Opinion polls today showed a clear lead for the ‘Brexit’ camp in favour of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) in the June 23 referendum.
The so-called Brexit side edged ahead in a key survey just over a week before Britain votes on its future within the economic bloc next Thursday.
A YouGov survey for The Times puts “Leave” on 46 per cent, up three points since the end of last week, and “Remain” is on 39 per cent, down three giving Brexit its largest lead since the start of the campaign.
11 per cent of people do not know how they will vote and 4 per cent plan to abstain.
Once the “don’t knows” and “will not votes” are excluded, 54 per cent would vote to leave and 46 per cent would vote to remain, the biggest lead for the Brexiteers so far.
An ICM poll for The Guardian yesterday gave the Brexit campaign a six-point lead, with Leave on 53 per cent and Remain on 47 per cent, while an ORB poll for The Daily Telegraph has put “Leave” on 49 per cent among those certain to vote on June 23, one point ahead of Remain at 48 per cent.
John Mills, chair of the Labour Leave campaign, said “The polls are swinging our way, which is very good news but we must not be complacent”.
Leading Labour MPs within the “Remain” camp, including Keith Vaz and Virendra Sharma, issued a fresh plea of their own to Indian-origin and other ethnic minority voters.
“The Leavers’ false claim is that, if we leave, there can be higher non-EU immigration while bringing down overall numbers. Let’s not be seduced by this lie from people who are anti-immigration and who have spent their lives campaigning against the interests of working people,” they wrote in the Guardian today.
In a direct attack on Conservative party’s most prominent Indian-origin voice in favour of Brexit, Priti Patel, they add “Where there are shortages in certain sectors, like our curry houses, it’s government rules that are the root of the problem”.
“Prominent ‘Leave’ campaigner, Patel, who is the Employment Minister, has responsibility in this area, so she is in fact the source of the problem while claiming to be the solution,” they said.
The British Election Survey (BES) released last month had found that 51.7 per cent of Indian-origin voters are against Brexit, compared to 27.74 per cent in favour of leaving the economic bloc.
However, there is a significant percentage (16.85 per cent) of those who fell into the “don’t know” category, who are likely to hold the key in the referendum and this is the group both camps are now focusing on.