Wiganers want another say on Brexit

The majority of Wiganers now want to return to the ballot box for another say on Brexit, a new poll claims.

Friday, 9th November 2018, 11:04 am
Updated Monday, 12th November 2018, 1:45 pm
Just what is the future for Brexit?

But the figures quoted by the People’s Vote, based on new research by YouGov, was today greeted with a wave of scepticism throughout the borough.

And campaigners hoping to get political support look set to be disappointed too, with none of the MPs whose constituencies include parts of the borough backing another referendum.

The People’s Vote says support for another mass democratic exercise on the outcome of negotiations with Brussels currently stands at 59.3 per cent in the Wigan constituency.

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In addition approval rates for a People’s Vote are 58.8 per cent in Makerfield, 57.5 per cent in Leigh and 53.6 per cent in Bolton West, which includes voters in Atherton.

The claims are perhaps surprising as the borough was a staunch Leave heartland two years ago, delivering one of the country’s biggest margins for exiting the EU.

The campaign says virtually every constituency in the North West now has a majority of people believing the public should get another say before Brexit happens.

But that was not the feeling among elected representatives in the borough yesterday.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy was the most cautious, saying it was the job of Westminster to bridge what is still a canyon between voters supporting Remain and Leave.

She said: “This polling shows that, two and half years after the referendum, the public are as divided as ever on the question of the European Union.

“There are people on both sides of the debate who are sincere and passionate and feel strongly about the future direction of this country.

“It’s up to politicians to find a way through that delivers on the aspirations and ambitions of the whole country, and that’s what I’ll be doing in Parliament.”

Other Labour politicians said they did want to see the public heading to polling stations but not for a People’s Vote.

Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue said: “I am not persuaded that a further referendum is desirable. A majority of electors in the borough voted to leave the EU and the Prime Minister must bring forward to Parliament her deal with the EU on the terms of our separation to honour the 2016 referendum result.

“If that deal is unable to command support in Parliament then I believe the Government’s mandate would be irreparably damaged and in that eventuality my preference is for a general election to be held.”

Jo Platt, MP for Leigh, added: “This just proves that people are becoming more aware that this Government has failed. Failed in these negotiations and they are therefore failing the country.

“As the constituency MP, I will continue to press the Government to deliver a deal that protects local businesses, jobs and workers’ rights, as well as the environment and the health & wellbeing of people here in Leigh.

“If they cannot deliver these protections then they should make way for a Labour government that will.”

On the opposite side of the political fence Conservative MP Chris Green said he saw little appetite at events in his constituency for a People’s Vote.

Mr Green said: “I’m not surprised that the London-based People’s Vote campaign got the result they wanted in this poll.

“That is not my experience here in Bolton West and Atherton, where at every event I hold, leavers still want Brexit to happen and remainers want us to respect our democracy and get on with Brexit.”

Campaigners also faced a backlash from Wiganers commenting on social media, who accused it of being run by Remainers unable to accept the 2016 verdict on EU membership.

The majority of almost 200 comments on Wigan Today’s Facebook heavily backed Brexit and expected the original referendum to be honoured, though there were also comments supporting a vote on the deal and questioning the benefits of Brexit.

Scott Johnson wrote: “The only people who would get involved in a poll would be the remainers. Us Brexiteers have had our vote.”

Andrew O’Grady wrote: “Judging by the amount of posts in disbelief at this I find it hard to accept that the poll is anything but sheer nonsense maybe a little dreamy.”