The majority of Britons do not trust Boris Johnson to deliver on his pledge to build a fairer country post Brexit.
An exclusive poll for the Daily Mirror finds most voters have little faith the Prime Minister will invest in the regions and tackle inequality.
Mr Johnson has hailed our departure from the EU as a chance to create ”jobs and hope” and “level up” all parts of the United Kingdom.
But our survey by Deltapoll shows 50% of people say they do not trust the PM to level up the different regions of Britain, with only 37% believing he will.
And a clear majority (45% to 23%) expect Britain to become less equal over the next 12 months.
More than half of voters (55%) also say they do not have faith in the Tories helping the poorest in society, with 51% saying they are more likely to help the richest people in the country.
The poll also reveals people’s anxieties about the coming year.
Fewer than one in four (24%) believe the economy will improve over the next 12 months with 48% saying it will get worse.
And a clear majority (45% to 23%) think Britain has become a more unequal country in the last year.
Only 36% of those polled are optimistic about the year ahead, with 30% pessimistic.
There is limited praise for the Prime Minister for securing a Brexit deal, with 41% backing the trade agreement compared to 34% opposed.
A majority (38% to 32%) think the deal will be good for Britain with 30% undecided.
However, most people do not believe the agreement is the one promised by Brexiteers in the 2016 referendum.
Only 4% say the outcome is better than the one promised by the Leave campaign compared to 48% who say it is worse than what Leave pledged four years’ ago.
If there were a second referendum 53% would vote remain and 47% leave.
Brexit trade deal talks were held up for months over two main issues.
Fishing: The two sides were split over two issues – quotas and access. In 2012-16, 56% of the fish in UK waters was caught by EU boats and 44% by UK boats. Britain wanted both more quota to catch its own fish, and ultimate control over who accesses the waters. Both sides agreed a five-and-a-half-year transition period before the UK has full sovereignty over its own waters. This was more than the three years originally demanded by the UK. Meanwhile the UK share of fish caught in its own waters will rise to reclaim 25% of fish currently caught by EU trawlers by 2026. Originally the UK had demanded 80% of the EU’s quotas in UK waters.
Level playing field: This means how closely we follow EU rules in the future, to stop us undercutting businesses on the continent. The UK wanted to be free to set its own laws in areas like labour, environment, climate, and subsidies for businesses (“state aid”). But the EU originally demanded “equivalence”, with the UK “mirroring” EU rules in future. In the end, the EU won its demand for both sides to have a “level playing field” in which neither side will “grant unfair subsidies or distort competition”. But the deal stops short of the EU’s original demands for the UK to mirror EU laws. Instead the PM said each side will be able “as sovereign equals” to take action if the other side undercuts their industry – but this should only be done infrequently. The PM admitted the EU would be able to slap tariffs on UK exports and vice versa if the UK is seen to undercut EU rules. But he insisted it would have to be “proportionate” and “subject to arbitration”.
But there is little evidence of Brexit remorse with 85% saying they have no regrets how they voted in the EU referendum.
Only 13% of Leavers and 7% of Remainers say they regret their decision.
But the Prime Minister’s approval ratings are at -3, with 49% saying he is doing a bad job and 46% doing well.
By contrast Mr Starmer has a net approval of +5, with 41% saying he is doing well and 36% badly.
The poll also lays bare how few people trust Mr Johnson, with only 39% saying he tells the truth, compared to 54% who say he doesn’t.
The poll also suggests the Conservatives are losing support in seats they gained in 2019, including in the Red Wall.
In these constituencies, Mr Johnson’s approval rating has slipped to -19%, while Mr Starmer is one +15%.
Voters in these seats also have less faith the Prime Minister will level up the regions (-34%, compared to -13% nationally) and help the poorest (-24% compared to -18% nationally).
However, the poll also shows the challenge facing Mr Starmer.
Among older voters Labour trails the Tories by 40 points, with 60% of those aged 65 and over saying they would vote Conservative and just 20% Labour.
The Tories are also ahead on the key issue of the economy with 46% saying a Government led by Mr Johnson and Rishi Sunak is best for the economy and only 32% backing one led by Mr Starmer and shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds.
A majority (52% to 42%) trust the Tories to help grow the economy and invest in the NHS (49% to 45%).
Mr Sunak also has the best personal ratings for any politician when it comes to dealing with the Covid outbreak.
Some 55% think the Chancellor has done well in the crisis. His net approval rating is +23, compared to -4 for Health Secretary Matt Hancock and -12 for London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is also judged to have done well during the outbreak and has an approval rating of +18.
** Deltapoll interviewed 1,608 British adults online between 26 – 30 December 2020. The data have been weighted to be representative of the British adult population as a whole.