EDINBURGH, Dec 16 (Reuters) - A poll has found that 51
percent of Britons would now keep European Union membership
while 41 percent want to leave the bloc, a near reversal of last
year's referendum result.
The BMG poll of 1,400 people for The Independent published
on the newspaper's website on Saturday came as Britain moves
into a second phase of negotiations on exiting the EU, which
will focus on trade.
The Independent said the lead for "remain" over "leave" was
the biggest in any poll so far since the vote in June 2016.
But the head of polling at BMG, quoted in the Independent,
said that the reason for the change was a shift in opinion among
those who did not vote in last year's referendum, while around
nine in 10 "leave" and "remain" voters were unchanged in their
views. The survey was carried out from December 5 to 8.
In the referendum last year, 52 percent of Britons voted to
leave the EU and 48 percent voted to remain.
Mike Smithson, an election analyst who runs the
www.politicalbetting.com website who is also a former Liberal
Democrat politician, said on Twitter it was "the biggest lead
for Remain since (the EU referendum)."
Prime Minister Theresa May this week secured an agreement
with the EU to move Brexit talks on to trade and a transition
pact, but some European leaders warned that negotiations, which
have been arduous so far, could now become tougher.
(Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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