Conservative MPs in marginal London seats are sharply at odds with most of their constituents over the Government’s proposed Brexit deal, according to new polls released today (Thursday).
The surveys, conducted jointly by YouGov and Populus over the past few weeks, suggest Mark Field MP, Stephen Hammond MP and Bob Neill MP risk a voter backlash if they defy their electorate to back the proposed Withdrawal Agreement.
Perhaps most worryingly for all three MPs, most of their own Conservative supporters are hostile to the proposed deal – while backing for anti-Brexit parties like the Liberal Democrats and the Greens is beginning to creep up.
Field, a Foreign Office minister who held on to the seat of Cities of London and Westminster by just 3,148 votes over Labour last year, is in a seat that would vote to stay in the EU by 72% to 28% if people are given the chance. Almost two-third of his constituents - 63% - would back a new public vote instead of leaving it to MPs to have the final say if the deal is voted down in Parliament.
By a margin of more than three-to-one, voters in Field’s central London seat are hostile to the proposed deal. Just 21% say the Government has done well and is likely to get a good deal, with 71% disagreeing. A total of 73% agree with the statement that “Brexit is turning out to be a mess - more damaging and more costly than anyone could have known at the time of the referendum two years ago”.
Hammond, who held Wimbledon last year with a majority of 5,622 over Labour, was handed a job as health minister only last week. His South London seat would also back staying in the EU by 72% to 28% and voters back a People’s Vote if the government’s proposal fails to clear the Commons.
An even bigger proportion of Wimbledon voters believe that Britain is headed for a bad deal (76%) and that Brexit is turning out to be mess (75%).
Neill, a senior Conservative who has been MP for Bromley and Chislehurst since 2006 saw his majority slashed to under 10,000 last year. His seat was split 50/50 between Leave and Remain in 2016 but would now vote to stay in the EU by 53% to 47%, according to the poll which also showed a clear majority (59% to 41%) in favour of a public vote if the deal breaks down.
Even in this Conservative suburban heartland – where neighbouring MP Jo Johnson recently quit the government so he could campaign for a People’s Vote - the overwhelming bulk of voters believe Britain is headed for a bad deal (72%) and that Brexit has turned out to be a costly mess (69%).
Lord Andrew Cooper, a former Conservative Party and Downing Street strategist for David Cameron, said:
“These polls show that voters in three key Tory-held constituencies across London are decisively rejecting the government’s Brexit deal – and that most of the party’s own supporters take the same damning view. Around three in four voters overall in Wimbledon, Cities of London & Westminster and Bromley & Chislehurst reject the idea that Theresa May’s government has ‘done well in the negotiations’ and that a ‘good Brexit deal’ will be delivered. In all three of these constituencies a majority of those who voted Conservative at the last election in these constituencies take the same view.
“In these three seats, voters have also overwhelmingly concluded that ‘Brexit has turned out to be a mess - more damaging and costly than anyone could have known at the time’ - and, furthermore, a clear majority even of those who voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum agree that it has turned out to be a mess.
“Alongside this very negative reaction to the Government’s handling of the renegotiations and to the reality of Brexit, in all three of these Conservative-held constituencies there is a big majority wanting a new referendum if it comes down to a choice between no-deal Brexit or staying in the EU, rather than leaving it to MPs to decide.
“These stark poll results suggest not only that the Tory MPs for these constituencies are miles out of touch with what their local voters, if they support the government’s deal, but that if the deal is rejected by MPs – which now looks very likely – their constituents will, by a 20%-plus margin, want them then to support a People’s Vote.”
Fieldwork was conducted among 1,468 adult voters in these constituencies between October 31 and November 20 by a combination of YouGov online panels and telephone polling by Populus. These surveys were commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign but conducted independently.
Notes to editors:
For the polling results: