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7/21/17

Britain Return To The Fold: 9 ways Britain could stay in the European Union

While undoing Brexit altogether looks almost as unlikely today as it did in the immediate aftermath of the referendum last year, those who think Britain might be better off staying in the European Union are becoming more vocal as the complexities and potential costs of Brexit become clearer.

Vince Cable — who was crowned leader of the Liberal Democrats unopposed Thursday — has never supported leaving the bloc and is “beginning to think Brexit may never happen.” Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair last weekend suggested the U.K. could stay in a reformed European Union. Even the director of the Vote Leave campaign, Dominic Cummings, admitted on Twitter this week that there are “some possible branches of the future” in which “leaving will be an error.”

Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister and European Council president, put it more poetically last month. “You may say I am a dreamer. But I am not the only one,” he said, channelling John Lennon.

In Westminster, anti-Brexit dreamers are scarce but POLITICO spoke to some of those who believe Brexit could yet be halted. The political odds might be stacked against them, but then very few correctly predicted the referendum vote in the first place.

Here are nine scenarios in which Britain stays in the European Union:
1. Public opinion changes

Remainers have been heartened by a number of polls since the June 8 election which have suggested an uptick in support for staying in the European Union, including one by Survation that found 54 percent of Brits would now prefer to remain in the bloc.

However Joe Twyman, head of political and social research at YouGov, which has been monitoring public opinion since the referendum, said the shifts in views had been too small to point of a definitive change of heart. He said the country was still divided down the middle, much as it was in the referendum vote itself but added that “things could change massively.”

“It is almost certain that as things do actually start to occur then there could be a movement in one way or another. People could say ‘this is working out really well, yay us.’ And so support for Brexit rises significantly. The opposite could be true if things go wrong.”

The main political parties are all monitoring the situation through private polling, according to Twyman. The “smart ones” understand the fluid nature of [public opinion] and are aware that polls could change significantly.

Read more: 9 ways Britain could stay in the European Union – POLITICO

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