Survey results: Brexit and the Democracy Review

by Ann Black on 27.08.18 in NEC 2018 Election

In total, 2746 people took part in my recent survey on Brexit and the Democracy Review. As a member of the NEC I have always welcomed input from members, even where we disagree, and I do my best to respond to everyone who contacts me.

Firstly, a few words are needed on the reliability of the findings. Some people have claimed that the survey is not entirely reliable because non-members could take part. But that is also true of the party’s own consultation, and my view is that an imperfect consultation is surely better than none at all.

The first question asked about nominating candidates for party leadership. As keen-eyed readers noticed, the review recommends that any of the three options should be sufficient for a valid nomination. But the results clearly show CLPs and affiliates should have a role alongside MPs and MEPs.

Leadership elections rules survey results


Question 2 asked who should vote in leadership elections. Nearly four out of five respondents said that only members should be able to vote, with just 22% backing the current members plus supporters system.


Question 3 asked how long a member should be in the party before getting a vote, an issue of much contention in 2016. The three options were almost equally popular, with a six-month cut-off date preferred, & only 27% saying that members should be able to join & vote immediately.


Question 4 asked how important it was for Labour to have a meaningful debate and vote at conference about our position on Brexit. An overwhelming 81% of respondents said that this is “very important”, with only one in ten choosing “not important”.


Finally, I have put together a “heat map” showing the location of respondents. Although not a scientific survey there is a good geographical spread with replies coming from all major urban centres.


If you are a member and want to contact me about party matters, you can still do so. I hope to be re-elected so that I can continue to represent you. Polls close on August 30th.


  • by Clive Phillips | 27.08.2018 at 6:28 pm

    There appears to be growing support for a Referendum on The Brexit deal. I doubt if the details of the deal will become clear before conference. I do think Brexit should be discussed at conference but care should be taken on the issue of a further referendum. I am in favour of Keir Starmer`s proposal that all options should remain on the table until the final deal is clear.

    I have not been in favour of a second referendum but I am veering towards this school of thought. I fear that buffoons like Johnson and Rees- Mogg will force us over the cliff edge if, as is most likely we have a bad or no deal. That is not what the country voted for.

  • by Linda Devlin | 27.08.2018 at 7:08 pm

    You still haven’t said what your position is on Brexit and until you do I am maintaining my position of only voting for those candidates opposing Brexit.

    • Hi Linda, I campaigned for Remain and was deeply upset by the result. However when two-thirds of Labour MPs represent Leave-voting constituencies it is not straightforward for them. I think that Keir Starmer is doing a good job of steering towards the least damaging outcome while keeping the party almost united, and was pleased to hear him say recently that all options should remain on the table. I would support a “people’s vote” on the final deal if I was convinced that the mood of the country had changed sufficiently to produce a different result – otherwise the divisions would become even deeper and angrier. But recent signs are encouraging. I’d add that I support a full debate, with votes, on all aspects of Brexit at the party conference, Labour’s sovereign policy-making body, as the best way of settling party policy. The time for constructive ambiguity is coming to an end.

  • by Arthur Desmond Moffatt | 27.08.2018 at 7:46 pm

    I worked very hard for remain being originally from Northern Ireland.
    However, I agree with the Leader scepticism of the EU enablement of predator capitalism.

  • by Sara Chandler | 27.08.2018 at 8:02 pm

    Will you support a second referendum on Brexit please? The first was flawed. We need a people’s vote as well as MP’s vote on the deal at the end of this process. People know more now about how Brexit will affect them now, and we should have the chance to vote.

    • Hi Sara, I would support a “people’s vote” if there is evidence that the mood of the country had shifted sufficiently to produce a different result. That may be happening as we appear to be moving towards a no-deal scenario, and I was pleased to hear Kwir Starmer say that the option should be left on the table. However I do believe that the annual conference, Labour’s sovereign policy-making body, should have a full debate, with meaningful votes, on all aspects of Brexit including a people’s vote, and we can then all unite around an agreed policy.

