Are conspiracy theories a side effect of Brexit?

Pro-Brexit individuals are considerably more likely to believe in conspiracy theories – recent research says.

The study, funded by a non-profit British organisation, Leverhulme Trust, has found that approximately 60% of Britons give credence to at least one conspiracy theory. The bizarre ideas are often related to how the government runs the country and the way mass-media presents the information to audiences.

Almost half of Brexit voters (47%) believe that the number of immigrants living in the UK was concealed by authorities. Not less than 31% of leave voters believe that Muslim immigration was part of a wider scheme to make Islamic population a majority in the country.



According to the study, the most popular conspiracy belief in the UK was that “even though we live in what’s called a democracy, a few people will always run things in this country anyway,” shared by 44% of individuals. The scepticism towards British authorities was high, with around 75% of people distrusting companies, mass-media and government ministers.

The research, conducted by YouGov and University of Cambridge researchers, was part of a large-scale international project, which investigated nine countries for over six years now. The results mark the first time academics analysed problems as social trust and conspiracy theories.

Photo: Courtesy of Marco Oriolesi via Unsplash.

Voice of London has asked young Londoners about their beliefs in conspiracy theories.

Irina, 23, said: “I don’t really believe in conspiracy theories. They all seem like silly ideas. I think that people consider them true because they need an explanation for anything. Some things just don’t have justification.”

“I don’t usually give credit to conspiracy theories, but I believe that the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was abducted by aliens. It disappeared without a single trace, no one was able to find it. I can’t find any better explanation for this event,” declared Sarah, 19.

Arthur, 22 said: “Of course I believe in conspiracy theories! Everything that happens in this world, from disappearances to Illuminati, is linked to something that is way bigger than us. I can’t find reasonable causes for the disappearances which occurred in the Bermuda Triangle, for example.”

Jim McClellan, professor at University of Westminster, told VoL: “People believe in conspiracy theories because they offer a simple version of the world. They enable individuals to understand the universe, which is complex and complicated. It’s easier to blame something on simple causes such as aliens or secret societies.”


Featured Image: Stefano Pollio via Unsplash

Words and graphs: Catalina Ioana Oblu | Subbing: Shruti Tangirala


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