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UK News

Anglicans more likely to vote for Brexit than Catholics and Presbyterians, study finds

by Premier Journalist

A new study has found faith played an "important and under-appreciated role" in voting for Brexit. 

The findings, outlined in a new book Religion and Euroscepticism in Brexit Britain, revealed that one in five Brits had religious beliefs that made them more likely to vote Leave.

Anglicans were more likely to vote for Brexit whereas Catholics and Presbyterians were more likely to oppose it. 

In the 2016 Referendum, a total of 55 per cent of Anglicans voted Leave while a total of 61 per cent of Catholics voted Remain. 

Brunel University London's Dr Stuart Fox co-wrote the book with Dr Ekaterina Kolpinskaya at the University of Exeter.

"A typical Catholic would vote to remain in the European Union," said Dr Fox. "Catholics are used to the idea of a cross-national authority as in the Pope and the Vatican, so for them, the idea of being governed by an international body like the EU is quite normal.

"Anglican history, meanwhile, is defined by trying to remain separate from the European superblock, and to do that you need a strong independent nation state. For them, anything that challenges it isn't going to be something they're a fan of."

Meanwhile, people who 'practically never' attended religious services were also more likely to support Brexit.

The study found that non-practicing Anglicans were 27 percentage points more likely to support vote Leave than religiously active and devout Catholics.  

Dr Fox and Dr Kolpinskaya believe faith will likely affect how people vote in the forthcoming local elections.

"There is still a substantial 'religious vote' in British politics," said Dr Kolpinskaya. "Our study shows the nature of a religious vote changes - with formerly strong ties between Labour and Roman Catholics, for example, weakening. The Conservatives, by contrast, have consolidated much support among Christians by growing their Protestant vote and adding Catholics to it."

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