Nearly half of Tory voters would support a second referendum on the UK’s final Brexit deal, according to a new poll.
Survation interviewed 1,507 voters who supported the Conservatives at either the 2015 or 2017 general election and found 47% said they would also support their MP if they proposed remaining part of a customs union with the EU after March 2019.
Six out of ten said they believed it was right for politicians to “put country before party” on Brexit - suggesting a high level of support for Tory rebels Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry, who will table an amendment to the trade bill which would keep the UK in a form of customs union - against the government’s position.
Those taking party in the study, carried out on behalf of pro-Europe group Citizens For Britain, were defined by the pollsters as either “joiners” - voting Conservative in 2017 only; “loyalists”, supporting Theresa May’s party in both elections; or “defectors” - voting Conservative in 2015 but not 2017.
More than 60% of respondents in London - and 46% nationwide - said they wanted to see the final Brexit deal put to a second public vote, putting them more in line with the views of more traditionally “left” parties.
Citizens For Britain chair Simon Allison said: “This poll shows that backbench Conservative MPs are right to stand up against the hard Brexiteers.
“Conservative voters do not support the UK crashing out of the EU, they want a final say on the Brexit deal and they want our MPs to put country before party when they vote.
“Ramming a Brexit deal through the Commons without either a free vote by MPs or a new popular vote wouldn’t just be unwise, it has the potential to be an election loser for the Conservative Party.
“Ministers should note that even Conservative voters aren’t behind their current course, transition deal or not.”
Soubry warned this week that her party is at risk losing “a generation” of voters and being consigned to the “wilderness”.
The former minister said her party was now in a “terrible mess” and had allowed Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to be seen as the party of business, as the Tories brace themselves for heavy defeats at the local elections in May.
“We are actually finding that John McDonnell is more accurately reflecting the views of British business, McDonnell, more accurately reflecting their views, their demands of Brexit, than us as Tories - the party that always that stood up for business. It is indeed absolutely shameful,” she told a Tory Reform Group meeting.
She added: “If we are not firmly in that centre-ground, and being brave and radical, then we are going to lose a generation which is what happened when I was your age and we spent 13 years in the wilderness with a Labour government.”