The South West could be the next location for the second
publicity stunt referendum on EU membership being organised by a campaign group called People’s Pledge, the result of which will aim to further pressure the Government into holding a national poll on the same question.
The group are planning a second poll on the back of their “huge success” in the constituency of Thurrock last month where 90% of those who participated in the referendum poll conducted by postal vote called for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. (NB: turnout was 30.39% (14,590) and the Thurrock constituency was specifically chosen so less than a ‘huge success’ would have represented a monumental failure
The campaign has announced a shortlist of 39 seats, grouped in 13 contiguous triples, from different regions. “Geography, logistics, politics, psephology, and extent of existing support for the People’s Pledge, were all factors,
” reads a statement on their website
.Three of those ‘triplets’ of Westminster constituencies are located in the South West. These are:
Eight of those nine sitting MPs potentially affected by such a vote are part of the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government (five Tory, three Lib Dem).
- Bristol East, Bristol North West, Kingswood
- Camborne & Redruth, St Ives, Truro & Falmouth
- Cornwall North, Devon North, Torridge & West Devon
Their inclusion in the shortlist is hardly surprising in light of an opinion poll released last year that showed nearly 70 per cent across the region want an "in-out" vote
. According to the South West Poll, carried out by Devon-based Marketing Means, 35% of those questioned "strongly agree" there should be a referendum on EU membership, 34% "agree" about the need for a vote, while the remainder of those polled either disagree (10 %), strongly disagree (7%) or don't know (%14).
One triplet will be chosen in the next few days, with a polling date set for late July. Once the location is chosen, the campaign will be full by-election style and include: a high visibility local shop front headquarters, door-to-door canvassing, posters and other external media, several leaflet drops, street stalls, public meetings and other events.
Frankly it would be most disappointing if the next such poll is to be held in the South West. As stated on numerous occasions by the UK Government (both parties), now is simply not the right time for an ‘In/Out’ referendum on our membership of the EU which let us not forget continues to bring numerous benefits to the region and country.