As Policy Exchange hosts a major conference on the future of the Union, exclusive new polling reveals that popular support for Union remains strong and British identification is robust. The DeltaPoll poll found that:
- A clear majority of people in the UK are in favour of the Union in its current form (68% in England, 52% in Scotland, 66% in Wales and 59% in Northern Ireland)
- A clear majority of people in the UK say their support for the Union has remained constant or has risen in recent years (78% in England, 60% in Scotland, 69% in Wales, 70% in Northern Ireland)
- However, there is concern across all nations – particularly pronounced in Northern Ireland – about the impact of Brexit on the Union. 58% of people in England, 59% in Scotland, 54% in Wales and 60% in Northern Ireland believe that Brexit has made the break up of the UK more likely.
- Scots are most likely to identify more with their home nation than with the UK as a whole, with 44% of English, 60% of Scots, 49% of Welsh and 51% of Northern Irish saying that they are identifying more with their home nation than with the UK as a whole in recent years.
- Welsh people are least likely to believe that stronger national identities weaken the UK, with 50% of English, 56% of Scots, 33% of Welsh and 50% of Northern Irish agreeing that stronger national identities weaken the UK.
- Scots are more likely to describe themselves as Scottish rather than British, but across the other three nations people see themselves as equally or more British than English/Welsh/Northern Irish (69% English, 44% Scots, 59% Welsh and 55% Northern Irish see themselves as equally or more British than English/Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish)
Policy Exchange’s Director Dean Godson said:
“Support for the Union is strong – but people are understandably nervous about the future. The UK needs a ‘new Unionism’, one based not just on the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, but on the regions and peoples within them.
“A new Unionism would not deny the difficulties faced by the United Kingdom, but Brexit also provides an opportunity for a reboot of one of the most successful nation-states in modern history.”
This follows polling on the monarchy, which shows that across all of the UK nations, the monarchy is regarded as a force for unity after Brexit (57% in England, 46% in Scotland, 52% in Wales and 52% in Northern Ireland).
Today Policy Exchange also publishes The state of the union [LINK] a new paper by Arthur Aughey, Emeritus Professor of Politics at Ulster University, in which he calls for a confident approach to the politics of the Union and recommends a Charter of the Union to reinforce the relationship between the UK’s nations.
Professor Aughey said:
“One of the strengths of the Union is that it defies easy categorisation as an arrangement of sate. It marries overall unity with a recognition of diversity, making it well-equipped for a modern liberal democratic society.”
Download polling data.