Tag Archive | "Brexit"

Brexit survey Q7

Responses and analysis of my huge Chesterfield Brexit survey

Over the summer recess, I have been running a Brexit survey across the Chesterfield constituency. I am now in a position to publish the responses that I received and give you my summary of what the answers tell us about Chesterfield’s people’s views.

Who completed the survey?

The survey was available online and was promoted both on my Facebook and Twitters accounts and via the Derbyshire Times. We also took the survey onto the streets and invited some Chesterfield constituents to respond to the survey asked by campaigners from the Labour Party. In total we had 1,279 responses from within the Chesterfield constituency.

The first question sought to establish what proportion of respondents had originally voted Remain or Leave and whether there had been significant movement in people’s views since the Referendum.

In response to this 47.82% said they had voted Remain and were still in favour of Remain, and 41.86% said they’d voted Leave and were still in favour of leaving. In addition 2.69% hadn’t voted. This meant that a very small percentage (7.58%) had changed their minds, with slightly more having favoured Remain now being Leave than the other way round.

The Chesterfield constituency is not exactly the same as the Chesterfield Borough area, but an estimated 58% of Chesterfield constituents voted to Leave the EU- this means that either there has been a considerable change of heart since then or that the respondents to my survey contained a disproportionately high number of remain voters. Given that less than 8% said that they had changed their mind, I expect that it was the latter.

What should happen now?

On the question of what should happen next, there was almost an exact split between the three ‘remain’ options and the three ‘leave’ options, but with a vast majority at the more extreme aspects of the answers.

Of the ‘remain’ options, 23% thought the UK Government should revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU, 20.6% thought that the Government should hold a 2nd Referendum to decide whether to leave or remain, and only 5.3% thought Britain should attempt to negotiate a new deal but Remain if no better deal could be resolved.

Of the ‘leave’ options, 21% argued for leaving the EU on WTO terms and 25.65% thought that Britain should attempt to negotiate a new deal but be prepared to leave without one if unable to do so. Just 1.5% were in favour of supporting Theresa May’s deal and then reviewing after the 2-year transition period.

Sadly, these responses merely go to demonstrate how divided we are as

a country. There are people who voted Remain, who nonetheless believe that Government should attempt to negotiate a deal to get Britain to leave, but these are dwarfed by the number of remainers who still wish to see Britain either revoke or wish to see a 2nd Referendum (presumably as a vehicle of remaining in the EU).

Of those who support Brexit almost none support the only deal that has been negotiated, and whilst there were more in favour of a deal than leaving without one, there was a significant number who said Britain should be willing to leave without a deal if no ‘better’ deal can be achieved.

Should Britain attempt to remain in Customs Union and Single market?

There was a majority in favour of remaining in the customs union and single market, which was greater than the numbers who wished for Britain to remain in the Eu, but only a fairly small percentage of Leave voters wished to see Britain remain in these arrangements.

53.8% supported remaining in the Customs Union and 55.6% for the single market compared with 38.4% against.

Labour’s manifesto for the 2017 General Election said that ‘ Labour believes leaving without a deal is the worst possible option for our economy and that we would seek to retain close

alignment with the Customs Union and single market.” Whilst this answer showed a majority in favour of remaining in the customs union and single market, the number of Leave respondents supporting that position showed that for the many Leave voters a Brexit that saw Britain remain in the customs union or single market would not be accepted as a fulfillment of Brexit.

What should happen in Ireland?

Given that the survey respondents were more likely to have voted Remain than Leave, it was maybe unsurprising that the most popular response to the question of Ireland was to continue to have freedom of movement for goods and people (45.39%) than any other. The second most popular answer (22.65%) was ‘there should be no border for people but goods should be subject to customs checks’, 14.72% wanted a ‘border’ in the Irish Sea, whilst returning to a hard border  between the North and South and re-negotiating the Good Friday agreement was backed by just 7.3%.

Economic prospects

Almost half of respondents (48.49%) thought the UK would

be worse off now and in the future when we left, whilst those who thought Britain would ultimately be better off were split between those who thought we’d be better off immediately and eventually (24.76%) and those that argued that the UK would initially be worse off but ultimately better off (23.81%).

