Red Wall voters urge Boris Johnson to keep promise over ‘great new deal’ with EU

Boris Johnson at the launch of his party's election manifesto in Telford. Photograph: Stefan Roussea

Boris Johnson at the launch of his party's election manifesto in Telford. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA. - Credit: PA

'Red Wall' constituencies which helped deliver Boris Johnson's election victory by flipping from Labour to Conservative face serious economic and political consequences if the PM fails to deliver his promised European trade deal, according to new research.

A new report assessing the views of those who switched from Labour to the Conservatives concludes that, not only are Red Wall areas particularly vulnerable to the double economic shock of a no-deal Brexit on top of a recession sparked by coronavirus, but that voters of all persuasions in the Red Wall overwhelmingly want a deal to be struck with the EU.

Polling found approximately 90% of voters in Red Wall seats believe it is important or very important that the government sticks to its manifesto pledge and delivers a 'great new deal' for Britain with the EU.

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The report, combining economic analysis, polling data and switch-voter interviews, was compiled by cross-party advocacy group Best for Britain.

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Naomi Smith from the group warned that it was those voters that would be the biggest loser from a failure to strike a deal.

She said: 'Red Wall constituencies will be among the biggest losers if the government is unable to agree a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU. Their local economies are most exposed to the double whammy of Corona recession and No Deal – though it should be stressed that all parts of the country will feel significant pain.

'If that does not give ministers pause for thought, then they should consider that a huge majority of Red Wall voters want a good deal struck – even among lifelong Conservative voters, and those who switched away from Labour at the last election, that figure is consistently more than 90%.

'These battleground constituencies are sending out a crystal clear message to the prime minister: Boris, keep your promise.'

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said that it again shows the urgent need to extend the transition period to allow for further talks.

She said: 'This poll is further evidence that people want the government to focus on the crisis in front of them and avoid a no deal Brexit at the end of the year.

'Boris Johnson is taking the country on an extraordinarily dangerous path by refusing to extend the transition period. Each day brings us closer to a no deal exit that would mean a further hit to jobs and living standards, with the poorest in our society hit hardest.

'It's not too late to listen to change course. I hope politicians from across the Commons will back the cross-party Bill I have tabled to extend the transition and avoid no deal.'

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