ONE third of people in Britain would support Northern Ireland reuniting with the rest of Ireland a new survey suggests.
The You Gov poll saw 2,000 Brits questioned last month on ‘how they would feel it parts of the UK left?’.
More specifically, one of the questions asked: 'What do mainland Britons want to happen to Northern Ireland?'
Some 40 per cent of respondents said they would want Northern Ireland to continue to remain in the UK, compared to 34 per cent saying it should rejoin the remainder of Ireland.
The results are “markedly different” to those from April, the You Gov reports states, when 22 per cent of respondents wanted the North to remain in the UK and 13 per cent said they should join the rest of Ireland.
“It does appear from previous surveys that attitudes towards Northern Ireland can vary in a short space of time; it may be the case that the question is susceptible to ordering effects,” the report states.
“Nevertheless, the results do consistently show a high level of apathy for what happens to Northern Ireland, with the main difference being to what extent the responses shift between sentiments of disinterest and desire to keep the nation within the UK.”
A second question in the survey asked ‘Would Britons care if Northern Ireland left the UK?’.
The response was largely one of indifference, with 43 per cent of respondents saying they would not be bothered, 32 per cent saying they would be upset and 15 per cent stating that they would be pleased.
In comparison the response to the same question about Scotland leaving the UK saw 43 per cent of respondents claim they would be upset if they left.
And 46 per cent of Brits said they would be upset if Wales left the UK.
“Unlike Scotland and Wales, the primary reaction to Northern Ireland leaving the UK to join with the rest of Ireland is apathy,” the report states.
“Again, these figures are notably different to April’s poll, when 50 per cent said they were apathetic, 22 per cent upset and 11 per cent pleased, likely for reasons already outlined” the reports adds.”
Sinn Féin have since claimed the survey results point to Irish unity moving closer.
Martin Kenny, the party’s deputy for South Donegal, said: “The poll reflects the general trend that we see everywhere that Irish unity is a happening thing.
“It’s something that is moving and we are getting closer to that every day,” he added, “and while this poll is interesting of course the people of Britain will have no say in the matter.”