How the Lib Dem policy of revoking Article 50 polls with voters

Vince Cable at the March for Europ - photo from Sarah Ludford

Interesting detail from the latest Survation poll for the Daily Mail, asking voters what they make of the Liberal Democrat policy of revoking Article 50 if the party wins a general election:

The Liberal Democrats have said they will cancel Brexit if they won the next general election. To what extent does this policy make you more or less likely to vote for the Liberal Democrats?

2016 Remain voters: net +42 more likely
2016 Leave voters: net -67% less likely

That sort of polarisation works for a core votes strategy, an approach of course that I’m in favour of. It’s also the approach the party took so very successfully in the European elections, moving away for blanket leaflet deliveries by and large, for example, and instead targeting likely Remain voters.

As for the rights and wrongs of the revoke policy itself, see my interview with LBC.

Update: in November YouGov polled the Article 50 question, asking, “Do you think the Liberal Democrats are right or wrong to propose revoking Article 50 and stopping Brexit completely?” Remainers said right by 50%-35% (net +15) while Leavers split 5%-81% (net -76).

7 responses to “How the Lib Dem policy of revoking Article 50 polls with voters”

  1. This works in constituencies that adopt the National trend – Con=Leave, Lab/Lib=Remain BUT in our constituency, we have a Con/Remain demographic, so we need to be cute on postal or hand-delivered leaflets and in some cases, focus less on core and more on reach. We have no chance if we focus only on core here (Chesham and Amersham)

  2. Living in a Con/Lib-Dem constituency, given the remote chance of a Labour MP being elected, I always voted tactically and supported the Lib-Dem. However, never again. Jo Swinson’s gratuitous attacks on Jeremy Corbyn have put paid to that. I always assumed there was some natural affinity between Labour and the Lib-Dems, with many shared values, but now realise how misguided that view is. Furthermore, I disapprove of the policy of revoking Article 50 as undemocratic and opportunistic. I am a Remain supporter and happily support a People’s Vote. But revocation – No. So sorry Lib-Dems you may have had my vote in the past, but never again, or at least until you have a different leader.

    • Jo must not appear to favour Corbyn or she risks losing support from Tory remain voters. I would urge you to reconsider in that light – her rhetoric is a means of taking Tory voters, and this is essential if we are to remove Boris from power. Please don’t mistake a careful posture intended to undermine Boris with a full on attack of Labour. If we succeed in sapping Tory remainers across the nation, both Labour and the LibDems will benefit. Jo is simply playing the FPTP system here, like any able politician should, but her posture only works if Tory Remainers feel comfortable voting LibDem – and for that she mustn’t be seen to like Corbyn or Labour.

    • The ‘Revoke’ policy is contingent on winning a majority under the FPTP system. That means the party has to at least double its share of the vote (based on the current 18% I see in the latest polls) and score 320+ seats. Cameron’s share of the 2015 vote was 36.9% and generally accepted as a legitimate mandate to push through his manifesto – including that referendum. As the 2016 vote was ‘advisory’, therefore not binding, I don’t see why a party that campaigns openly for ‘revoke’ could be regarded as ‘undemocratic’ should it achieve the parliamentary majority to enable it to execute said policy. The way FPTP works – every government since 1945 has failed to achieve a popular vote exceeding 50%. Let’s face it, achieving a commons majority is a moonshot. I can, however, see as a tactic it sends a clear, unmistakable message as to the party’s commitment to the Remain cause – unlike another party which I will leave nameless.

  3. It worked in a PR election where every LD vote across say two million households counts towards getting a LD MEP elected across a vast multi member constituency.

    But relatively few FPTP constituencies have enough ‘Core’ voters to directly replicate that in a FPTP GE.

  4. I agree with David Edwards, but I’d like to go a little further and say that a Lib Dem government should not unilaterally revoke the Art. 50 letter unless it wins more of the popular vote than the percentage who voted leave in 2016. That percentage of the electorate was 37.4%, so let’s say that revocation should depend on the unlikely event of a vote for the LDP of 38% or more electing 326 or more MPs. It might make Jo look more generous, wiser and more prime-ministerial if she issued a statement to that effect.

  5. As a firm Remainer and a member of the Liberal Democrat Party, I am very concerned by the message that the Revoke policy is giving. My concern is separate from and in addition to the long explanation that is necessary as to why the policy is democratic. Such explanation rarely gives the exact circumstances and percentage of the vote that would be necessary for a mandate to revoke nor does it recognise that, in order to be acceptable, a similar number of people would need to vote for the LibDems as those who voted Leave in 2016.
    My issue is this. Boris has ignored all the Remain voters in going for a hard form of Brexit. LibDems are in danger of appearing to do the same to Leavers. In all the discussions I have listened to, I have heard no recognition about Leavers’ concerns, particularly about loss of sovereignty.
    I am a lawyer and have taught this subject. Various aspects of national sovereignty have passed to the EU. This is a fact. It is not nonsense to be concerned about it. I personally do not not think in a global economy that sovereignty is a big issue as we relinquish much autonomy by being desperate for trade deals with much more powerful countries like USA and China. However, I would not want to be part of a federal EU, I think the European Court of Justice sometimes overextends its jurisdiction and I think the EU could be more effective at dealing with migration.
    I personally think the LibDem message should say that their preference is for a referendum. But since the decision is to have a policy to revoke, spokesmen should say that they have listened to the people concerned about sovereignty and explain that there is power for a member state to resist federalism, to vote against further qualified voting and to take part in a fair immigration policy debate that does not impact on particular towns, regions etc.
    Without showing respect to people who voted Leave, the party runs the risk of being portrayed in the media as patronizing and as undemocratic as the ERG-led Tories. This is likely to cause moderate people to hold their noses and vote for Labour and a referendum, vote for Boris or to give up altogether.
    (See today’s Sunday Times poll and Philip Collins in the Times)

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