Only Labour giving a clear commitment for a new public vote on Brexit can stop Nigel Farage’s far right party securing top spot in the European Parliamentary elections, according to a new YouGov poll published today.
The survey of 1,855 voters on Monday and Tuesday this week shows Farage’s Brexit Party currently enjoying a shock five-point lead over all other parties including Labour and the third-placed Conservatives.
Although there is a high proportion of people saying they don’t know or would not vote, Farage’s early lead reflects not only how he traditionally does well in these low turn-out elections and the wave of free publicity he has enjoyed in the past week, but also continued uncertainty over the main parties’ position on Brexit.
The picture changes dramatically depending on what Labour puts in its manifesto for the Euro elections.
If Labour’s manifesto supports Brexit going ahead, even on the different terms of a customs union deal, Jeremy Corbyn’s party loses one third of its vote and slumps to 15 per cent in the polls - level with the Conservatives and resurgent Liberal Democrats.
In these circumstances, Farage’s lead soars to 10 points on 25 per cent of the vote while another far-right party, UKIP, retains a further 6 per cent of public support.
But if Jeremy Corbyn’s party says it supports a new public vote on whether or not to go ahead with Brexit, its share of the vote would increase, and Farage’s lead would be cut to just 3 per cent.
Along with other parties like the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Change UK, Plaid Cymru and the Greens which already support a new referendum, full backing from the Labour Party could mean a majority of people taking part in the elections back a new public vote.
Commenting, Dame Margaret Beckett, the Labour MP and a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“These elections have proven to be rich hunting grounds for Nigel Farage’s brand of extreme right-wing politics before and may be again. But the message of this poll is loud and clear: it suggests that if anyone can stop Farage winning it is Labour – and only if we back a People’s Vote.
“There is nothing to be gained by denying that we support the public getting the final say which is what the overwhelming majority of our voters, members and MPs want. If we hedge our bets or say we back another form of Brexit, Labour loses voters and Farage will storm to first place.
“It’s time to recognise that the best thing for both the country and the best thing for the Labour Party is to stand and fight the far right by demanding a People’s Vote.”
The YouGov survey asked current voting intention in the European Parliamentary elections (weighted by likelihood to vote):
It then asked voting intention if the Conservatives say they support going ahead with Brexit on the terms of the deal negotiated by the Government; while Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, Change UK, the SNP and Plaid Cymru say they support a public vote on whether or not to go ahead with Brexit; UKIP and the Brexit party say they support leaving the EU without any deal.
The poll also asked if, at the European Parliament elections, the Conservatives say they supported going ahead with Brexit on the terms of the deal negotiated by the government; Labour say they supported going ahead with Brexit but staying in the customs union; the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, Change UK, the SNP and Plaid Cymru say they support a public vote on whether or not to go ahead with Brexit; UKIP and the Brexit party say they support leaving without any deal.
Full tables are available at: https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/vdqicng3bz/PeoplesVote_190416_EUElections_w.pdf