  • by Melvin Hurley | 27.08.2018 at 8:28 pm

    Ann I’m 100% in favour of debate and avoiding a no deal Brexit,if that happens I favour another referendum but with more encompassing questions than the last. Consequences are now becoming clear but I’m also increasingly worried by further social division and the associated political extremism, this could easily destroy our society in favour of the extremists on the right.
    This has gone so far I doubt recovery is now possible. Labour needs to be providing a united “for all” approach that recognises the differences that could create division and destroy our union and the Irish peace process through border controls.

  • by Joe Kaliszczak | 27.08.2018 at 9:49 pm

    Hi Ann. Thanks for doing the survey, it was good to see someone in Labour actually asking its members what our views are on Brexit. I haven’t voted, and don’t know whether I will because I’m also very despondent about how divided our Party is, and believe the Conservatives will, despite their blatant divisions, probably get re-ected as the incumbent Party. This would be disastrous for all of those who desperately need a Labour Government. How do you believe the Party can become united, and quickly? Joe

  • You have all the votes in our household, you’re doing a great job, hope you have a resounding victory.

  • by Colin Wilson | 28.08.2018 at 5:28 am

    I switched to Labour after many years of voting Tory. I feel 5hat many Labour areas are now changing their minds over Brexit and believe that it must be on the agenda at conference. We the people have been badly misled by those who are supposed to be doing their best for the country as a whole. Many retired Labour members and those who retired within the EU have no voice. The Party Conference should put that right!

  • by Peter Kenyon | 28.08.2018 at 6:47 am

    I am secretary of Burnley CLP, but could not complete the survey form.
    Our executive favoured the option of 10% of MPs/MEPs, but would prefer to stay at 20&
    They believe that only members should vote, after 6 months qualifying period.
    And that it is very important that Brexit is debated at Conference.

  • by Roger JF André | 28.08.2018 at 8:36 am

    The initial referendum was a huge con trick. There is no way to completely extricate our nations from the European Project – soft/hard borders alone would scupper that and trading partners will always be required. We should be telling the electorate that truth and seeking the closest arrangement to our current membership. Failing that the ‘no-deal’ option is the only alternative leaving us free to agree immigration rules which reflect our compassionate approach.

  • by Annette Hobson | 28.08.2018 at 9:56 am

    Hello Ann,
    thank you for publishing the findings so swiftly. Very interesting results.
    I was one of the people questioning the validity as non members could participate but do agree that consultation is always the better path.
    The results mirror my opinions pretty closely and my concern is that members who for example don’t want a Brexit debate at conferences because they either see it as an attempted coup on Corbyn or are Lexiteers will claim that results like these are meaningless as they are not necessarily the membership views.
    I do believe Brexit must be discussed at the conference. We are a party in waiting so must demonstrate to the electorate that we are capable of dealing with Brexit. If we don’t discuss it the electorate will turn against us. Also a meaningful vote doesn’t mean having to opt one way or the other. Keir Starmers’ thought of keeping all options on the table until we know what happens is the only logical option as we clearly cannot commit to anything other (since we are not even in the driving seat – yet!). But we must debate all options so that when the time comes we know what it all means.
    Good luck with the NEC election!

  • by Neil Harding | 28.08.2018 at 10:30 am

    I thought the option of 5% unions, 5% CLPs and 5% MPs was being considered? This is my preferred option as it means a minimum of support across the electoral college.

    I believe members & supporters should get to vote for leader and there should be no time limits- people are people. The idea of “entryism” is a strange one that in fact is grounded in a very non egalitarian concept of “othering”. In a large movement, the number of malicious voters willing to give money to a party they hate would be negligible, and the unexpected income should nonetheless be welcomed.

    Finally on brexit, I am a Labour member who voted Leave and about a third of Labour voters voted Leave. Do not forget us. A lot of us still think the current EU is an impediment to tackling inequality and see no sign of realistic change.

