Tuesday, 5 July 2022 – 22:22

Brexit opinions continues to shift

More than 100 seats that had backed Brexit in 2016 now want to remain in the EU. In stark new analysis seen by the Observer, it can be concluded that most Constituency seats in Britain contain a majority of voters who want to stay in the EU. 

These findings could have a significant impasse on the Parliamentary battle of Brexit taking place when Parliament reconvenes after the Summer recess. This analysis is one of the most comprehensive assessments of Brexit public opinion since the referendum, This study suggests that the shift is a result of doubts among Labour voters who has previous voted Leave.

Specifically, the findings commissioned by Best for Britain and the anti-racist Hope Not Hate group, found that 112 seats had switched. In whole, 431 seats now have a majority remain support, up from 229 at the referendum. 

If a referendum was held today, these findings would translate to 53% support for remain and 47% for leave. 

However, would a second referendum work? Evidently, there has been a shift in public opinion. However, it is not clear as to whether this is a reflection of Brexit fully or Theresa May’s handling of the process. Furthermore, even if there is now majority support for remain, the margins remain slim, and arguably this would not heal the divide in society. 

As such, any campaign for a second referendum would first have to learn from the mistakes made in the first. Primarily, it would make sense to ensure there is a minimum quota. This is the case for for union votes which require a minimum of 66% for action to be taken – a ‘real majority’. However, if the study is to be believed, the margins would not allow for this, suggesting a considerable more effort needs to be made before any second referendum. 

Secondly, in line with Justine Greening’s suggestion, the electorate would nee to be presented with more than simply two options. An in-out referendum did not answer the questions required in such a complex issue. For instance, there was no mention of what Brexit people were voting for, whether or not leaving the Single Market was a price worth paying to end Free Movement, etc. Therefore, any second referendum could ask between three options, which for Greening would be a ‘no deal’, Theresa May’s deal, or remain. However, this would potentially lower the chance of attaining a ‘real majority’ given a further splintering of the vote. 

Clearly, this is speculation as neither the Conservatives nor Labour have committed to a second vote.

The trend is starkest in the North of England and across Wales – traditional Labour heartlands such as Liverpool Walton and Hull North. 

These findings, whilst interesting for all parties, therefore places more pressure on Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to shift the parties stance on a second referendum, which so far has been ruled out.



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