Brexit: Most Conservative voters who backed Theresa May in 2017 would favour second referendum

Most voters who backed Theresa May at the last election support a further referendum on her Brexit deal, a new poll has revealed.

The study of more than 1,400 Conservative voters who gave Ms May a mandate to pursue Brexit last June, shows the largest number favour a second national vote once terms of withdrawal are clear.

In London, where the Tories are bracing themselves for troubling local election results in May, a large majority of Tory voters from 2015 and 2017 backed a second referendum.

The illuminating data point to a Tory electorate wary of Brexit at all costs, who want a say over the terms of the agreement which is expected to be finalised towards the end of 2018.

They will also give Ms May something to think about as she prepares to address her party’s spring conference in London following one of her strongest political weeks since the election.

The poll by Survation asked Conservative voters who turned out for Ms May in 2017 to what extent they would support a proposal for a referendum on whether to accept or reject the deal the Prime Minister strikes with Brussels.

© Reuters Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Peter NichollsA total of 42.7 per cent said they would support it, 19.5 per cent “strongly” and 23.2 per cent “somewhat”, meanwhile 34.6 per cent, were against the idea, 23.2 per cent strongly and 11.4 per cent somewhat. Around 14.3 per cent were indifferent, while 9.1 per cent did not know.

The research was commissioned by the Conservative grassroots group Citizens for Britain, which will be lobbying other party members over the issue at the conference this weekend.

Chairman Simon Allison said: “This poll shows that even Tory voters expect a final say on the Brexit deal.

“These results must give Theresa May very real pause for thought if she plans to ram home a Brexit deal without either a free vote by MPs or a new popular vote.”

Data collected from more than 1,500 Tory voters from across the 2015 and 2017 elections returned similar results – but when focusing on those from London support for a second referendum soared.

Some 61.2 per cent favoured another national vote, 26.9 per cent strongly and 34.4 per cent somewhat, and 25.3 per cent opposed it, 5.2 per sent “somewhat” and 20.1 per cent “strongly”.

Even Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis, who heads up the Tory campaign machine, has admitted that the forthcoming local elections are going to be challenging in London.

The Independent reported on Thursday how the Conservative Party has already lost control of Barnet after a councillor resigned from the whip after eight years.

It paves the way for Labour to make a grab for the borough on May 3, with Westminster and stronghold Wandsworth – seen as a flagship Tory council for many years – also set to fall.

Mr Allison said: “These findings are potentially ominous for Conservative prospects in this May’s London elections and surely reflect an awareness of how much the Government has already sacrificed vital London interests in trade and financial services to secure its hard-line version of Brexit.

“Conservative MPs, especially those in the capital, should take notice.”

The Prime Minister is set to speak to the party faithful at lunchtime on Saturday, following a week in which the Salisbury nerve agent attack has allowed her to turn the political debate away from Brexit and divisions within the party.

After she won broad international backing for her approach to tackling Russian involvement in the incident, polls suggested voters heavily backed her handling of it.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been forced to clarify his position, after his words in the Commons sparked a Labour row over whether Russia was to blame for the attack.

Fieldwork was conducted on the 13th March 2018. Survation is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules
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