Six in ten people support more referendums being held

Numbers will boost calls for second EU referendum


Sixty one per cent of people believe referendums should be used more often for determining important questions.

That’s one of the key findings from the Hansard Society’s latest Audit of Political Engagement for 2017.

While the figure is 17 points down on the proportion of people supporting this stance in last year’s report, it is nevertheless likely to bolster calls by the Liberal Democrats for a second referendum on whatever Brexit deal may or may not be achieved come 2019.

Interestingly, with both UKIP and the Conservatives most strongly against a second referendum, 74 per cent of those questioned for the Audit who said that they voted Leave in the EU referendum supported the use of more referendums for  determining important questions compared to just 47 per cent of Remainers.

The bad news for the Lib Dems however is that just 42 per cent of those saying they support them support the use of more referendums, compared to 88 per cent of UKIP supporters. 59 per cent of both Labour and Conservative supports said they favoured greater used of referendums.

Following Michael Gove’s assertions last year that the country has had enough of ‘experts’ the Audit reports that 21 per cent of people found experts, such as academics, economists and think tanks the most trustworthy source of information about issues related to the EU referendum last year. They were second only to the 34 per cent who trusted TV and radio news programmes.

Just six per cent of those questioned said they found MPs a trustworthy source of information, with nine per cent saying they trusted the Remain campaign and ten per cent trusting the Leave campaign.

With Theresa May making her pitch to the voters to give her a big majority in the Commons to steam roller through whatever Brexit deal she might be able to agree, 44 per cent of those questioned for this Audit said that MPs are the most effective group or institution in holding the government to account, ahead of the media (34 per cent), the courts/judiciary (30 per cent) and the House of Lords (23 per cent).

In the midst of a General Election as well, the report notes that ‘the public thinks that representing the views of local people remains the most important way MPs should spend their time (47 per cent), ahead of representing the UK’s national interest (35 per cent), and holding the government to account (34 per cent).

It goes on to note however that ‘barely a third of the public (32 per cent) think that debating important issues in the House of Commons is an important way for MPs to spend their time.’

Meanwhile, YouGov’s latest Brexit tracker poll suggests that 45 per cent of people believe it was wrong for the UK to vote to leave the EU, ahead of the 43 per cent who said that it was the right decision. It comes as the latest polling by YouGov for the Times puts Labour on 29 per cent of the vote, up four points since its last poll last week. The Conservative meanwhile are on 45 per cent (down three points) with the Lib Dems on ten per cent (down two points).

The same poll however, shows that 48 per cent of those questioned favoured Theresa May as Prime Minister compared to 18 per cent who said the same about Jeremy Corbyn.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward

See: Theresa May is the most popular leader on record – the Left needs to figure out why

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