‘They’re All Idiots’: Amid Brexit Chaos, Britons Lose Faith in Politicians

ROMFORD, England — Regardless of whether British voters chose to leave or remain in the European Union, the latest Brexit crisis in Westminster this week has united them on one front: They have lost all faith in their politicians.

“They’re all idiots. Stuck up, stupid, useless idiots,” said Liam Peters, 37, a carpenter from Barling, in southeast England, who voted to leave in the 2016 referendum. “We voted for a very simple thing: to leave. We didn’t vote for deals or endless negotiations. We just want to get out, but our politicians are useless, and they have turned one of the most important decisions in our history into a farce.”

After three years of painstaking negotiations, votes and delays to Brexit, many Leavers hoped that Boris Johnson would achieve what he said he would and wrench Britain out of the bloc, “do or die.” But since Parliament returned from summer recess last week, Mr. Johnson has failed at every turn, losing four key votes and his majority in Parliament, and facing the humiliation of his own brother’s stepping down from Parliament and his government. Ultimately, in less than one week, he lost control of Brexit — the one thing he vowed to deliver.

“Boris is just as useless as everyone else. He’s a joke,” said Tony Edwards, a 64-year-old retired truck driver from Essex in southeast England. “All the M.P.s are corrupt; they just care about collecting their paychecks. The best solution at this point is to shut down Parliament and elect new representatives because this Parliament does not represent the public. We voted out, and out means out.”

Things were not looking much better for Mr. Johnson on Friday. In one glimmer of good news, a judge did toss out a suit brought by the activist lawyer Gina Miller challenging the legality of the prime minister’s decision to suspend Parliament for several weeks.

Ms. Burton believes that a significant portion of the public who voted to leave the European Union in 2016 was misled by campaigners, who she says played down the economic impact of Brexit, especially if it occurred without a withdrawal agreement.

“The true reality of Brexit is now out there in the public sphere,” she said, “and I’m convinced that many people have taken stock of that reality and changed their minds.”

“There is no way I would have voted for a party led by Boris Johnson,” Ms. Ashton continued. “Just the fact that he can get elected by a handful of people and then come in and sack so many M.P.s that were elected by the public, like a Middle Eastern dictator. It’s absurd.”

Even though she does not support the main opposition Labour Party or its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Ms. Ashton believes that his leadership would increase the chances of a second referendum, which she supports.

Sitting in the sunshine in the garden of an East London pub, eating a bowl of french fries and sipping on a glass of Coke, Matt Thomas, a 42-year-old insurance agent, laughed at the mention of the word Brexit.

“It’s just theatrics, it’s actually pretty entertaining,” he said. “But I’m not too worried, because what we’ve seen this week is that Parliament is still capable of doing its job by averting BoJo’s chances of delivering a calamity and driving this country off the cliff.”

For many members of the public, the events in Westminster in recent months, and particularly this last week, have been hard to follow. Some mentioned as particularly indecipherable the interminable wrangling over the so-called backstop to prevent border checks between Ireland in the European Union and Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom. Some people said they simply did not trust the news media to deliver accurate, unbiased information.

“There is too much information out there for your average person to understand,” said Mr. Edwards, the retired truck driver. “Backdoor, backroom, whatever they are arguing about in Ireland, I don’t get it.”