The Conservative Party stands most to gain in Yorkshire and the Humber if Labour help some form of Brexit over the line, according to a YouGov poll of more 2,000 voters across the region.
The poll shows Labour – which is currently the dominant party in the region with 49% to the Conservatives’ 41% at the 2017 general election – would slip behind the Conservatives if Jeremy Corbyn’s party is blamed by voters for enabling Brexit to be completed.
The opinion poll, conducted independently by YouGov for the People’s Vote campaign, found that Labour’s share of the vote is already slipping down to 44% as Remain supporters turn their backs on the party.
If a Brexit deal eventually passes with the support of Conservative and Labour MPs, then Jeremy Corbyn’s support across the region would slump to just 35%, a 9% fall compared to current voting intentions and a massive 14% behind where Labour was in the 2017 general election.
According to the poll, if Labour MPs vote with the Tories to bring about some form of Brexit, the party would finish in second place across the region, four points behind the Tories, who would be on 39% as support for anti-Brexit parties like the Liberal Democrats and the Greens surges.
If Labour tried to duck the issue by failing to instruct its MPs to oppose a Brexit deal – perhaps by giving them a so-called “free vote” - the Party’s share of the vote would be just 34% across the region.
The reason for such a precipitous fall in support is clear: although the region is still narrowly in favour of Brexit, almost three quarters of Labour voters (74%) want to stay in the EU.
Labour has pledged to oppose the current Brexit plan in crucial Parliamentary votes next week. But the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn has hinted that he could yet back a re-negotiated Brexit deal and, in an interview before Christmas, suggested that Brexit would still go ahead even if he won a snap General Election.
The poll shows that nearly two-thirds (65%) of all voters across the region are against the deal negotiated by Theresa May, and a majority (51%) of voters now want the public to have the final say on Brexit in a People’s Vote.
If a referendum was a choice between staying in the EU or the government’s proposed Brexit deal, voters in the region would prefer to remain in the EU by a clear majority of 56% to 44%.
And if It was a choice between staying in the EU or leaving without any deal, remain would now win by an even bigger margin – 58% to 42%.
Labour’ s Angela Smith, who is MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge and a supporter of the campaign for a People’s Vote, said:
“This poll is a real wake-up call for the Labour leadership and many of our colleagues. It shows that concern about losing Labour voters who backed leave in the last referendum if the party stands up to Brexit, is unfounded. In fact, if our party doesn’t stand up against Brexit, votes and seats across Yorkshire and the Humber are at risk.
“Labour members and supporters are overwhelmingly in favour of a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the European Union. But with only a few months until we crash out of the EU, our party is still sitting on the fence.
“We have the opportunity to save our country from catastrophe and so we should seize it with both hands. If we do not, this poll shows it is Labour, not the Tories, that will be punished at the ballot box.
“We must now back the clear majority of our members and our voters, who are now demanding a final say in a People’s Vote.”