Labour can stop Farage 'surge' - but only if it backs a People's Vote

PUBLISHED: 12:12 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:25 17 April 2019

Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a Brexit Party rally at Brighton City Airport in West Sussex. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

Nigel Farage delivers a speech at a Brexit Party rally at Brighton City Airport in West Sussex. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

Only Labour giving a clear commitment for a new public vote on Brexit can stop Nigel Farage's far-right party securing top spot in the European Parliamentary elections, according to a new YouGov poll.

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The survey of 1,855 voters shows Farage's Brexit Party currently enjoying a shock five-point lead (27%) over all other parties including Labour (22%) and the third-placed Conservatives (15%).

The Greens are at 10%, Lib Dems at 9%, UKIP at 7% and Change UK at 6%.

Although there is a high proportion of people saying they don't know or would not vote, Farage's early lead reflects not only how he traditionally does well in these low turn-out elections and the wave of free publicity he has enjoyed, but also continued uncertainty over the main parties' position on Brexit.

According to the People's Vote campaign analysis, the picture changes dramatically depending on what Labour puts in its manifesto for the European elections.

If Labour's manifesto supports Brexit going ahead, even on the different terms of a customs union deal, Jeremy Corbyn's party loses one third of its vote and slumps to 15% in the polls - level with the Conservatives and resurgent Liberal Democrats.

In these circumstances, Farage's lead soars to 10 points on 25% of the vote while another far-right party, UKIP, retains a further 6% of public support.

But if Jeremy Corbyn's party says it supports a new public vote on whether or not to go ahead with Brexit, its share of the vote would increase, and Farage's lead would be cut to just 3%.

Along with other parties like the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Change UK, Plaid Cymru and the Greens which already support a new referendum, full backing from the Labour Party could mean a majority of people taking part in the elections back a new public vote.

Dame Margaret Beckett, the Labour MP and a leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign, said the elections have “proven to be rich hunting grounds for Nigel Farage's brand of extreme right-wing politics before and may be again.”

“But the message of this poll is loud and clear: it suggests that if anyone can stop Farage winning it is Labour – and only if we back a People's Vote.

“There is nothing to be gained by denying that we support the public getting the final say which is what the overwhelming majority of our voters, members and MPs want. If we hedge our bets or say we back another form of Brexit, Labour loses voters and Farage will storm to first place.

“It's time to recognise that the best thing for both the country and the best thing for the Labour Party is to stand and fight the far right by demanding a People's Vote.”

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