Monday 14 October 2019

Almost 60pc of Conservative Party members prepared to see Northern Ireland leave the UK - if it meant securing Brexit

Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

David Hughes

Almost 60pc of Conservative Party members would accept Northern Ireland breaking away from the rest of the UK if it meant Brexit was delivered, a poll has suggested.

The YouGov survey of party members - who will decide the next prime minister - also showed they were prepared to accept the destruction of their party or suffer economic damage to get the UK out of the European Union. Almost half (46%) would be happy to see the Brexit Party's Nigel Farage as their new leader.

Despite the strong support for Brexit, even if it had major repercussions, Tory members indicated they would be prepared to call it off rather than see Jeremy Corbyn enter Number 10.

The survey found that 59% would prioritise leaving the EU even if it meant Northern Ireland breaking away from the rest of the UK.

Some 61% would rather Brexit took place even if it caused "significant damage" to the economy, 63% of members would be prepared to see Brexit take place even if it meant Scotland leaving the UK, and 54% would accept the Tory party "being destroyed" in order to secure Brexit.

But only 39% of the members who responded to the question said they would want Brexit to take place if it meant Labour leader Mr Corbyn becoming the next prime minister, with 51% saying they would rather the UK did not leave the EU in order to avoid that happening.

The survey also found 26% of Tory members would be happy to see Scotland leave the UK, as would 20% be if Northern Ireland did so, regardless of the Brexit issue.

YouGov's Matthew Smith said: "Conservative members are not just ideologically committed to Brexit - they also genuinely believe that the failure to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum will bring about the destruction of the party's electoral chances.

"Indeed, half (51%) of members believe that Britain ending up staying in the EU after all would damage the party to the extent that it will never lead a government again, and another 29% think it would put the party out of power for multiple elections to come.

"By contrast, most members believe that successfully bringing about Brexit will win the Tories at least the next election."

Another survey from Opinium found that a third of those who watched at least some of the Channel 4 leadership debate on Sunday thought Rory Stewart performed best.

READ MORE: 'I wasn't a spy for MI6,' says Conservative Party leader hopeful Rory Stewart 

Jeremy Hunt was second on 18%, Dominic Raab third on 10%, Sajid Javid had 9% and Michael Gove was last with 6%.

Among Tory voters who watched the show, 24% thought Mr Stewart triumphed, narrowly ahead of Mr Hunt on 22%.

YouGov surveyed 892 Conservative Party members on June 11-14. Opinium carried out an online survey of 610 adults who watched the Channel 4 debate on June 17.

PA Media

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