Benefits

There were two free text questions concerning the benefits or concerns regarding Brexit.

The words used most often to describe benefits were: laws, freedom, trade deals and control.

The words used most often to describe concerns were: economy, NHS, trade deals and recession.

 Key negotiating priorities

The next question asked respondents to order their key negotiating priorities on a scale of 1-5. There was a list of which answers received the most ‘Number 1 priorities’ and an overall score.

‘Trade with the EU’ was both the most popular Number 1 priority and also the top overall score (3.59), followed by ‘ability to trade with countries outside the EU’ close behind (3.49%), Preserving the United Kingdom union (2.84%), collaboration on security (2.63) and control of immigration (2.51)

A General Election

The question of a General election was one that didn’t go down a purely Leave/ Remain divide.

Remain voters were slightly more likely to think that the PM should call a General Election than Leave voters, although recent events may have changed the response if it was asked again. But overall 49.88% said that we SHOULD have a General Election and 39.87% said that we SHOULD NOT, 10.25% were unsure.

Conclusion

The survey has been immensely useful in getting an updated snapshot of constituent opinions. Every voter in Chesterfield was invited to vote, and no-one was excluded, but that doesn’t mean that the numbers responding were a representative sample.

The most striking conclusion is that currently there seems to be very little sign of the country or the constituency being about to come together. The vast majority of voters still think what they did about the overall question of what we should do, and respondents to this survey seem to be hardening in their view towards a ‘Hard Brexit’ or a ‘Hard Remain’.

Recent elections have also rewarded parties who took a view at the more extreme end of the Brexit debate, with Brexit Party (No deal) and Lib Dem (Parliament to overrule Brexit without a Referendum) benefiting in the recent EU Parliamentary elections whilst both Labour Party and the Conservatives finding Leave and Remain voters were unpersuaded thus far by attempts to find a ‘middle way’.

I can’t pretend that the survey responses have given me a great deal of confidence that we are close to re-uniting the country- particularly whilst so much remains unknown about the basis of our future relationship with both the EU and the rest of the world. One thing that was clear was that the importance of trade and the impact on our economy was now considerably more significant to voters than concerns about immigration.

The complexity of delivering a Brexit that doesn’t undermine the UK union and protects relations on the island of Ireland were also well understood by respondents who were much more inclined to compromise on that question.

In the 2017 General Election, I said that I believed we needed a Brexit deal that delivered on the promises made for it (namely being able to continue to trade and attract world class talent). The support for staying within the single market and customs union at least showed support for that aspect of my approach. I have long said that I believed we could only re-unite the country by finding a resolution that recognised the narrowness of the outcome whilst also accepting that the Referendum result was a vote to Leave. Both I, and the Labour Party manifesto of 2017 made clear our opposition to leaving the EU without a deal. This was consistent with what campaigning organisations like ‘Vote Leave’ and senior Government ministers from the Leave side said during the campaign and since.

I will continue to engage with both constituents and businesses as the process progresses. I hear, loud and clear, people’s frustration about how long the process is taking, but I think there was a deliberate attempt during the campaign and since it to underplay the complexity or full consequences of leaving the EU- particularly in moving on to WTO terms, and leaving without a deal.

I also hope that this survey will have helped others to realise (as I have done) how different the opinions of people who may have voted the same way on 23rd June 2016. Not all leavers are ‘no dealers’, not all remainers are ‘revokers’. But there is still a strong sense that far from bringing the country together and settling the matter once and for all, in many ways opinions are more divided now than they ever were.

It leaves politicians with an unenviable task in finding a way to bring the country together. I have already voted in Parliament in ways that I felt were a compromise, but am renewed in my determination to find a solution that a majority can accept and can help the country come together again.

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Toby Hady survey

Toby Perkins to hold Brexit public meeting

After a summer recess spent gathering the views of voters across Chesterfield on the issue of Brexit, MP Toby Perkins has arranged for a major impartial public information session in Chesterfield next week.

Mr Perkins will host the session, which will allow Chesterfield residents who wish to learn more about the many issues that arise from Britain’s impending departure from the European Union.

