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Poll shows 12-point lead for remaining in the EU

Photo by Yui Mok/PA Wire

A snap poll conducted in the wake of the crushing defeat of Theresa May's Brexit plan found a 12-point lead for remaining in the EU - the largest margin since the 2016 referendum.

The YouGov survey of more than 1,000 voters on Wednesday found 56% would now vote to stay in the EU, against 44% who want to leave.

Exactly the same proportion of voters said they wanted a second EU referendum - three points higher than recorded in a similar poll before Christmas. Backing for a so-called People's Vote among Labour supporters stood at 78%.

And fewer than a quarter of those questioned opposed a second referendum on the grounds that it would be a re-run of the 2016 vote.

The Remain lead was extended further when respondents were asked to compare it to Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement or the option of leaving the EU without a deal.

Against the Prime Minister's deal, Remain led by 65% to 35%, while against no-deal was 59%-41% in favour of staying in the EU.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign for a second referendum, said: "This snap poll shows more than ever why the Government needs to change course and hand this decision on Brexit back to the people.

"There is now a clear and expanding majority for staying in the EU and an even bigger one when voters have the chance to look at the real options for leaving."

Mr Umunna said that the poll had exposed the compromises of "Norway-plus" or customs union membership as "niche positions supported by less than one in 10 voters".

In a three-way choice, voters split 52% for Remain, 39% for no-deal and 9% for Norway-plus, and 54% for Remain, 38% for no-deal and 8% for a customs union deal.

"The poll also underlines why the leadership of my party needs to listen to Labour's own supporters, more than three-quarters of whom are demanding a People's Vote," said Mr Umunna.

"To ignore those calls now would be an historic mistake for which Labour would not be forgiven."

Pollster Peter Kellner said that the 8% swing from Leave to Remain since the 2016 referendum was "significant".

"It is higher than in any post-1945 election, except for 1997," he said. "No longer can it be said that opinion has not moved significantly since the referendum."

And he added: "The poll suggests that fewer than one in four voters oppose a fresh referendum on the grounds that it would be a rerun of the 2016 vote: just 22% in the case of a Remain versus Government deal referendum, 23% in the case of a Remain versus No Deal referendum."

YouGov questioned 1,070 people on January 16.

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