A new poll suggests that most Labour voters would react positively if Labour changed its tune on the biggest issue of the decade.
The new YouGov poll conducted for the Best of Britain group found that 63% of Labour voters would be “delighted” or “pleased” if Labour changed its stance to oppose Brexit, as reported in the Guardian. 22% said the same about Labour’s current position on being committed to taking the UK out the European Union.
On Thursday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced that Labour would not support a referendum on the terms of the deal eventually reached, as reported by Sky News. This comes after 70 London councillors called for a “rethink” on the party’s Brexit position, according to the Independent.
Could Labour change its position on Brexit?
The trouble for Labour is that the majority of its voters are pro-remain, but a significant chunk of the seats the party represent opted to leave the EU in June 2016. Resultantly, Jeremy Corbyn and his team are in the middle of a difficult balancing act.
And so far - remarkably - it has paid off, in the sense that the party’s support in the polls has consistently remained above 40%. Without giving too clear a stance on Brexit and using time to attack the Conservatives on the economy, the NHS and other issues, Labour’s avoidance of Brexit has kept its support intact.
Furthermore, polling has regularly noted the existence of “re-leavers” – remainers who accept that the country voted leave and want the government to get on with taking the country out the EU. A YouGov poll earlier this year put combined leave and re-leaver support at 68%. This will have factored into Labour’s current position.
The new poll suggesting that Labour voters would be happy if Labour changed its position hints that it would be a good move for the party to change its position. However, a look at the wider picture shows that Labour is unlikely to back an “exit from Brexit” or a second referendum any time soon.
There would need to be a staggeringly big change in public opinion ahead of March 2019 for Labour to change its position.
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