Nearly half of Portsmouth’s Brexit backers ‘unhappy’ with EU talks, poll finds

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ALMOST half of those who voted for Brexit are unhappy with how Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union are going, new figures have revealed.

Brexit-backers in Portsmouth are growing increasingly concerned with the effort by the government to cut ties with the EU, a survey by The News has shown.

Of the 1,500 people to complete the online study, 46 per cent of those who supported the Leave campaign admitted they were ‘unhappy’, compared to 32 per cent who were pleased with the progress so far.

The figure is worse among those who voted to remain, with almost three-quarters (73 per cent) saying they were frustrated with how the deal talks were going.

It has sparked a plea from Portsmouth City Council boss Donna Jones, who urged residents to ‘trust’ the government. Cllr Jones – who was a staunch Brexiteer during the historic 2016 referendum – said: ‘People need to trust in the government.

‘I understand why that result has come back because sometimes the not knowing makes people hesitant and apprehensive. However, we have elected our members of parliament for a reason: their job is to go and run the country – their job is to go and negotiate trade deals now around the world.’

During the referendum, 58 per cent of Portsmouth (57,336 people) said they wanted out of Europe and voted to leave, compared to 42 per cent who wanted to stay.

Despite the uncertainty, most people said they would not change how they voted, with 87 per cent of Leave voters and 91 per cent of Remain supporters saying their views hadn’t changed.

Three-fifths of those surveyed by The News (59 per cent) said they were not happy with the status of Brexit negotiations at the moment, with a fifth (22 per cent) saying they were pleased. Almost half – 46 per cent – believe Britain would be better off economically inside Europe.

Cllr Jones added: ‘I can understand people apprehension about not understanding exactly what the detail of the negotiations are but in a negotiation the one thing you don’t do is publicise, in detail, your strategy and negotiating hand because you are then giving a complete unfair advantage to the other people you are negotiating with.

‘We’ve got members of parliament, I trust in them, I hope people can get behind the government and support them. I’m very optimistic about Brexit.’

Of those surveyed, 52 per cent said Britain should remain in the single European market.