- That almost two in three Party member respondents to our question want to stick to David Cameron’s original timetable for the EU Referendum isn’t necessarily a snub to his option of holding it earlier. They may not know that he is weighing making a dash for the poll next year; they may just want to hold to what they believe to be the Conservative Manifesto commitment. None the less, many are bound to be strong Eurosceptics who believe that only a 2017 vote allows proper time for a meaningful renegotiation. And not all of the third or so of those respondents who plumped for an earlier referendum will be dedicated supporters of the Prime Minister. Some will simply want to get on with the campaign and vote – and a large section of them will doubtless be Outers.
- Elsewhere in our last monthly survey, we asked how respondents would vote were the In/Out referendum held today. 30 per cent say In and 58 per cent out. (The finding for all website respondents was 26 per cent and 65 per cent.) The respective figures in February were 33 per cent and 58 per cent – yet another tribute to the consistency of our monthly poll. I wrote then that “David Cameron will surely move some of the Leavers to Stayers in the event of a post-May renegotation – even if it does not result in a large-scale return of powers.” The question is how many. I believed then that the floor for No among Party members would be about 40 per cent, but am now inclined to pitch it lower. Having a majority leaves the Prime Minister in a stronger position than expected and, more importantly, UKIP in general and Nigel Farage in particular are damaging the embryonic No campaign.
- There is support among some senior Eurosceptics for amending Sections 2 and 3 of the 1972 European Communities Act to reassert the supremacy of Parliament: Daniel Hannan recently made the case for doing so on this site. A thumping 84 per cent of Party member respondents to our survey agree, and a mere eight per cent don’t. One view of such an action is that it would effectively represent leaving the EU altogether. My interpretation of the poll’s finding is not that 84 per cent of Party members want to leave the EU, but that they have a natural regard for the supremacy of Parliament – and that some may not have grasped quite how dramatic the consequences of amending the 1972 Act as suggested would be.
Almost 750 Party members responded to the survey.