A proposed second referendum on the UK’s European Union membership has the support of two in five Brits, according to a new opinion poll.
The findings, published by polling organisation ICM, show 41 per cent of those asked would back a second referendum if the UK voted to leave the EU before the end of 2017.
London Mayor Boris Johnson is believed to be in favour of the two referenda option, which would allow Britain to reject David Cameron’s renegotiation package but potentially secure a better deal from Brussels.
Dominic Cummings, former special adviser to Michael Gove, revealed the polling results on his blog today.
Discussing the figures, he said: “Unsurprisingly, they show that 1) the public supports a second referendum, and 2) the prospect of one makes the idea of voting ‘No’ in the first vote less scary and therefore may increase the chances of ‘No’ winning the first vote.
“It is also worth considering that the public has not focused on the first vote yet so the idea of a second vote is necessarily an abstract and hazy thing. As the campaign develops, I suspect these numbers will strengthen.”
In an earlier blog, Mr Cummings explained the rationale behind having two referenda: “If you vote yes, you won’t get another vote for another 40 years – if ever. You should vote no to Cameron’s rubbish deal. If you vote no, you will force a new government to negotiate a new deal and give you a new vote. A no vote is much safer than a yes vote.”
Mr Johnson is thought to be in favour of a second referendum as it would be a “bold” move which could swing momentum behind the ‘no’ campaign.
Last month, The Sunday Times reported the London Mayor told friends a “no” vote would prompt the European Union to offer a better deal that should then be put before the public in a follow up referendum.
He is reported to have said: “We need to be bold. You have to show them that you are serious.”
ICM asked respondents if they support a second referendum focusing on the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU – 41 per cent backed the plan, 29 per cent were opposed and 30 per cent did not know.