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by Alain Tolhurst
18 June 2019
Grassroots Tories 'would sacrifice union' for Brexit, new poll reveals

Conservative party - credit NCVO London

Grassroots Tories 'would sacrifice union' for Brexit, new poll reveals

Tory members are willing to destroy their own party, sacrifice the union and allow Scottish independence and a united Ireland if it means leaving the European Union, according to a new poll.

A survey of Conservative and Unionist Party members by YouGov suggests a majority of them would prefer Brexit took place to a host of scenarios, including 61 per cent in favour of it even if it caused “significant damage to the economy”.

Leaving the EU is by far the most important issue to the grassroots, even if it would see the party abandon its unionist credentials.

Almost two-thirds of the members would be willing to allow Scotland to leave the United Kingdom, and 59 per cent would rather Northern Ireland left than Brexit not taking place at all.

And 54 per cent would rather see their own party “destroyed” than stay in the European Union, with four in 10 even saying they would be happy to see Jeremy Corbyn inside Number 10 if it meant leaving.

The poll also reveals why many of the rank-and-file are so committed to seeing Brexit delivered, with 44 per cent responding that leaving without a deal will help them win the next election, with 14 per cent saying it will keep them in power well into the future too.

On the other hand, 51 per cent say if Brexit does not take place then it will “damage the Conservative Party to the extent that it will never lead a government again”.

Nick Boles, the MP who quit the Conservatives over the party's relentless pursuit of Brexit, tweeted: "This @YouGov poll shows that my own experience in Grantham and Stamford reflects a broader reality. The Conservative Party membership has become ideologically extreme. They will insist on a No Deal Brexit no matter the cost."

The Conservative membership also see the Brexit Party as a much bigger threat to their electability than Labour, with 67 per cent saying Nigel Farage’s outfit are a “big threat”, to just 34 per cent for Corbyn’s Labour.

And almost half say they would be happy if rather than the six candidates left in the race to be their new leader Mr Farage was chosen to replace Theresa May.

But Farage has ruled out an electoral pact with the Tories, telling the Daily Express: "I've been approached by a couple of people. But why would I trust anybody in the Conservative Party?”

With the leadership contest moving to the members at the end of this week once Conservative MPs have whittled the contenders down to the final two, they were also polled on how important other policies are to getting their vote.

Just 15 per cent said they would back someone if they had a “good plan for domestic policies” and a “bad plan for Brexit”, and 68 per cent said that they were most interested in hearing the candidates' EU plans over anything else.

Most members also do not care if the candidates voted for Remain in 2016, with 68 per cent saying it would be acceptable to have them as leader as long as they are willing to leave without a deal on October 31.

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