Polls shows 35% of English public want Northern Ireland to remain in UK
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Polls shows 35% of English public want Northern Ireland to remain in UK

JUST OVER a third of the English public want Northern Ireland to stay part of the UK, according to a new opinion poll.

Independent pollster Lord Ashcroft published the findings on Twitter, showing 35% of English public quizzed were eager for Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK while 13% felt it should no longer be part of it.

The results, which were based on polls and focus groups conducted by the former Conservative peer, also showed 10% of respondents they did not know how they felt about the prospect of Northern Ireland's departure while 43% said they did not have a view and that it was for the people of Northern Ireland to decide.

Another poll, meanwhile, showed 28% of English voters felt Brexit made Irish unification more likely, with 27% saying it made no difference and 38% saying they didn't know.

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The survey also found 34% of respondents felt it would not be ideal for Northern Ireland having different arrangements to the rest of the UK as part of any deal designed to avoid the issue of a hard border.

27%, meanwhile felt the idea would be completely unacceptable with 12% describing the idea as perfectly acceptable.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Lord Ashcroft noted that the results indicated few people in England have any grasp of the political landscape in Northern Ireland.

"Apart from the observation that 'the religious element is very strong very few had any grasp of the dynamics of Northern Irish politics, which seem complicated and even mysterious to many people,” he said.

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"Some were not even aware that Northern Ireland’s long-term place in the Union was even an issue, and for others the question seemed less to do with self-determination, as in Scotland, than with identity.

Lord Ashcroft noted that while the findings indicated unionists “probably feel much like us, that they’re part of us”, others naturally felt  should “Ireland is their own country. There’s water separating England and Ireland. So if Northern Ireland became part of Ireland, that’s Ireland, one whole country".

Despite this many felt the UK would be weakened in the event of the union breaking up.

However, Lord Ashcroft’s research also found that English voters think Northern Ireland benefits more from being in the UK than England and Wales.

This opinion was especially prevalent among leave voters.

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