Search icon


04th Sep 2018

2.6 million Leave voters have now abandoned support for Brexit, new study finds

James Dawson

The study found that the country would opt to stay inside the EU by a margin of around 300,000 votes if a People’s Vote was held

New research by anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain has found that over two and a half million people have changed their mind and no longer want to leave the European Union two years on from the referendum.

If the data is to believed, it means that in the event of a People’s Vote being held it is likely the country would opt to stay inside the EU by a margin of around 300,000 votes. The conclusion, revealed by the Independent, was drawn from two YouGov polls which questioned more than 15,000 people.

The survey found that 2.6 million Leave voters have now switched to backing Remain, with 970,000 switching the other way – meaning a net gain for the pro-EU side of 1.6 million. The majority for Leave was around 1.3 million.

The bulk of those changing minds are thought to be Labour voters in seats the party currently holds, creating further headaches for party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Despite the majority of his MPs supporting staying inside the EU, the party’s current position on Brexit is to honour the results of the 2016 referendum without a second vote.

Labour voters accounted for 1.4 million of the 1.6 million voters found to have switched to a pro-Remain position. In total, 69 Labour-held constituencies are thought to have moved to Remain, while just three have switched to Leave. The campaign group Best for Britain believes that a change in Labour’s Brexit stance would also sway the opinions of more of their Leave-supporting voters.

Labour MP Owen Smith, who lost a leadership election to Jeremy Corbyn in 2016 but who backs the Best for Britain campaign, told the Independent: “This new data confirms that Britain is changing its mind about Brexit and Labour voters are leading the change.

“They want to see an end to austerity and they are worried that Brexit will mean years more of cuts to the NHS and other public services.

“If Jeremy Corbyn wants to be Prime Minister and to rebuild those public services he needs to win those voters by delivering a vote on the final deal and a chance for the country change course on Brexit.”

The polling is not the first data that has found public opinion is turning against Brexit, a recent YouGov poll for The Times also showed that the British people are largely dissatisfied with Theresa May’s handling of negotiations with the EU and are now in favour of a second vote.