The latest LabourList survey has shown our readers to be divided over the key questions of the day – the timing of an early election, trigger ballots in local parties and Labour’s Brexit policy – just as the parliamentary party and country is split on these issues.
Last week, Jeremy Corbyn whipped MPs to abstain on Boris Johnson’s early election motion as the Benn Bill – the backbench proposed legislation designed to prevent an October 31st no deal – had not yet become law.
This is one of the few matters on which readers expressed a clear view: 85% agreed with the Labour leader’s decision, and a further 6.7% thought he should have actually whipped against an election at that point.
Opposition MPs are set to deny Johnson an election again when another motion requiring two-thirds approval is brought by the government today. The debate continues over whether Labour is right to wait until the Benn Bill is implemented, rather than simply passed as is expected today, to help trigger an election.
Asked about the party’s first preference for the timing of a snap poll, the most popular option among respondents to the survey – with almost half choosing it – was an election after October 31st, Johnson’s “do or die” Brexit deadline.
The second most popular option, gaining the support of 26% of respondents, was to back an election as soon as possible after the Benn Bill has passed into law. This is expected to happen today, but Labour is still holding off on holding an election.
Labour backbencher Diana Johnson hit headlines over the weekend as three branches in her local party voted in favour of a full selection process rather than to automatically reselect her as their candidate.
LabourList readers appear divided over whether trigger ballots should be suspended ahead of a likely early election, which could see full selection processes cut short and Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) forced to fast-track the contests.
39% of 4,495 readers surveyed said trigger ballot votes should be suspended by the party – a decision that rests with the ruling NEC – but almost 34% said they shouldn’t be halted. A large chunk – over a quarter – said they didn’t know.
Labour’s Brexit policy is again coming under scrutiny as a snap election approaches. Asked what the party position should be, LabourList readers were divided but by far the most popular option (47.6%) was the current stance: to negotiate an alternative deal, then hold a referendum with Remain and Labour’s own Leave option on the ballot paper.
The rest of respondents were split over whether Labour should promise to revoke Article 50 and Remain (19.1%), hold a referendum with Remain and Theresa May’s deal on the ballot paper (16.6%) or negotiate an alternative deal and take the UK out of the EU on those terms (13.3%). The majority did back a fresh EU referendum.
1. Was Jeremy Corbyn right to whip MPs to abstain on Boris Johnson’s early election motion on Wednesday?
- Yes – 83.9% (3,773)
- No – he should have whipped against an election – 6.7% (301)
- No – he should have whipped for an election – 5.9% (265)
- Don’t know – 3.5% (156)
2. What should be Labour’s first preference for the timing of an early general election?
- An election after October 31st – 48.7% (2,190)
- An election to be held as soon as possible after the Benn Bill has gained Royal Assent – 26.1% (1,172)
- An election after another EU referendum – 15.9% (714)
- An election to be held as soon as possible – 5.9% (264)
- None of the above – 3.4% (155)
3. Ahead of a likely early election, should Labour suspend trigger ballots now?
- Yes – 39% (1,751)
- No – 33.8% (1,519)
- Don’t know – 27.3% (1,225)
4. What should Labour’s Brexit policy be in the next general election?
- We would negotiate an alternative deal then hold a referendum with Remain and our Leave option on the ballot paper – 47.6% (2,141)
- We would revoke Article 50 and Remain – 19.1% (860)
- We would hold a referendum with Remain and Theresa May’s deal on the ballot paper – 16.6% (745)
- We would negotiate an alternative deal and take the UK out of the EU on those terms – 13.3% (599)
- None of the above/don’t know – 3.3% (150)
5. If a general election is called in October, should Labour still hold its annual conference?
- No – 41.2% (1,853)
- Yes – 40.1% (1,804)
- Don’t know – 18.6% (838)
The survey was open from 5.15pm on Thursday 5th September until 2pm on Friday 6th September. The results are unweighted and from a self-selected sample of readers. Thank you to all 4,495 readers who took part.