New data collected by The Lawyer shows that an overwhelming 82 per cent of UK-based lawyers voted to remain in the EU in the referendum.
But perhaps the most significant finding of The Lawyer’s survey – if perhaps not a surprising one – is that there appears to be little sign of anyone on either side changing their mind. Most lawyers who voted Remain would do so again, and most who voted Leave would do the same.
A minority of respondents had altered their opinions, however, and we asked them why.
Of those who had switched from ‘remain’ to ‘leave’, a few said the original referendum result ought to be respected; however, many cited the EU’s attitude in the wake of the referendum as a key factor in changing their mind.
Voted REMAIN in 2016 but would vote LEAVE in the event of another vote
“Fed up of attitude of unelected EU civil servants to UK – seeing true colours since Brexit. Appalling response to Brexit from politicians and EU ministers trying to suck as much money out of UK as possible. I would rather no deal than a bad deal every day of the week. “
“The way that the EU is behaving in negotiations clearly shows how its view of the EU is different from the UK’s vision of an EU of which the UK might have been a part. With those fundamental differences the UK is better off outside the EU rather than fighting it within.”
“I am appalled with the way the EU senior figures are treating the UK and the level of disrespect being shown to the UK voting public.”
“Despite having (unenthusiastically) voted Remain in June 2016, the EU has proven itself to be a self-serving, sclerotic, unaccountable institution during the Brexit negotiations, interested in little more than UK money it seems, while ignoring the spirit of the requirements of Article 50 with respect to the future framework of the UK-EU relationship. I do not wish the UK to remain part of that institution, even if it diminishes the UK’s overall international standing.”
“The EU has shown itself to be so militant in its political views. it is intransigent in its negotiations which belies a rather unpleasant political dogmatism in its hierarchy which I find most unpleasant.”
Remainers hoping that a second referendum would be a remain landslide will be disappointed to learn that there has been no great pro-EU shift; nevertheless, there were some lawyers who had changed their minds. They displayed little in the way of outright regret over their vote, with many expressing the general feeling that implementing Brexit is simply more trouble that it is worth.
Voted LEAVE in 2016 but would vote REMAIN in the event of another vote
“Although on an ideological level I believe that the EU is flawed and continued closer integration is doomed to fail, the economic impact on the UK was misrepresented by the Leave campaign. On balance, I feel it would be better to remain in the EU, retain the financial benefits and keep trying to change it from within.”
“Now I think we will be worse off in lots of ways but still hate the bureaucracy and cost of Brussels.”
“The politicians involved in the “leave” campaign clearly lied about certain facts that were presented to the public and had no intention of taking UK out of the EU other than to use ‘Brexit’ as a smokescreen to support and encourage racial hatred.”
“Because the Government hasn’t got the courage to actually break free from the EU, so they will half-arse it and we’ll end up in the worst possible situation of having to follow all the rules but with no seat at the table.”
“Feel mislead regarding what we were voting for.”
“Too much hassle and Theresa May is too lame and incompetent to deal with negotiations – this should have been sorted by now!”
“All politicians have lost sight of needing to put behind party politics in order to get the best deal for UK PLC. I have no confidence that any of them are up to the job.”
Of some comfort to the pro-EU brigade: of those who didn’t vote in 2016, the vast majority would come out for Remain in the event of another referendum.
DID NOT VOTE in 2016 but would vote REMAIN in the event of another vote
“The Brexit talks are a shambles, the Government is totally inept (as are the Labour party should they come into power) and I don’t believe any government will be able to negotiate a deal which leaves the UK in a better position than if it remained in the EU.”
“I don’t believe we have the skills / time to negotiate decent leaving terms… and quite frankly I don’t believe there is a sufficient problem with being in the EU that warrants the investment of time and resource.”
“I wish I had voted the first time. I was foolish enough to believe that there was absolutely no chance that ‘Leave’ would win, so I did not make a special effort to get to the polling station.”