.
Among the questions posed, representative samples of electorates in each country were asked what they would be willing to see happen to get their way on Brexit.
A range of scenarios were put to respondents and they were asked to state whether each one was a “price worth paying” or “not worth paying” to either leave or remain in the EU.
- Key findings from the survey
- Most Leave voters across all three countries think violence towards MPs is a ‘price worth paying’ for Brexit – 70% in Wales, 71% in England, and 60% in Scotland.
- The majority of Remain voters across all three countries think violence towards MPs is a ‘price worth paying’ to stay in the EU – 56% in Wales, 58% in England and 53% in Scotland.
- A majority of Remain voters across all three countries think protests in which members of the public are badly injured are a ‘price worth paying’ to stop Brexit and remain in the EU – 57% in Wales, 57% in England and 56% in Scotland.
- The majority of Leave voters in all three countries think protests in which members of the public are badly injured are a ‘price worth paying’ to achieve Brexit – 70% in Wales, 69% in England and 62% in Scotland.
- Majorities in Wales, Scotland and England also think that violence towards MPs and violent protests in which people are badly injured is “likely to occur” if Brexit takes place.
Professor Richard Wyn Jones of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre said: “It’s not often that one finds oneself shaken by research findings, but in this case it’s hard to not be genuinely shocked – not only by the fact that so many think that violence is a likely consequence of Brexit, but that so many on either side of the Brexit divide seem to think that such events might be ‘worth it’ in order to secure their preferred outcome.
“Given that we appear to be on the brink of another general election in which further polarisation could be a deliberate campaign strategy for some parties, these findings should give all of us pause for thought and underline the importance of responsible and measured debate.”
- Other findings from the survey
- Half of all those polled in Wales (47%), more than half in England (52%) and almost two thirds in Scotland (61%) think that Brexit is likely to lead to the break-up of the UK.
- Majorities in all three countries think that the UK will become substantially poorer as a result of Brexit. (52% in Wales, 52% in England, and 61% in Scotland).