The session will be run by an independent thinktank, ‘UK in a Changing Europe’ and facilitated by Professor Anand Menon, a Professor of European and Foreign Affairs at Kings College, London.

All those attending will be able to ask Professor Menon about any issues that they are uncertain about, including but not limited to questions on frictionless trade, WTO terms, NO deal Brexit, the backstop, Northern Ireland and many others.

The free-to-attend session will be held at the Winding Wheel on Thursday 5th September, 6.00pm and tickets can be acquired by email, telephone or in person at Chesterfield Labour Club.

Anyone who wishes to attend, should either email amandam.collumbine@parliament.uk for a ticket, call 01246 386286 during normal office hours or call into Toby Perkins MP’s office at Chesterfield Labour Club, 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF.

Toby Perkins said: “It is clear from the huge number of survey responses that I received that Brexit continues to infuriate, confuse and frustrate my constituents in equal measure but many valid questions were raised through the process, and I believe that the vast majority of people just want the best for our country and so I hope that providing my constituents with a forum in which they can get their questions answered will be helpful.”

“I recognise how much anger and frustration there is as we try to negotiate our way through a very intricate and complicated process in a way that respects the democratic outcome of the Referendum and protects our national interests. I sometimes think the whole process of what happens now is over simplified and so I am setting this unbiased Q&A up so that everyone can be as well-informed as possible.”

The Winding Wheel has a maximum capacity and so whilst the event is free to attend it is important that all those wishing to come should contact the MPs office for a ticket, though the event is open to all strands of political opinion.

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Toby Hady survey

NEW- Toby Perkins Chesterfield Brexit survey hits the streets

Brexit is the most divisive issue to hit UK politics in our political lifetime.

The country voted to Leave the EU, and in Chesterfield around 60% of those who voted, voted to leave.

Yet whilst Parliament has confirmed it’s intention to leave, it has never agreed on the basis of our future relationship with the EU, which has prevented Article 50 being fully enacted. When Parliament returns from the summer recess, it really will be decision time.

Over the recess, Toby Perkins and his team are taking to the streets to conduct a Brexit survey, that attempts to break down the key thorny issues and hear how people’s views have progressed since the Referendum and where the UK Government goes from here.

You can take the survey online, by clicking here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TPerkinsMPBrexit

Introducing the survey, Toby Perkins said: “I am concerned that rather than come together, the country seems more divided on this issue than ever before. I believe Britain should endeavour to leave the EU in a way that protects jobs and our economy, and allows us to continue to trade with the EU. I am keen to see if there is a way that a balance can be struck that takes everyone with us. This survey is therefore crucial to informing my view of what people in Chesterfield think should happen now. I urge all of my constituents to complete it.”

The survey is purely for Chesterfield constituents and respondents who live outside of the constituency or respond anonymously will have their answers discounted.

 

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BLOG: Delivering on Brexit- my approach

The issue of Brexit is undeniably the most divisive that I have been involved in during my political career. Sadly, this highly nuanced set of questions is being boiled down into simplistic slogans that the two sides chant at each other with increasing intransigence on both sides.

Throughout the process, I have had 3 simple rules which have helped me to attempt to navigate the many choices that we as MPs have faced. My very first consideration is always what is in the interests of Chesterfield and my country.

Secondly, which decision will be consistent with the approach that I laid out in advance of the 2017 General Election and the manifesto that I stood on.

And thirdly, in practical terms which options will help Parliament to move things forward and allow the UK to deliver on the Brexit referendum in a way that is compatible with minimising any negative economic consequences of leaving the EU.

On the first question of the ‘national interest’, I do think that whatever the economic and social benefits of Remaining, which I unsuccessfully argued for during the Referendum, the cost to confidence in our democratic institutions of not seriously attempting to implement the verdict of the British people could be very serious indeed.

I agree with those who say that having offered the Referendum, it is Parliament’s job to deliver on the promises made, so whilst some have sought to overturn the result from the outset, I voted to trigger Article 50 and stood on a manifesto which said that Labour would respect the result, and that Britain would leave the EU whilst maintaining a customs union, but ending freedom of movement. My commitment to the democratic process means I will support this in spite of ultimately believing that the benefits of Brexit will prove to have been over-promised and will weaken our economy.

