The pattern has been the same among our Brexit diarists for the past 10 weeks: Theresa May is felt to be significantly outperforming Jeremy Corbyn when it comes to her approach to the EU across most leavers and remainers, Conservative and Labour supporters.
This week the score was an average of 5.7 out of 10 for the prime minister and 2.9 out of 10 for the Labour leader, with both marked down by remain voters.
Overall, Brexit took second place in importance to the budget among respondents – some of the 100 people asked to keep track of their thoughts on leaving the EU as part of a project by Britain Thinks with the Guardian.
The focus group of 20 had a mixed response to Philip Hammond’s failure to mention Brexit in his fiscal statement on 8 March. Remainers tended to think it was irresponsible of him, while leavers were more comfortable with the chancellor’s focus on domestic concerns, thinking Brexit would not negatively affect the UK or themselves personally.
Leavers were also more approving of Hammond’s aim to build up a £60bn Brexit buffer.
“I think Mr Hammond is right to be prudent here due to the type of language coming from our so-called EU friends. All that is coming out of the EU is how can we punish the UK financially for leaving the union. And if we don’t use the money, well then it’s in the bank for other projects,” said Brian, a leave voter in Belfast.
More remain backers thought the money could be better spent immediately on shoring up public services.
Lesley, a remain voter from Manchester who did not support any of the mainstream parties at the election, said it was “on one hand reassuring, but it goes to show the down side of Brexit – ie we could spend £60bn on social care, education etc”.
The other topic dominating the news was Scotland, with voters on both sides of the EU arguments split between sympathy, hostility and indifference towards the idea of a second independence referendum.
Wale, a Labour remain voter in London, said it would have been wrong if Scotland wanted another referendum straight away after the 2014 vote but circumstances had changed.
“The current political situation is a turning point in the political history of the UK and this is due to the fact that there was no plan B for the Tory government before the EU referendum so to speak. She is right to call for another Scottish referendum as majority of Scottish voted remain,” he added.
George, a Labour leave voter in Glasgow, also thought Nicola Sturgeon would be right to call a referendum and the country would be right to leave the union.
But others described it as a “bigger mistake than Brexit”, with a number expressing confidence that the result would be rejection of independence again.
Thomas, a Conservative remain voter in King’s Lynn, said: “Nicola Sturgeon should take a reality check. The SNP have run up one of the biggest deficits of any country worldwide. I would let her have her referendum as I feel sure she will lose for the second time.”
Some in Northern Ireland thought the fallout of the EU referendum could also have a dramatic effect on the politics of their nation.
Janice, a leave voter in Belfast, was sceptical of politicians promising no return to a hard border. “We have been told this won’t happen but not sure this is true,” she said.
And David, another leave voter in the city, had concerns it could even jeopardise the peace process. “The Catholic population will see Brexit as a step away from a united Ireland which will possibly cause the violence to start again,” he wrote.
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