The revelation that a clear majority of voters at least partially blame Brexit for surging food prices and stubbornly high inflation will only add to the pressure that has been building on Rishi Sunak over trade terms with the EU.

The Prime Minister has this month faced calls from his own MPs to rework the Brexit deal, amid an existential threat to the UK car industry that has led to demands for a renegotiation.

That came amid a backdrop of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt tacitly backing a huge increase in immigration to boost flagging economic growth, and briefings from the Government that the UK is considering a “Swiss-style” Brexit to boost trade ties with the EU.

Although he was a Leaver, Mr Sunak is also showing signs of trying to smooth over the roughest edges of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU, signing the Windsor Framework agreement on Northern Ireland and resetting relations with Brussels.

He has also ditched plans to scrap, review or retain all EU laws by the end of this year, another sign of increasing pragmatism in the Government.

Food price inflation signposts the next potential flashpoint for the Government, which is still vowing to push ahead with the long-delayed introduction of full border controls for food imports from the EU in October.

These were delayed by ministers last year to help ease the cost of living crisis, and with the price of a supermarket shop continuing to rise, they are sure to come under pressure to show similar pragmatism again.

But failing to actually erect a full border with the EU seven years after the country voted to do just that, it begs the question of whether the so-called hard Brexit negotiated by Boris Johnson, with the UK largely free of Brussels rules (if it wants to be) is sustainable.

The issue is unlikely to reach a crunch point before the next election, mainly because Sir Keir Starmer does not want to touch it in any meaningful way.

Members of his frontbench have likened the Labour leader to someone carrying a Ming Vase, wary of doing anything to shatter the commanding poll lead that looks set to put him in No 10.

But even if that is the right approach as Sir Keir looks to return Labour to office after a long exile, this new polling showing voters believe Brexit has had a negative impact on everything from the economy, NHS and public services, suggests the issue could become more dominant once he is in office.

He will need to find a way to balance the economic and political imperatives without alienating one side or the other – a challenge that UK leaders have so failed to meet.

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