Britain’s polarised politics putting majority of voters off major parties, exclusive poll shows

Exclusive: Despite Change UK’s failure to mount a centrist fightback, there could still be significant gains to be made in the centre ground

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Sunday 21 July 2019 16:36 BST
What does a no-deal Brexit mean?

A majority of Britons feel politically homeless amid growing dissatisfaction from voters with the established parties, a new poll has revealed.

The exclusive study for The Independent found 53 per cent of the public did not feel represented by any political party, as the Tories prepare for a Boris Johnson premiership and with Labour split over Brexit and antisemitism.

Despite the failure of Change UK to mount a centrist fightback, the new poll by BMG shows there could still be significant gains to be made in the centre ground.

The defections of Tory and Labour MPs to form the breakaway party earlier this year sparked excitement for hopeful Remainers.

But Change UK’s poor performance in May’s European elections slammed the brakes on its plans, while the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party snatched votes from Labour and the Tories.

The poll asked a representative sample of more than 1,500 people: “To what extent, if at all, do you feel that any of the current political parties in the UK represent your views?”

Only a third (32 per cent) said they felt their views were adequately represented, while 15 per cent of respondents said they did not know.

The findings come as Mr Johnson is poised for victory in the Conservative leadership contest, with Theresa May expected to leave Downing Street on Wednesday.

The former foreign secretary has taken an increasingly hardline stance on Brexit, including refusing to rule out suspending parliament to force through a no-deal exit on 31 October.

But Mr Johnson will be tasked with uniting his divided party while fighting a series of looming Brexit battles in the autumn, with the chancellor Philip Hammond expected to act as a focal point for senior Tories determined to stop a disorderly Brexit.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn is embroiled in another bout of controversy over his handling of antisemitism complaints by party officials.

Labour peers are expected to mount a confidence vote against Mr Corbyn, which comes after the party’s deputy leader in the Lords was sacked for comparing the mentality in the leader’s office to the “last days of Hitler”.

The poll also found the Brexit Party surge was fading in the wake of its European election success in May, with support dropping four points to 14 per cent if a general election was held today.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Labour were on 28 per cent and 27 per cent respectively, with the Liberal Democrats on 18 per cent.

Source Note: BMG Research interviewed a representative sample of 1,532 GB adults online between 2 and 5 July. Data are weighted. BMG is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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