Poll showing support for public vote among trade unionists “not credible”, says Unite

Almost two thirds of trade unionists support the idea of another EU referendum, rising to three quarters among 2017 Labour voters, according to a new YouGov poll of 1,813 members.

But Unite the Union – led by Len McCluskey, who has been critical of the proposal to hold another public vote on Brexit – dismissed the survey conducted for the People’s Vote campaign as “not credible”.

The party-affiliated union responded to the research by pointing out that YouGov’s sample size was small and that Unite has regularly undertaken its own polling involving tens of thousands of members.

A Unite spokesman said: “We don’t need a poll of a handful of our members to try to tell us what we know. For the past three years, since the referendum result, we have been polling 20,000 of our members regularly. This conversation has been conducted through our transparent and democratic structures.

“It it the views of our members, and nobody else, who guide us in this matter. We know that they are fed up with Tory chaos and are now concerned about the very real prospect of the governing party crashing us out of the EU without a deal.

“Polls that profess to speak for our members yet are not conducted by our union cannot be considered credible. This tactic has never worked before and won’t work now.”

Jeremy Corbyn is set to meet trade union leaders this morning as part of the further consultation on Labour’s Brexit policy that the leader promised at a special shadow cabinet meeting last week.

Labour has shifted its stance on Brexit and now supports another referendum in all circumstances, not only to prevent a “damaging Tory Brexit” or no deal – but the party has so far resisted calls to declare backing for Remain.

Labour backbencher Jo Stevens, a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, commented: “When Jeremy Corbyn meets with trade union general secretaries, I hope he hears the strong message from working people, trade union members up and down the country, that we want a People’s Vote just like his constituents do in Islington – because now, more than ever, we need those voices to be heard.”

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