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South West of England backs second EU referendum – poll

South West of England backs second EU referendum – poll

By Andrew Woodcock, Press Association Political Editor

Voters in the South West of England back a second referendum on the Brexit deal by a margin of 42% to 35%, according to a new poll.

The poll, for the People’s Vote campaign, was released ahead of a day of action by the group across the region on Saturday, culminating in a rally in Bristol.

Although the South West backed Leave in the 2016 referendum, the YouGov poll suggested voters have now switched to backing continued EU membership by a margin of 51% to 49%.

Support for a second referendum rises if the Government fails to secure a Brexit deal with the EU, with 47% backing a public vote in those circumstances and just 27% opposing.

The People’s Vote released a dossier claiming that the South West’s economy is expected to shrink by 2% over the next 12 years if Brexit goes ahead, leaving each resident an average of £461 a year worse-off.

More than £700 million of EU funding for South West businesses and projects is at risk from Brexit, while products like the Cornish pasty, clotted cream and West Country cider could lose their protected status, said the group.

People’s Vote organisers said they expected thousands to attend Saturday’s rally to hear speakers including Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, Labour’s Stephen Doughty and Green Party MEP Molly Scott-Cato.

Former YouGov president Peter Kellner said: “This poll is the first significant test of public opinion in the South West on Brexit since the referendum and shows that attitudes are beginning to shift.

“Voters in the South West support a People’s Vote on any final Brexit deal negotiated by the Government by a clear margin which rises much higher with the prospect of leaving the EU without any deal.”

And Labour’s Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw highlighted findings that the party’s voters in the region back EU membership by 76% to 24% and a second referendum by a margin of four to one.

“My own party is in danger of letting down its voters and young people in particular,” said Mr Bradshaw.

“I urge my colleagues who do not yet support a People’s Vote to study this poll and ask themselves whether they came into politics to stand against the views of our supporters or do they want to join us in the South West in demanding our democratic voice is heard on Brexit?”

– YouGov questioned 1,012 adults in the South West between July 31 and August 7.

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