YouGov’s poll of polls shows that the Government has no mandate for any Brexit, let alone catastrophic no deal

You know if you’re about to do make a really major change to your life, like, for example, get married or divorced, or leave your job, or pack up and move to run a bed and breakfast in the northern highlands (I wish), you should have a sense of certainty that it is the right thing to do. You might feel nervous, but you should also feel a bit excited about the opportunities of your choice.

This country is far from excited and optimistic about Brexit. In the face of overwhelming evidence that any form of Brexit is going to damage our economy, and that a no deal Brexit will put lives at risk from food and medicine shortages, polls suggest that the people have thought again.

A YouGov poll of polls conducted over the past two and  lib years provides conclusive evidence that most people want to remain in the EU.

From City AM:

So far this year, only one poll came out in support of Leave, compared to 74 for Remain.

“The polling evidence is concrete,” Anthony Wells, director of political research at Yougov, told the newspaper. “The overwhelming majority of questions asking people if Brexit is right or wrong, or if they would now vote Remain or Leave, show a lead for Remain, and have done for over two years.”

The results appear to fly in the face of the government’s strategy of framing the Brexit question as parliament versus the people.

“The characterisation of the situation as people vs parliament doesn’t really stand up when the public are split over Brexit. It is more a case of half the public vs half of Parliament,” Wells added.

The poll-of-polls showed that Leave began 2017 with a lead of 51 per cent to 49 per cent, a marginally narrower gap than the referendum result.

Britain Elects draws similar conclusions:

So we have a government that doesn’t care that they are pursuing a drastic course that doesn’t have the support of the people. It is not just polite, it is essential in a democracy to make sure that you govern by consent. The mandate from 2016 is clearly well past its sell-by date.

The people have changed their mind and the Government must be compelled to change course or removed from the offices that most of them are not fit to hold.

This means finding someone who can command a majority in the House of Commons to lead a Government.

Sarah Wollaston tweeted last week the spreadsheet that I like to imagine Jo Swinson calmly placed in front of Jeremy Corbyn.

Time is running out. The Liberal Democrats have been consistent ever since the referendum that we are out to stop Brexit. We are doing everything we possibly can to do so. Let’s just hope that other parties and MPs step up and do what’s necessary before it is too late.

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

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • You are very good at making things up.

  • Richard Underhill. 10th Oct '19 - 10:58am

    Heidi Allen MP was on Peston (ITV) but was not given much time.
    She was her usual charming self.
    Geek of the Week found that women decide how they are going to vote later than men and are more likely to be interested in health, education, etc than in Brexit.
    Julia Gillard agreed, but did not get much time either. As on BBC Politics Live she is keeping out of controversial domestic issues.

  • Tristan Ward 10th Oct '19 - 11:20am


    What has been made up please?


  • John Marriott 10th Oct '19 - 11:57am

    No matter what the polls say, treat them with a large pinch of salt. Once another campaign begins (GE or Referendum) just watch the lies and promises creep in. Because of FPTP it’s pretty hard to translate percentages to seats in Parliament in a GE. However, in a referendum, unless Remain and/or the Lib Dems are prepared to be pragmatic I honestly don’t see a massively different result from last time.

  • nigel hunter 10th Oct '19 - 3:01pm

    The information comes from Britain Elects, boring numbers, not made up.

  • The referendum instructs the servants of the people to implement Article 50. The referendum concerned Remain or Leave with no mention of deals.

    Democracy seems not to concern this party.

  • Malcolm Todd 10th Oct '19 - 4:30pm

    John Marriott
    “I honestly don’t see a massively different result from last time.”

    Neither do I – but then, it doesn’t need to be massively different in order to be a complete reversal of the last one, does it?

  • Malcolm Todd 10th Oct '19 - 4:47pm

    Peter 10th Oct ’19 – 4:27pm

    “The referendum instructs the servants of the people to implement Article 50.”

    No, it doesn’t. Did you not read the ballot paper?

  • nigel hunter 10th Oct '19 - 5:47pm

    A referendum if we have not got a majority. Revoke article 50 if we get a majority of seats. Are their gremlins on this site bent on mischief? Disingenuous comments.

  • You get these polls all the time. They are very dependent on framing. And they are usually wrong. Personally, I suspect that the leave vote is much more solid than the remain vote. Anecdotally, I’ve talked a number of Remain friends. A few have moved to the Labour line and one or two would swap to leave. Not one leaver I’ve talked to would change their vote.

  • Malcolm Todd 10th Oct '19 - 8:03pm

    Oh come on, Glenn. You can do better than that! Polls are not gospel, and they’re snaphots, not predictions, not even when they’ve been telling consistently the same story for many months now. But they’re an awful lot more useful information than what “one or two of my friends” have told you!

  • Malcom
    What I mean is that it depends on who is asking the question to whom and on how the question is phrased. I’m vegan., in my experience If you ask people if killing and butchering animals is bad, they tend to say yes. It doesn’t mean they give up on meat.

  • @malcolm
    As you well know, I was referring to the Consequence of the referendum, something this party does not respect to its eternal shame. There is a hypocrisy when a party respects democracy only when it produces the result it wants.

  • Malcolm Todd 10th Oct '19 - 10:07pm


    “Democracy” doesn’t mean you get one vote one time and then it can never be challenged – especially when there’s a world of interpretation available and no one tied down exactly what it would mean in the first place. But frankly, even if the ballot question had been “Should we invoke Article 50 and leave the EU by the end of 2019 regardless of whether or not there is a Withdrawal Agreement in place”, we would still be absolutely entitled to keep arguing for a second referendum and for people to vote the other way, right up to the point when the action had been taken.
    There just isn’t any rule or general principle that says that once you’ve had a vote on something you have to carry it out before you can think again. The facts that the majority for this course of action was extremely narrow, that the polls suggest (but obviously do not prove) that opinion has switched the other way and that when the question was first asked and answered it was impossible for anyone to offer or buy anything other than a pig in a poke are all strong arguments in favour of actually having another think about it; but none of them is essential to the principle. Democracy doesn’t stop once your side wins once. You have to keep winning – and if you can’t, you don’t deserve to get your own way.

