Jeremy Corbyn would haemorrhage votes to the Lib Dems should Labour embrace Brexit at the next election, a new poll has revealed.
According to the HuffPost UK exclusive YouGov survey for the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign group, Vince Cable’s party would surge to 18% of the vote if he pledges to oppose Brexit while Labour and the Conservatives remain committed to leaving the EU.
The poll, published on Tuesday, said a pro-Brexit Conservative Party would lead the polls on 32% with pro-Brexit Labour trailing a distant second on 22%.
Under that scenario, a pro-Remain Lib Dem party would take 26% of its increased vote share from Labour.
A separate YouGov poll carried out between 28-29 January put the Lib Dems on just 6% of the vote while the Conservatives and Labour Party were tied on 42%.
Members of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet are reportedly set to meet in the coming days to make decisions about the party’s Brexit policy- including whether to back continued membership of the customs union.
Today’s survey suggests if Corbyn pledges to oppose leaving the EU going into the next election Labour would narrow the gap with a pro-Brexit Tory party.
Under those circumstances the Tories would still lead on 36%, but Labour would be close behind on 31%. The Lib Dems meanwhile would trail far behind on 7%.
Tim Farron, the former Lib Dem leader who made holding a second referendum on EU membership the key policy of his 2017 general election campaign, said the figures proved his strategy had been justified.
“The decision I took in the aftermath of the referendum to continue to fight to stay in the EU was based on principle,” he said.
“But it also doubled the membership of our party to its highest ever level and gave us a renewed purpose after the battering we’d received at the end of the coalition in 2015.
Farron, who quit as party leader following the election, added: “This poll is strong evidence that our decision was right and has given the Liberal Democrats a bold and unique message that is the best for Britain and transformational for our party.”
It comes as Brussels officials dismissed Theresa May’s latest plan for a customs ‘partnership’ with the EU as “unrealistic” and warned that time is running out for her government to reveal what kind of Brexit it wants.
Amid internal-turmoil inside the Tory party, leading pro-Europe Conservative MP Anna Soubry told May to “sling out” arch Brexiteers and threatened to quit the party and form a new political alliance.
The ex-business minister claimed the prime minister faced the same fate as David Cameron and John Major unless she “stood up to” Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Soubry told BBC Newsnight on Monday evening: “If it comes to it, I am not going to stay in a party which has been taken over by the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson. They are not proper Conservatives.
“And if that means leaving the party, form some new alliance, God knows I don’t know. But we just simply cannot go on like this any longer.”
May’s Brexit “war cabinet” is due to meet on Wednesday and Thursday to continue discussions on the “end state” relationship which the UK will seek with its former EU partners.
The YouGov poll of 1,594 adults was was conducted 1-2 February.