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Exclusive Poll: Labour Voters Believe Keir Starmer Will Reverse Brexit
The Labour leader is saying one thing, but his voters are hearing another
Good afternoon and welcome to the second edition of the Bienkov Briefing, in which Byline’s Political Editor Adam Bienkov shines a light on the big trends behind the stories other news outlets aren’t telling you about.
This week we have some exclusive polling, from pollsters Omnisis, revealing what voters really expect from a future Labour Government on Brexit.
And as NHS waiting times soar across the country, we also have an illuminating podcast from Byline’s own Adrian Goldberg, in which he reveals how austerity is at the root of the growing crisis in the National Health Service.
This edition of the Byline Supplement is free, but if you want to receive every edition, while helping us hold the powerful to account, please sign up for a full subscription to the Byline Supplement, at a specially discounted rate.
The Public Don’t Believe Keir Starmer on Brexit
This week Labour leader Keir Starmer insisted that there was “no case” for rejoining the EU, and suggested that attempting to rejoin the Single Market could actually damage the UK economy.
Asked by the BBC whether rejoining the European Single Market would boost economic growth, Starmer claimed that it would not, while insisting that what the economy really needed was a “better Brexit”
It is unclear on what basis Starmer is making these claims.
Pushed by Byline to point to any economist who agrees with the Labour leader’s claims, his spokespeople were unable to do so. However, they suggested that years of “wrangling” over Single Market membership would hinder the UK’s economic recovery.
Starmer’s comments appear to be part of a deliberate strategy by his team to win over former Brexit voters to Labour.
They believe that the party’s previous support for a second referendum damaged the party in the 2019 election and want to kill off any suggestion that a Labour Government would do anything to reverse Brexit.
However, new polling commissioned by the Byline Supplement, suggests that voters are unconvinced by Starmer’s positioning on this issue.
According to the survey by pollsters Omnisis, almost half of all Labour voters believe Starmer would actually take Britain back into the UK, if he becomes Prime Minister.
47% of all Labour voters said they believe a Starmer Government would take the UK back into the EU, compared to just 28% who believe he will not.
A plurality of voters of all political leanings also believe that the UK would rejoin the EU under Starmer.
According to our poll 34% believe a Labour Government would take the UK back into the EU, compared to 27% who do not.
Voters More Likely to Vote Labour if it Backs Rejoining EU
As well as expecting Labour to take the UK back into the EU, voters also say it would actually make them more likely to back the party.
According to Omnisis, 65% of voters say that if Labour promised to take the UK back into the EU, then they would either be more likely to vote Labour, or that it would make no difference to their vote, compared to just 24% who said it would make them less likely to back the party.
Among current Labour voters, just 10% said they would be less likely to vote Labour if Starmer backed rejoining the EU, compared to 47% who said it would make them more likely to back them.
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Austerity is at the Root of the NHS Crisis
By Adrian Goldberg
The NHS is in crisis, as A&E departments struggle to cope with demand. Waiting lists for elective surgery grow ever longer. At the same time, ambulance crews and nurses in many parts of the country are planning strike action in protest at pay offers that are well below inflation.
According to ministers, the problems in the Health Service are primarily due to the pandemic, from which it has yet to fully recover; while Putin’s invasion of Russia is blamed for the cost of living crisis.
These arguments obviously have some merit, but there is an alternative view; one that sees the policy of Austerity, introduced by David Cameron’s coalition government, as the root cause of both issues.
Adrian Goldberg hears from Chris Thomas of the IPPR think tank, who claims that real terms cuts in health spending had brought the NHS to its knees before Covid 19, while Sian Norris discusses the long term impact of Austerity on Children's Services.
This episode of the Byline Times podcast was first broadcast in December 2021.