March 31, 2021

The opinions of MPs on the Government’s handling of Brexit

Author:
Chris Hopkins, Associate Director
MPs are split on whether the Government effectively communicated to the public, as under half of MPs are satisfied (46%) while nearly the same number of MPs (44%) are dissatisfied.

2020 was a year of turmoil; Covid-19 ravaged the UK, mass protests in the Summer for race equality, and of course, Brexit. It did not seem a UK-EU deal would be agreed upon; however, in the eleventh hour, the teams of Johnson and Barnier managed to reach an agreement on the future relationship between the EU and UK.


This fulfilled the promise of Johnson to ‘Get Brexit Done’, but the opposition has claimed many issues with how it has been handled. To see how MPs feel about the Government’s handling of Brexit, Savanta ComRes decided to ask Members of Parliament a range of questions on the subject matter.

Half (53%) of MPs are satisfied with the Government’s overall negotiation strategy, including a third (32%) that are very satisfied. However, when analysing by party we can see that there is a clear difference of opinion between Conservative MPs and opposition MPs. Nine in ten (91%) Conservative MPs are satisfied with Johnson’s negotiation strategy, while nine in ten Labour MPs (89%) and SNP MPs (92%) are dissatisfied with the overall negotiation strategy.

The Government’s communication with the British public was a point of contention throughout negotiations. MPs are split on whether the Government effectively communicated to the public, as under half of MPs are satisfied (46%) while nearly the same number of MPs (44%) are dissatisfied. Once again party lines have become clear in the results, as four in five (80%) Conservative MPs approve of the Government’s communication with the British public, whilst not a single Labour MP or SNP MP feel the same. Nine in ten (87%) Labour MPs are dissatisfied with the Government’s communication, whilst all SNP MPs questioned feel dissatisfied.

Now Brexit negotiations have concluded, much has changed for businesses throughout the UK. It appears however that MPs are aggrieved with the clarity coming from the Government. Half (50%) of MPs are dissatisfied with the Government’s clarity for businesses, whilst two in five (43%) MPs are satisfied, believing the Government has been clear on new regulations. Three in four (74%) Conservative MPs are satisfied, showing the majority in the party; however, it is a drop in satisfaction compared to the previous results given. Nearly all (97%) Labour MPs are dissatisfied, showing a want for more Government clarity on the new trading rules and regulations with the EU.

While Michael Gove had the responsibility of preparing the UK for life post-Brexit, the Government had to consider infrastructure, food/medicine importation, and immigration to name a few. Half (50%) of MPs are satisfied with Governmental preparedness, whilst two in five (43%) MPs are dissatisfied. Security preparations have also been needed, as the UK has left Europol, and security cooperation between the UK and EU has come into question. Half (48%) of MPs are satisfied with the Government’s security preparedness, including cybersecurity, tackling organised criminal gangs, and terrorism. Two in five (39%) MPs however are dissatisfied with the Government’s security preparedness.

Throughout negotiations the Government was obliged to collaborate and update Parliament whenever new developments took place. MPs are split however on whether they are happy with the Government’s collaboration with Parliament. Just under half over MPs (46%) are dissatisfied with the Government’s collaboration, whilst slightly more (48%) MPs are satisfied.

A deal between the UK and EU was announced on 24th December 2020, giving just seven days for the Commons and Lords to scrutinise and pass the legislation. Half of MPs (52%) are dissatisfied with the amount of time afforded to scrutinise the deal, including two in five (37%) MPs that are very dissatisfied. Two in five (41%) are happy with the time given to scrutinise the deal, unsurprisingly most of these MPs are Conservatives.

Finally, MPs were questioned on the perception of the UK within the international community throughout the negotiations, creating an even split among MPs. Under half (44%) of MPs are satisfied with the UK’s perception around the globe, whilst the same number of MPs (44%) are dissatisfied.


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