Acepting that we are leaving the EU, does not answer the question of what will our future relationship look like- the position the Labour party articulated at the election largely mirrored a speech that I had made in parliament and was featured on my election leaflets in the 2017 General Election.

But it wasn’t just me who recognised that choosing to leave was only the start of complicated considerations about how the decision would be invoked- the Vote Leave campaign said during the Referendum campaign that : ”Taking back control is a careful change, not a sudden step. We will negotiate the terms of a new deal before we start any legal process to leave.”

So if Vote Leave understood that leaving without confirming our future relationship was imperative before the vote, why is this entirely reasonable and sensible approach now being decried as treacherous and undemocratic by those very same voices who once called for it? And as there is widespread evidence that leaving without a deal would have immediate and serious economic consequences, I reject the idea that because it would also be damaging for the EU, it would be likely to bully them into giving us a better deal. I think it is far more likely that it would be the British negotiating position that would be weakened by what is clearly an act of self harm.

But it is true that the EU need a relationship with us, just as we need one with them. There are no winners from a No Deal Brexit, which is why they have been willing to negotiate a unique deal with us, it is Britain that has rejected continued membership of the customs union, not the EU.

So, I make no apology for being steadfast in my view that Britain must remain in a customs arrangement with the EU and the negotiations have left us to either remain in the customs union or leave and lose the freedom to trade tariff free. Theresa May’s deal attempts to retain many of the benefits on a short term basis but ultimately accepts leaving it in 2 years. This is useless as it leaves many of the key questions unanswered and will simply act as a two year window for manufacturing companies to make plans to make goods elsewhere.

Critics of the customs union point out that we will still have the EU negotiating trade policy that we will have no say in. They are right, but leaving the customs union would mean a hard border in Ireland, which breaks the Good Friday Agreement and threatens the future of the union and would make Britain a very unattractive place to manufacture goods for export.

My strong sense is that control of immigration whilst still being able to trade was key to Leave voters in Chesterfield. And when faced with this balance between sovereignty and economy, I am firmly on the side of staying in the Customs union.

On immigration, though I believe that Britain has predominantly benefited from immigration economically and culturally, it is very hard to see how an outcome that left UK immigration policy unchanged could be seen as delivering on the Referendum, and so democratically, I felt unable to support the amendment that would have seen us remain in the single market, known as Common Market 2.0.

I also rejected the amendment that would have seen Article 50 revoked in the event of No Deal being agreed. At this stage, it would be seen as very bad faith to be supporting an amendment to call Brexit off before we have even exhausted the ways in which it can be delivered. The fact that it was presented by people who had made it clear that they wanted the UK to overturn the verdict of the referendum in the first place, made it all the less attractive.

However, if Parliament cannot resolve a Brexit deal, it may be that there will be no choice but to put the Prime Minister’s vote to the British people. I know that opinions are sharply divided about this, but it may be the only way to end the logjam, and would at least allow a debate about the specific terms on which we leave which was impossible last time, because the vote took place before those terms were known.

If we were to leave with control of immigration restored and a future trading arrangement secured, I don’t see that there would be a need for a 2nd referendum- that is the Brexit my constituents voted for, I believe.

But, I am clear that to leave without any future arrangements organised would not only fly in the face of what Vote Leave promised but leave us very vulnerable and with the Government facing the choice of imposing huge tariffs on EU imports to be paid by consumers of food and goods (ie all of us) or no tariffs, which would mean UK farmers and manufacturers at a huge disadvantage on the global stage. Either way, it is clear that UK firms would be paying exactly the same tariffs as every other non EU nation without a trade deal.

This would be hugely damaging for us and them, but put simply, as we would have this impediment to our relationship with 27 nations and they would have it for one, the impact on us would be much greater.

So, the approach I take will continue to be consistent with that which I have always espoused and on which I was re-elected in 2017. Backing Britain to make a success of Brexit whilst ensuring that we take a careful approach to the biggest economic change we have attempted since the 2nd world war.

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

Surgeries

I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk to make a booking.

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