Labour splitters should trigger by-elections, say LabourList readers

LabourList readers believe that the MPs who quit the Labour Party last week should resign their parliamentary seats and trigger by-elections, our latest survey has found.

So far, all those MPs who have left the party intend to sit as Independents – but the Labour leadership has said it would be “honourable” for them to fight by-elections instead. Over 70% of 7,250 respondents to the most recent LabourList survey agree.

Following the resignation of Joan Ryan, Labour announced plans to consult on extending the “right to recall”, which would allow constituents to force a by-election should their MP leave the party under whose banner they were elected.

Over 71% of LabourList readers said they would be in favour of such an extension. Currently, the process by which an MP loses their seat via a recall petition can only be prompted by exceptional circumstances, such as receipt of a custodial prison sentence.

A week ago, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson responded to the party split news with a statement in which he paid tribute to his former colleagues and said their resignations called for a “moment for regret and reflection, not for a mood of anger or a tone of triumph”.

Asked whether they agreed with this statement, the majority of LabourList readers who took the survey said they did – but over 45%, 3,221 respondents, disagreed.

Of the nine Labour MPs who quit last week, eight joined The Independent Group. The new grouping in parliament – also made up of former Tory MPs Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston – does not have an agreed set of policies yet but all members support a fresh EU referendum.

Although over 72% of LabourList readers said they would not vote for an Independent Group candidate if an election were held today, almost 28% said they would – including more than a quarter of those who voted Labour in 2017.

1. This week, a number of Labour MPs quit the party but none plan to resign their seats. Should they step down as MPs and trigger by-elections?

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  1. Yes – 70.7% (5,128)
  2. No – 29.3% (2,122)

2. Labour has announced plans to consult on extending the right of constituents to recall their MPs if they leave the party under whose banner they were elected. Should the right to recall MPs be extended?

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  1. Yes – 71.% (5,075)
  2. No – 28.2% (1,994)

3. Tom Watson reacted to the departure of seven MPs on Monday by saying it was “a moment for regret and reflection, not for a mood of anger or a tone of triumph”. Was he right?

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  1. Yes – 54.5% (3,855)
  2. No – 45.5% (3,221)

4. So far, every MP in The Independent Group is anti-Brexit and in favour of another EU referendum. If an election were held today and you could vote for one of their candidates, would you?

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  1. No, and I voted Labour in 2017 – 69.5% (4,926)
  2. Yes, and I voted Labour in 2017 – 25.3% (1,791)
  3. No, and I didn’t vote Labour in 2017 – 2.7% (192)
  4. Yes, and I didn’t vote Labour in 2017 – 2.5% (178)

The survey was open from 10am on Friday 22nd February until 8pm on Sunday 24th February. Thank you to all 7,250 readers who took part.

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