The month before last, 19 per cent of Party member respondents to our survey said that the agreement was acceptable to them. Last month, the total saying that MPs should vote for it touched 40 per cent. This month, it has reached 60 per cent.
That’s the first time the deal has obtained the backing of a majority of replies in any form. Three in five is a clear-cut margin – although over one in three Party members remain opposed, if our survey is anything to go by.
We wrote last month that the jump in backing for the agreement had “less to do with any satisfaction over the revisions than a fear of No Brexit”.
The same will be true this month in spades. Our take is that there is very little enthuasism for the deal among Party members: merely a growing belief that it is the lesser of two evils – the greater one being a Softer Brexit or No Brexit at all.
None the less, we suspect that this finding will be read with relief in Downing Street and CCHQ, as the Commons prepares for a third vote on the deal later today (or on the Withdrawal Agreement, at any rate).
There is a view in some quarters that the survey’s respondents are purple-voting Farageists. This finding is a bit of a rebuttal. It is broadly in line with the seven out of ten replies that welcome the Joint Report towards the end of 2017.