Is Wigan experiencing cold feet over Brexit?

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Wigan delivered a huge majority for the Leave campaign last year but uncertainty over the terms of Brexit may have caused cold feet, latest figures suggest.

Conducted via Wigan Today, results of our new poll reveal 75 per cent would now vote to remain in the European Union.

I think people now want to get on with starting the process

Coun Michael Winstanley

Article 50, the legal mechanism to leave the EU, is expected to be triggered later today meaning formal negotiations can take place.

And although our results may not represent a complete turning of the tide in terms of support for Brexit, they may show a wave of optimism has been replaced with a sober reality of an uncertain future.

The Wigan Today poll received 2,759 votes with 75 per cent opting for remain with the question; Brexit: How would you vote now?

Last year’s EU referendum results for Wigan borough were Leave (63.9 per cent) Remain (36.1) with a turnout of 163,273 (69.2 per cent).

Labour MPs Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield) and Lisa Nandy (Wigan) - who backed the Remain campaign - have said the pressure is firmly on for ministers to deliver the best severance package they can.

Ms Fovargue told the Wigan Post: “The Government will need to prepare and ensure that debate and scrutiny of the negotiations with the EU is brought before Parliament.

“Whichever way people voted in the referendum last year, it is a clear that many are beginning to think carefully about the very serious negotiations that will begin following the triggering of Article 50.

“The Prime Minister’s mantra that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is a vacuous statement. Her Government will soon face the reality of a negotiation with the EU.

“The stakes are high and the public will not accept a deal which threatens jobs, prosperity and hard won rights.”

Leader of the Conservative opposition on Wigan Council, Coun Michael Winstanley, said he was “very wary of opinion polls” and the results do not represent a change in opinion.

As a supporter of the Leave campaign, he remained steadfast in his view the reality of Brexit will mean prosperity for Britain.

He said: “I certainly haven’t changed my mind and the way that the EU has behaved since then with their bullying language and tactics has vindicated my vote.

“I am very wary about opinion polls in general but even more so regarding online polls where no data validation is completed nor sampling is undertaken.

“I suspect that many of the people who voted in this poll voted to stay anyway.

“I would take the results of this not with a pinch of salt but a whole vat of it. I have spoken to many people about the referendum results and I haven’t found anyone who now says that they wish they had voted differently. In fact I have even spoken to people who wish they had voted to leave.

“I think people now want to get on with starting the process. It’s a pity that many of those who voted to remain have tried everything to derail the process and that is simply unacceptable. These people have got to respect the wishes of the British people.

“I am pleased that now all the legal challenges are out of the way the Prime Minister is delivering on her pledge to trigger article 50 before the end of March and we can now start the negotiations. Brexit is now underway and the sooner it happens the better and once again we will be free from the yoke of the European Union.”

Wigan’s branch chairman for the UK Independence Party, Nathan Ryding, said: “I respect those views held by those who took part in the opinion poll, however, the poll does not represent Wigan as a whole, only those who saw it. UKIP are rising in the polls in the Constituency of Wigan, that is because of our policies and the action work we do.

“To me, that is a clear representation that the people of Wigan are losing faith in the Labour Council and are looking for a solution, UKIP is that solution.

“I am pleased Article 50 will be triggered today, however, it should have happened on June 24th 2016. Now, we just have to see how the negotiations go, but Leave voters, and I include Wigan in this, will not stand by if we give in to the “divorce bill”, give up our fisheries, continue to pay into the EU, give them any power over us or continue the free movement of people. We need the ‘Hard Brexit’ that we voted for.”