Do local polls suggest some voters are going sour on Brexit?

by Hugo Dixon | 04.05.2018

The local elections may have been mainly about “bins, not Brexit”. But they still impinge on our departure from the EU. A near wipe-out for the party set up to take us out of the bloc and a good showing by the two most pro-European parties may indicate that some voters are going sour on the dismal Brexit project – though we’ll have to wait for post-election opinion polls to be sure.

UKIP was routed, while the LibDems and Greens had a good night. For the Tories and Labour, the picture was mixed, with both gaining and losing councils.

At time of writing, UKIP had lost 92 seats, leaving them with just two. The LibDems were up 40 seats at 326 and had taken the strongly pro-European Richmond-upon-Thames from the Conservatives. The Greens were up six at 22.

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Although the Tories did better than feared, Theresa May shouldn’t take much comfort from the result. The prime minister wakes up this morning with the same problem she went to bed with: she hasn’t got a clue what to do about customs, her Cabinet is split down the middle, she doesn’t have a majority in parliament for her destructive Brexit and time is ticking.

Senior EU officials have told Downing Street that next month’s European summit will suspend negotiations on a future partnership entirely until the customs issue is resolved, according to The Times. The EU has given the Irish government its full backing. Who would have thought being part of a community of nations gave you leverage?

Labour failed to take any of its big targets in London – Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, Wandsworth or Barnet. The party should ask whether a more pro-European policy would have helped it achieve a breakthrough. There is a strong democratic case for the people to get a vote on the final Brexit deal. As Labour trawls over last night’s results, it may also conclude this would be a shrewd political ploy.

One Response to “Do local polls suggest some voters are going sour on Brexit?”

  • The main reason for an official opposition in Parliament is to do just that – oppose the party in power and show up its deficiencies.

    I am retired, was a trade union member through most of my working life and voted Labour at the last General Election, BUT unless the Labour Party ups it game and seriously opposes Brexit, it will not get my vote at the next one.