Jeremy Corbyn won’t get what he wants because he is more unpopular than a no-deal Brexit

The public do not want a no-deal Brexit. As Jeremy Corbyn announces plans for a vote of no-confidence, Ben Page explores the possible outcome for the Metro.

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  • Ben Page CEO, Ipsos
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According to a recent poll by the market research company, Ipsos, only 38 per cent support it, while 50 per cent are opposed.

Boris Johnson’s government currently has a majority of just one, and a substantial number of back-bench Conservative MPs believe that no-deal will be damaging to Britain and should be avoided at all costs.

In theory, Jeremy Corbyn’s offer to the Liberal Democrats, Greens, the Scottish National Party (SNP) and other opponents of no-deal to overthrow Boris Johnson’s government through a vote of no confidence and a general election (with the promise of a second referendum) looks plausible.

The Conservatives only have 311 MPs out of 650 seats in the Commons, plus 10 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs.

Yet as quickly as Corbyn made his offer, it was rejected. The maths needed to let a new caretaker government delay Brexit in order to secure a better deal looks decidedly difficult.

With their latest defector, the Lib Dems now have 14 MPs and Jo Swinson rejected Corbyn’s proposals outright, saying: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is not the person who is going to be able to build an even temporary majority in the House of Commons for this task’.

The Greens, Plaid Cymru and SNP were more positive, but as SNP put it: ‘there is no mechanism for a caretaker government at the moment’ – and the party is probably right.

Underneath all of this is Corbyn’s popularity issue; he is more unpopular than a no-deal Brexit, with 69 per cent of British people saying they are dissatisfied with his leadership.

In fact, he has achieved the dubious title of being one of the most unpopular leaders of any political party ever measured by Ipsos.

Many who might support stopping Brexit by voting against their own party will have had to do a great deal of soul-searching to let Corbyn become prime minister, even on a time-limited basis. They know that criticism will be directed their way, not just by most of mainstream newspapers, but also their own party and many constituents. Do remember that Corbyn is the man who has polled below several Conservative MPs when Labour MPs were asked who the most impressive figure in the House of Commons is.

As it stands, Corbyn is unlikely to get what he wants as MPs are more worried about him taking charge than they are about a no-deal Brexit.

He faces the real prospect of Labour Brexit supporters, like Kate Hoey, voting with the Conservative Government. Even if he got the Lib Dems, and full support from every other opposition party member (excluding Sinn Fein who won’t be taking their seven seats), he would still be short of a majority.

It all boils down to how many Conservative MPs are willing to overthrow a Conservative government attempting to enact ‘the will of the people’ – as expressed in the 2016 EU referendum – and instead have one of Britain’s most unpopular politicians as prime minister.

We will be well into the autumn – when the House of Commons returns from its recess – before anything really changes.

In the same fatalistic way that governments often proceed to a massive electoral defeat with leaders they know are vote losers, the Remain camp is ultimately headed towards a no-deal just as much as today as they were a week ago, if not more so.

It appears they do not want to stop Brexit as much as the ‘do or die’ administration wants to achieve it.

  • This article was originally written for the Metro and is available to read here:


The author(s)

  • Ben Page CEO, Ipsos

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