Vast majority of Conservative Party members back clean Brexit while nine in ten oppose second EU referendum

Jack Maidment
Demostrators flying a Union flag and an EU flag outside the Houses of Parliament - AFP

The vast majority of Conservative Party members want a clean Brexit while almost nine in 10 are opposed to a referendum on the final Brexit deal, a major poll has found.

A survey of the nation’s party members shows that only a quarter of grassroots Tories want to see a soft Brexit with just 25 per cent favouring Britain staying in the Single Market and 27 per cent backing remaining in the Customs Union.

It also revealed 78 per cent of Labour’s rank and file want a second referendum while almost nine in 10 want a soft Brexit.

The desire for a vote on the final deal among the party’s membership is likely to pile pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to adopt the policy.

The Labour leader has previously failed to rule out another referendum but the survey suggests the party membership want him to go much further.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

The findings of the survey, conducted by Queen Mary University of London and YouGov following the 2017 general election, expose the scale of the Brexit divide between the UK’s two main political parties.

They also illustrate significant differences between the Conservative Party membership and its Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP counterparts on a variety of other issues.

For example, on the economy, 11 per cent of Tory members agreed that austerity had gone too far compared with 98 per cent of Labour, 93 per cent of SNP and 75 per cent of Lib Dem members.

Similarly, only 19 per cent of Tory members agreed that ordinary working people do not get their fair share of the nation’s wealth, compared with 97 per cent of Labour, 95 per cent of SNP and 79 per cent of Lib Dem members.

The Tory membership is also largely in a different place to the other parties on a variety of social issues.

Just over half of Tory members support the death penalty compared with 23 per cent of SNP, 9 per cent of Labour and 8 per cent of Lib Dem members.

How long until Britain leaves the EU?

On gay marriage, four in 10 Tory members support it compared to at least eight out of 10 members for the other three parties.

Professor Tim Bale, one of the researchers, said: “Britain’s party members are the lifeblood and the footsoldiers of our democracy.

“But that doesn’t necessarily mean they look like or think like their parties’ voters – or, indeed, look or think like each other.

“The Tory grassroots in particular are something of a breed apart from their Labour, Lib Dem and SNP counterparts.”

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