Theresa May’s Chequers plan drives Brexiteers back to UKIP

PUBLISHED: 15:22 02 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:30 02 August 2018

Vote Leave supporters near Sheffield, England. Nigel Farage took his battle bus to Chapeltown, near Sheffield, encouraging British people to vote to leave the EU in the June 23rd referendum. Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Vote Leave supporters near Sheffield, England. Nigel Farage took his battle bus to Chapeltown, near Sheffield, encouraging British people to vote to leave the EU in the June 23rd referendum. Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

2016 Getty Images

The EU referendum was meant to unite the right to help the Tories see off a threat from Labour – but Europe has once again sparked a big rift in the right.

According to party insiders UKIP’s membership has soared by 15% in the last month, with an extra 3,200 joining in July 2018.

The party has also seen a slight rise in the polls from approximately 2% to 5% and above since Theresa May revealed her Chequers plan.

Experts have warned the Conservatives that a resurgence of UKIP will be a gift to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

Matthew Goodwin, politics professor at the University of Kent, told Sky News: “I think it could be pretty significant. Before Chequers, UKIP were averaging 3%, after Chequers they have been averaging about 6%.

“When you look at Conservative voters, people who actually voted for the Conservatives last year, about 60% say they are open to a party on the right that in unequivocally committed to Brexit.

“In a tight election race, Labour versus Conservative, 10% going to UKIP, even 7% or 8% going to UKIP could make all the difference.”

The resurgence of UKIP remains relative with membership still half of the size it was in 2015, but it is a change of fortunes for the party, which lost all but one councillor in local elections last year.

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