Labour could gain more than 60 seats and 1.5 million votes if it backs EU referendum - poll

Posted On: 
20th September 2018

Labour could gain an extra 60 seats if it throws its weight behind a second EU referendum, according to a new poll.

Jeremy Corbyn campaigning for Remain during the EU referendum
PA Images

The survey of more than 10,000 people by YouGov on behalf of the People's Vote campaign showed a shift in policy would potentially be worth an extra 1.55 million votes for the party.

Overall, the poll found that 26% of voters said they would be more likely to vote Labour if the party backed another referendum, compared to 6% who said they were not.

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The findings were revealed as Labour delegates prepare to gather in Liverpool for the party's annual conference, where Brexit is set to be one of the main areas of debate.

More than 100 local branches have submitted motions calling for the party to back another referendum, something the Labour leadership has repeatedly refused to do,

Instead, Jeremy Corby and John McDonnell have said they want a general election if Theresa May is unable to get a Brexit deal through the House of Commons.

According to the poll, around 200,000 voters said they would be less likely to support Labour if it backed a referendum, but that was far outweighed by the 1.7 million who said they "would seriously" consider or "might" back the party.

The People's Vote campaign said on a uniform swing it would work out as an extra 2,400 votes per seat, enough to see Labour take 50 constituencies off the Tories and another 16 off the SNP.

Elsewhere, the poll showed that support for another referendum is now running at 55% against 45% who are opposed.

Labour MP David Lammy said: "Labour should be backing a people’s vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations. It is the right thing for the party to do if it is to stand up for the communities, public services and young people who will be hit first and worst by the kind of Brexit that people like Michael Gove, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson want to impose on us.

"But what these figures show is that supporting a people’s vote is also the right thing for the party to do if we it wants to win a general election. This should concentrate some minds at our conference in Liverpool next week."

Former YouGov president Peter Kellner said: "Like all such hypothetical exercises, different ways of asking the questions and doing the sums will yield different results.

"But the nine-to-one gulf between the non-Labour target voters and the at-risk Labour supporters leaves no doubt that by backing a popular vote on Brexit, the party would end up making significant gains in votes and seats. In a tight general election, it could make the difference between returning to government and remaining in opposition."