One in 20 people has fallen out with family member over Brexit, poll reveals

Younger voters and people in London more likely to have rowed over EU withdrawal, survey suggests

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Tuesday 08 October 2019 13:34 BST
Countdown to Brexit: How many days left until Britain leaves the EU?

More than one in 20 Britons (6 per cent) say they have fallen out with or stopped speaking to a family member and almost one in 12 (8 per cent) with a friend because of rows over Brexit, according to a new survey.

And the polling suggested a stark generational divide over the issue, with 42 per cent of 18-24 year-olds and 28 per cent of 25-34 year-olds reporting heated arguments with other family members over the issue of EU withdrawal.

The figures - which equate to millions of rifts in relationships across the country - lay bare the personal toll which the Brexit debate has had on the UK.

Some 24 per cent of those questioned by BMG Research for The Independent reported having had heated arguments about Brexit with friends, 22 per cent with family members and 17 per cent with strangers over the three and a half years since the 2016 referendum, while 5 per cent said they had been threatened with physical violence and 6 per cent had received threats online.

Looking back at the impact which the EU referendum has had, almost half of those questioned (49 per cent) said they believe it was the wrong decision to stage a public vote on the issue, against just 36 per cent who said it was the right thing to do.

Discounting don’t knows, almost 58 per cent thought holding the 2016 referendum had turned out to be a bad idea, against 42 per cent who thought it was the right decision.

Meanwhile, the survey found that more than half of voters (51 per cent) feel there is likely to be a recession if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal on 31 October.

And similar numbers believe a no-deal exit is likely to mean job losses (52 per cent) and transport disruption (54 per cent), while 48 per cent say it is likely to cause medicine shortages, 42 per cent food shortages and 42 per cent civil unrest, such as unlawful protests, riots or violence.

The survey found that 52 per cent of those questioned expect the UK economy to be weaker over the three years following a no-deal Brexit, compared to just 16 per cent who think it would be stronger.

Data from the survey suggested that families and groups of friends tended to vote in the same way in the referendum.

Among Leave voters, some 57 per cent said that most or all of their families and friends voted the same way and just 12 per cent that most or all voted to Remain. Among Remain voters, 61 per cent thought most or all of their relatives and friends also backed Remain and just 8 per cent that most voted Leave.

Family rifts resulting from Brexit were most common among Remain voters, some 8 per cent of whom said they had fallen out with or stopped talking to a family member, compared to 4 per cent among Leave supporters.

The Brexit debate has fired up passions on both sides 

Around one in ten 25-to-34 year-olds (11 per cent) and 35-44 year-olds (10 per cent) reported a family rift, compared to just 3 per cent of over-55s.

And 15 per cent of 18-34 year-olds - around one in seven - said they had fallen out with or stopped speaking to friends because of differences over Brexit.

Arguments about Brexit were most common in London, where 37 per cent reported rowing with friends, 30 per cent with family and 24 per cent with strangers, compared to the South-West, where just 19 per cent have had arguments with friends, 17 per cent with family and 8 per cent with strangers.

- BMG Research interviewed a representative sample of 1,514 GB adults online between 1 and 4 October. Data are weighted. BMG are members of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in