  • Tristan ward 11th Oct '19 - 6:48am

    Peter’s comment above is much the same as as an argument that turkeys who vote for Christmas should not listen to the the one or two turkeys who keep wondering aloud about what all those nice smells are that keep coming from the kitchen – and that the nice smells should not even be discussed.

  • Referenda are not general elections. The only precedent for this is the disgraceful habit of the EU to make member states keep voting until they produce the desired result. That is not democracy.

  • Daniel Walker 11th Oct '19 - 9:44am

    @Peter “The only precedent for this is the disgraceful habit of the EU to make member states keep voting until they produce the desired result. “

    The EU has no power to insist a member state runs a referendum, or to regulate how the government of that state responds to it.

    Ireland has twice (re: Treaty of Nice and Treaty of Lisbon) and Denmark has once (re: Treaty of Maastricht) “re-run” referendums; in all three cases the second vote was on something materially different to the first (generally opt-outs or assurances of some kind) and the second referendum had a larger turn-out, but in any case the governments of Ireland and Denmark chose to have a second referendum.

    There are plenty of cases of EU-related referendums not being re-run (e.g. Sweden’s 2003 Euro referendum)

    You have been misinformed. Retract your statement.

  • Malcolm Todd 11th Oct '19 - 9:45am

    Peter 11th Oct ’19 – 8:22am

    That’s just an anti-EU myth, Peter. There have been precisely three occasions on which EU states have asked their electorates to vote once more on the same question. Not the EU “making” any state do anything, and not requiring people to “keep voting until they produce the desired result”. There have been several referendums producing results the EU didn’t want that have not been overturned. (The details are here: I’m not going to go to the trouble of summarising it for you, I’ve done it before.)
    And you have no basis for claiming that asking people to vote on an issue one more time “is not democracy”. You just mean it’s not democracy for you not to get what you want after winning one vote, one time. You just don’t understand what democracy is – it’s a process, not an event.

  • Malcolm Todd 11th Oct '19 - 9:45am

    Oops! Forget to switch off the bold. Sorry!

  • Peter
    The 2016 referendum is the only vote on EU membership there has ever been in Britain. No one got a say on joining it, mainly because the pro EU camp knew it would not get enough support. This is also why the EU no longer encourages referendums on “ever closer union”. It’s a fundamentally anti-nation state, anti-politics and anti democratic organisation designed to facilitate technocratic cooperation across borders irrespective of who is in power in its individual member states.

  • Peter Martin 11th Oct '19 - 11:02am

    Jean Claude Juncker can’t seem to help himself at times. He has to explain how things work in the EU. He knows very well that referendums and National democracies get in the way.

    So we have, for example, when asked about the 2005 French European Constitution referendum.

    “if it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’ and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue'”

    So what happened? There was a “no” vote. The proposed Constitution was then renamed the “Lisbon Treaty”. JCJ and the EU did indeed continue. It is apparently easier to push through what can be sold as just another EU Treaty.

    The Lib Dems seem to have the same philosophy. Having voted to bring about the referendum in the first place they would, if they were being honest, have said at the time “If it’s for Remain we say ‘on we go’, if it’s for Leave we argue for revoke and say ‘we continue’.”

  • Daniel Walker 11th Oct '19 - 11:26am

    @Peter Martin “ “if it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’ and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’”

    So what happened? There was a “no” vote. The proposed Constitution was then renamed the “Lisbon Treaty”. JCJ and the EU did indeed continue. It is apparently easier to push through what can be sold as just another EU Treaty.”

    Yes. Because the French government ratified the Treaty of Lisbon. You obviously disagree with that decision, but it was theirs to make; It was not made by the EU or by Juncker, as, as I been said, they have no power with which to do that, nor to interfere with the French decision-making process.

  • @Peter Martin – You are forgetting the UK was totally free to hold it’s own referendum on the Maastricht, Nice and Lisbon Treaties; for some reason – I suggest you look at Westminster, it didn’t. Please explain how that is the fault of the EU…

    Interestingly, Farage’s gripe (years before the Referendum became a thing) was that the UK didn’t have a referendum over these treaties, however, in all his explanations at the time, his assumption was that the UK would firstly reject these treaties and secondly be involved in their redrafting into something more acceptable…

  • Peter Martin 11th Oct '19 - 12:10pm


    I don’t particularly think that it’s the fault of the crocodile if anyone is stupid enough to put their head in its mouth and it gets bitten off!

    Yes we should have had several referendums at the times you mention. However, it took the 2008 GFC to bring about a sufficient degree of socio-economic awareness in us all. We now know that we can no longer trust our supposed betters to always know better.

  • Richard Underhill. 15th Oct '19 - 2:43pm

    Top psephologist Professor John Curtice wrote in the Times on Monday 14/10/19 page 6.
    Headline “Polls teeter between hung parliament and slim Tory majority”.
    He does cover Scotland separately (SNP conference this week, INDYREF2 to be legal).
    Columns 2-7 “Corbyn isolated as shadow team defy him over new Brexit vote.
    He does not want an interim PM to be Labour (or ex-Tory).
    That leaves John Bercow who retires soon from the Speakership pf the Commons.

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