  • by Gren Jones | 28.08.2018 at 10:41 am

    I campaigned against Brexit and want another referendum as I am confident the resut would be different. i thought the Government was charged with the duty of running the country for the good of the nation – i.e. everyone. Therefore leaving the EU in any shape or form is contrary to this.

  • by Patrick Conway | 28.08.2018 at 10:51 am

    Agree conference should debate and determine Party policy on Brexit. Keir Starmer is playing a blinder and as is the case with so many political issues, timing is critical. I feel a ‘people’s vote’ will become inevitable. I am a ‘remainer’ but agreed with Jeremy Corbyn that the EU warranted 7/10 and desperately needs reform.

    Also voted for you Ann, not least because you communicate effectively and look at issue as it arises.

  • by Gwyneth Griffiths | 28.08.2018 at 12:16 pm

    I am afraid all those people who voted to leave the EU had no idea what would be involved. They had a vision of an (imaginary) pre-EU life in an independent Britain, but one of the reasons why my (then) husband & I. after long debate, voted for Europe at the time was because we realised that Britain could no longer function alone – we needed to be part of something bigger. We no longer had the Commonwealth and so Europe seemed the best option. I stand by that view. Britain cannot stand alone except as an isolated island with no power & no authority.

  • I would really like second referendum , but see little chance of that . My best hope is for brexit in name only (BINO) , and that requires May to change her tune on the Single Market , but maybe the Commons can force the issue on that . I voted for you , and I support the “broad church ” Labour Party idea . Best of luck in the election.

  • The principal argument for a 2nd referendum is the quality of information available previously. None of us had any real idea of what Brexit would mean. Now it is clear that it won’t be economic Armageddon but it will make us worse off; that ‘having our cake and eat it’ won’t happen; we won’t be in the Customs Union or on the same trading arrangements as before; and the Tories have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they are being totally out manoeuvred by M. Barnier. The Tories are wavering between a hard Brexit and a very hard Brexit. On an issue of this importance, the Labour Party should be prepared to take a lead, rather than wait for public opinion.

  • by Stephen Clifford | 28.08.2018 at 5:13 pm

    Like Neil Harding I worked and voted for Leave (as did at least 40% of Labour voters in our constituency, and members). I would prefer a Labour Government to be taking us out, but Out is what I and others wanted and still want to be – that was the People’s Vote.

  • by Bob Denmark | 29.08.2018 at 9:47 am

    I , like many others, talk about Brexit with a lot of people who aren’t particularly political. I had a very heated discussion with a good friend or two yesterday!

    If we get a second referendum, we must, I think, avoid the trap of telling previous leave voters that they got it wrong and we are giving them a chance to get it right.

    I think we should emphasise how the “Brexit Team” have been given the chance to come up with a deal that fulfils the promises they made, and have failed miserably. That changes the circumstances, and people should be given the chance to vote on the new reality. Claiming the moral high ground is fraught with dangers – people resent being lectured to.

  • by Dorothy Macedo | 30.08.2018 at 2:12 pm

    Surely a problem with a second referendum is that there is now not enough time for parliament to pass the necessary enabling legislation? I know things can be rushed through in an emergency, but that would require the sort of consensus which clearly doesn’t exist among MPs at present.

  • I hope the results of your survey are seen by the leadership of the party and it is realised that a meaningful discussion, and vote, on our approach to Brexit is important to members.

    I’m fed up of hearing leading Brexiters say that a democratic decision has been made and that’s the end of it. We can be sure that had leave lost 48;52 Brexters would now be arguing for another referendum. Farage said so prior to the referendum result. Democracy requires that voters know and understand what they are voting for. We didn’t! I voted remain for a number of reasons but I have discovered lots more reasons for remaining since then. Rees-Mogg now tells us that it could take up to 50 years for economic recovery post Brext. I don’t recall him mentioning this during the referendum campaign. I understand, and agree with the comments about EU reform; it is more likely to occur however with the UK as a member.

    My wife and I voted for you and we wish you well.

Leave a comment