Labour will save 22 seats if it calls for Parliament to have the final say on Brexit
Last week Theresa May said Parliament would have a vote on the EU exit terms – but the choice would be between accepting the terms and leaving on WTO terms. An ICM poll conducted this weekend across Labour constituencies shows that the party would be 22 seats better off in a 2017 election if it supported Parliament also having the option of the UK remaining within the EU.
If Labour opposes the Government and calls for Parliament to have a choice between accepting the deal and remaining in the EU, it would end up with 162 seats (compared to the 175 currently projected). However, if it just supports the Government it would end up with 140 seats (both scenarios assume the Lib Dems call for Parliamentary choice). In the first scenario Labour’s share of the vote falls 3% from the currently projected share of 44% in Labour constituencies to 41%; but if it supports the Government its share falls 8% from 44% to 36%, with the Lib Dems gaining a similar amount.
One explanation of these figures is that Labour has already lost the support of many potential UKIP voters – but an estimated 18% of its current supporters voted Lib Dem in 2010 and this poll suggests many of them will desert Labour if it supports the Government.
These numbers are based on a sample of 1,343 voters in Labour held seats (excluding ‘won’t votes’ and ‘don’t knows’). The seat projections do not assume a uniform national swing but take into account the proportion of remain and leave voters amongst supporters of each party in each constituency and the tendency of each of these groups to switch their votes in response to Labour’s stance (see note below).
Note on the calculation
Represent Us (who commissioned the poll) first estimated the number of leave and remain voters amongst the supporters of each party in each Labour constituency. This was done by taking the national proportions amongst the main parties (as calculated by YouGov – https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/06/27/how-britain-voted/) and applying a local adjustment based on educational qualifications: the higher the proportion of the adult population with no qualifications the higher the leave vote amongst Labour and Lib Dem voters. The figures were further adjusted to ensure that the total leave and remain votes corresponded to the constituency by constituency estimates of total leave and remain votes made by Chris Hanretty – a Reader in Politics at the University of East Anglia.
The ICM poll then revealed the proportion of voters in each of these groups in all Labour constituencies that said they would change their votes if Labour and the Lib Dems called for a real choice for Parliament, if Labour supported the Government and the Lib Dems called for a real choice for Parliament, and if Labour supported the Government and the Lib Dems called for a referendum. The third scenario was very similar to the second, with a slightly stronger showing for the Lib Dems and worse results for Labour. These proportions were then applied to the current voting intentions amongst each group in each constituency and the result of the election calculated.