Party members massively endorse Farron’s call for referendum on Brexit deal

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. 741 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

So, here are the results of the Brexit jury.

We broke our readers in gently by asking them how they voted in the Referendum. The result will surprise nobody:

Remain: 94.06%

Leave:        5.94%

We wanted to gauge feeling in the party towards the elements of Tim Farron’s Plan for Europe:

First of all, we asked if members supported the call for a parliamentary vote on invoking Article 50. A staggering 86.41% were in favour and 13.59% were opposed.

The idea of a referendum on the final Brexit deal has been closely debated on Lib Dem Voice, but party members gave a whopping endorsement to the plan with 77.18% of respondents in favour and 22.82% against.

Finally, we asked what sort of arrangement people would like with the EU and the single market if we did end up leaving. An overwhelming majority, 79.16%, favoured the Norwegian style option with free movement of people and access to the single market. 

Norway – EFTA/EEA/Full access to single market/free movement of people with EU  –  79.16%

Switzerland – EFTA/bilateral agreements with EU to access single market for some of its industries excluding banking/free movement of people with EU – 4.75%

Turkey – Customs union with EU, no tariffs on its exports to EU, no free movement of people with EU – 4.49%

Canada – Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – Took seven years, about to come into place. Preferential access to single market. Would not give UK financial sector access to EU markets as now. – 1.98%

Singapore/Hong Kong – unilateral free trade approach, does not impose any tarrifs on imports or exports. -5.8%

Default – World Trade Rules – The UK and EU would be obliged to apply to each other the tariffs and other trade restrictions they apply to the rest of the world – 3.83%

Conference debates a Europe motion tabled by the Federal Policy Committee tomorrow morning.

It’s not the biggest surprise in the world that members of an internationalist, pro-European party should back greater international co-operaton, but it does go to show that we are the only party who are pretty much absolutely united on this point.


  • 2,200+ Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with  completed the latest survey, which was conducted on 29th and 30th November 2015
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. The surveys are, though, the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country.
  • We have been able to test the LibDemVoice surveys against actual results on a handful of occasions. It correctly forecast the special Lib Dem conference would overwhelmingly approve the Coalition Agreement in May 2010. In the 2008 and 2010 elections for Lib Dem party president, it correctly predicted the winner. However, in the 2014 election it didn’t; see here for my thoughts on this.
  • Polling expert Anthony Wells has written about the reliability/validity of LibDemVoice surveys here.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in LDV Members poll.


  • We must do everything we can to stay in the EU – or indeed gain re-entry if May’s lot (or god forbid Corbyn / UKIP) pull us out. Including joining the euro if required.

  • jedibeeftrix 18th Sep '16 - 11:29am

    That will be an interesting manifesto ‘sell’, Stimpson.
    Think it will work**?

    **as in; lead to a closer or greater margin for Leave?

  • Stevan Rose 18th Sep '16 - 2:00pm

    Massive endorsement = less than 1% of the membership let alone voters.

    I support the parliamentary vote and Norway style Brexit, not the referendum re-run, and the numbers are interesting but I wouldn’t read too much into a sampling of under 1% of self-selecting members.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 18th Sep '16 - 4:15pm

    I support the idea of a parliamentary vote and a referendum on the concluding deal , but not re entry , and not the view that we are unison , or unite , because we are unifyers and united , not the same thing !

    I endorse our party being of 70, 000 views that are often on issues similar , but also, different , but share values , and an outlook. I have admiration and affection, for our leader, Tim, and would vote for him to carry on many years, but this is not Momentum, and he , thank goodness, is no Corbyn , not a party or personality cult !

    Stevan Rose has it right on the sample . A good indication of our unity , but not an accurate presumption or desire, for unanimity.

  • Agree with Stevan Rose. And when polling shows that upwards of 30% of our 2015 voters voted Leave, what does that say about how in touch with our already depleted real- world support we are?

  • Paul Murray 19th Sep '16 - 8:07am

    The text in italics at the foot of this article appears to be a cut-and-paste from last year’s poll which have not been updated. It says “2,200+ Lib Dem paid-up members… completed the latest survey, which was conducted on 29th and 30th November 2015”.

    In contrast, the text of the article says “741 members” responded to the current survey.

    Any ideas why the number of members responding has fallen to about one third of the number last November?

  • The “in” “out” referendum was constructed with an “in” vote in mind and the government did not have a plan for leaving the EU. The result was the campaign was a binary over simplified campaign that did not explain properly what was involved in leaving the EU. The general impression given was that it just pulling the plug from the EU and plugging in the old UK machine. The fact that leaving the EU was arguably a twenty-seven way negotiation that could take many years, require huge resources and leave the UK in economic and political limbo for a long time was not clearly explained, and not understood by many on both sides of the argument. The lack of forethought by the Government shown in the construct and “rules” of the referendum has turned out to be disaster for the country, however, the government made the rules quite clear and there was no discussion of any further referendum at the time. I believe our position on a new referendum is morally and strategically floored. Morally, the rules were the rules, and we Remainers lost by those rules. Strategically, we are playing into the hands many Leavers belief that the “elite” would prevent Brexit somehow. We also need to remember that we need to change the opinion of more than a million Leave voters to win. They are likely to vote for whatever deal there is rather than stay in, and will be even more adamant and entrenched if faced with yet another vote. Another referendum is also likely to fire passions higher and further deepen the divisions in British society that the first referendum exposed. I believe our battle going forward should be to defend the things we treasure form the EU when it is clear they are directly threatened. Only when it becomes blatantly clear to many of those who voted Leave that they made a mistake, and the polls reflect this can we justifiably and sensibly campaign for a new referendum. Of course it may be too late to easily get back in then, but that’s just how it is.

  • Denis Loretto 19th Sep '16 - 5:45pm

    We must avoid a crude approach of “We represent the 48% and oppose the 52%. Both groups need the opportunity of surveying and accepting or otherwise the final deal. This is far too important to be left entirely to the government by royal decree.

  • Our views are being misrepresented as “re-run it”. We have to say (a) they’re misrepresenting us, (b) we’re not calling for a re-run, (c) we’re saying that the people should have the chance to approve or disapprove of the Brexit deal which is eventually negotiated, (d) and why are the Brexiteers so scared of offering people that choice? They couldn’t perhaps be scared that, once people know the full story, they might overwhelmingly reject Brexit …. could they?!

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