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Second referendum on EU would overturn leave decision, survey finds

For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only BBC handout photo of Nigel Farage (centre) and Chuka Umunna (right) during an interview with Nick Robinson in the BBC Radio 4 Today studio in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday January 12, 2018. Photo credit should read: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.

A second referendum on Britain's withdrawal from the EU would overturn the decision to leave, according to a new poll.

The ComRes survey for the Daily Mirror found 55% backing for Remain, against 45% for Leave.

The results were released a day after former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he was coming round to the idea of a second referendum, which he predicted would confirm the 52%-48% victory for Leave and "kill off" opposition to Brexit "for a generation".

Remain campaigners welcomed Mr Farage's comments, with former cabinet minister Lord Adonis saying: "Bring it on."

Labour MP Chuka Umunna told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the version of Brexit offered to voters in 2016, including an additional £350 million a week being made available for priorities like the NHS, "is not transpiring to be delivered".

"The debate that we had was hypothetical," said Mr Umunna. "We now know the reality. If Brexit is materially different from what people were sold, then Parliament has a right to keep an open mind.

"At the end of the day, if we do end up with another referendum, how on earth can it 'thwart the will of the people' if the people are the ones who have the final say on the deal?"

However, Mr Farage swiftly backtracked on the idea, telling the Daily Telegraph: "To be clear, I do not want a second referendum, but I fear one may be forced upon the country by Parliament. That is how deep my distrust is for career politicians.

"This poses a big question for Leavers. Do we stick with the view that the result will stand or acknowledge the fact that we face this potential threat?"

Downing Street ruled out a fresh vote on EU membership but bookies cut the odds of a poll in 2019 to 5-1.

Voters questioned for the ComRes poll showed little appetite for going back to the ballot box, with just 43% saying that they want a second referendum against 51% who did not.

Just 30% said they were confident Theresa May would get a good Brexit deal, compared with 65% who were not.

The debate over whether the public should get a vote on the deal obtained by the Prime Minister was thrust back into the spotlight by Mr Farage's suggestion that a second vote would draw a line under criticism by key Remainers, such as Tony Blair and Lib Dem former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg.

Appearing on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff on Thursday, he said: "What is for certain is that the Cleggs, the Blairs, the Adonises will never ever ever give up. They will go on whinging and whining and moaning all the way through this process.

"So maybe, just maybe, I'm reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum on EU membership.

"I think that if we had a second referendum on EU membership we would kill it off for a generation. The percentage that would vote to leave next time would be very much bigger than it was last time round."

And businessman Arron Banks, a close ally of Mr Farage who poured funds into Ukip and one of the Leave campaigns, said the vote would have to be re-run.

But Ukip leader Henry Bolton said: "Ukip policy on a second referendum remains unchanged. The party opposes a second referendum."

ComRes questioned 1,049 British adults on January 11 for the Daily Mirror.

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