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21st Sep 2018

Backing a People’s Vote on Brexit would bring Labour closer to power, poll finds

James Dawson

Both YouGov and ICM released data showing that a change of policy on a second referendum would bring Jeremy Corbyn closer to becoming prime minister

The Labour party would see a surge in popular support were it to back a People’s Vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union, according to two unconnected new polls.

A survey from YouGov has today claimed Labour would gain an additional 1.5 million votes from pledging support to a second referendum. While an unrelated ICM study found that doing so would mean Jeremy Corbyn’s party would hold and make gains in marginal constituencies from the promise.

The findings come after the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said yesterday that Theresa May’s Chequers plan “will not work.” Despite this and the growing possibility of Britain crashing out of the EU in a “no deal” Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn has refused to change the party’s position on holding a People Vote.

Britain’s EU membership is likely to be the key issue at Labour’s annual conference, which begins this weekend.

Last Sunday, London mayor Sadiq Khan came out in support of a second referendum, saying that only a bad deal or a no-deal were now possible. In doing so Khan joining a number of prominent Labour politicians, including former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna and former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, that have urged Corbyn to revise his position on Brexit.

YouGov’s polling found that 26% of people said they would be more likely to vote Labour if it were to change its referendum position, against 6% who said they would be less likely. If this played out in a general election, it would mean an extra 1.7 million people supporting the party and around 200,000 withdrawing their support.

Former YouGov president Peter Kellner, who analysed his previous employer’s data for the People’s Vote campaign, told the Guardian that the polling demonstrated that backing a second referendum would not cost Labour votes.