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Brexit: Majority believe TV debate should include proponents of fresh referendum and no-deal scenario, poll says

Brexit: Majority believe TV debate should include proponents of fresh referendum and no-deal scenario, poll says

A majority of the public believe a televised Brexit debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn should also include proponents of both a fresh referendum and a no-deal scenario. The findings, from a new survey by pollsters YouGov, also showed that five times as many voters believe the prime minister’s exit deal will result in a weaker, rather than stronger British…

A majority of the public believe a televised Brexit debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn should also include proponents of both a fresh referendum and a no-deal scenario.

The findings, from a new survey by pollsters YouGov, also showed that five times as many voters believe the prime minister’s exit deal will result in a weaker, rather than stronger British economy.

The poll comes after negotiations over a live TV debate descended into a row, with Mr Corbyn’s team clashing with Ms May’s advisers over the the format of a debate which both party leaders have – in principle – agreed to.

While the prime minister’s team agreed to a BBC proposal, the Labour leader’s office prefer ITV’s plan for a head-to-head showdown on Sunday 9 December. The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have all demanded inclusion in the debate.

The new poll found that 53 per cent believed an advocate of a public vote with the option of remaining in the EU should have representative in the debate, compared with 25 per cent who disagreed and 22 per cent who did not know.

The poll reveals that a further 58 per cent of those surveyed thought a senior politician who backed leaving the bloc without a deal should be included in any TV debate while 19 per cent disagreed.

Commissioned for the People’s Vote campaign, the results will pile pressure on broadcasters to involve senior politicians in a potential Brexit debate next week beyond the Labour leader and Ms May, who has herself ruled out the possibility of a second public vote.

On Monday, The Independent will hand in a petition to Downing Street, signed by over a million individuals who are demanding a Final Say on Ms May’s Brexit deal.

Peter Kellner, the former president of YouGov, said: “The broadcasters should heed the fact that only a small minority back the May-Corbyn debates that have been proposed. Clear majorities demand the inclusion of advocated of staying in the EU ad leaving without a deal being included as full participants.”

The findings were published as government minister Sam Gyimah resigned from Ms May’s administration, laying into the UK-EU agreement as a “deal in name only” as he made clear he would vote against it in the House of Commons in ten days’ time.

Formerly universities minister, the Conservative MP said that if Ms May’s deal is rejected in the chamber, the “most sensible” way forward would be for a fresh referendum, with the option of staying in the EU included on the ballot paper.

According to the new poll – once “don’t know” respondents are excluded – 55 per cent of people would now back remaining in the EU, compared with 45 per cent for leaving.