Brexit and public opinion
THERESA MAY and several of her cabinet ministers have been on a charm offensive around Europe, trying to sell her Chequers plan for Brexit to doubtful European Union governments. Most recently the prime minister bearded Emmanuel Macron in the French president’s Fort Brégançon holiday retreat in the south of France. Like most EU leaders, Mr Macron is sceptical about the Chequers plan. He is also unwilling to sidestep the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, who has already rejected several of its central elements.
At the same time Mrs May has a huge challenge selling Chequers at home, both to MPs and to the public. The most recent opinion survey from ORB, an international pollster, finds that 76% of respondents disapprove of the government’s handling of the Brexit negotations, the highest number so far and a big jump since the Chequers plan was proposed. Fully 60% of respondents expect the prime minister not to get the right Brexit deal, and 44% think Britain will be worse off economically. Little wonder that talk of leaving with no deal has grown.