Voters in and round Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency are split over whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union (EU), a survey has revealed.
According to Mr. Cameron’s local newspaper the Witney Gazette, around half of those surveyed said they would vote to stay in, but a quarter wanted to leave and a further quarter had not made up their minds.
The public also seemed to be unconvinced by so-called “project fear” claims that Brexit would threaten British jobs and security, with fewer than half thinking it would have any negative impact on the local area.
However, many respondents did not feel they have enough information, with the vast majority failing to name a single one of the 10 local Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
Oxford is situated in the South East England constituency for the European Parliament, which stretches from Oxfordshire to Kent and contains some 8.5 million people. At the last elections in 2014 it returned four UKIP, three Conservative, one Labour, one Green and one Liberal Democrat MEPs.
Anneliese Dodds, who represents the area for the Labour Party, said: “I’m disappointed but not surprised that few people know who their MEPs are.
“I live in Rose Hill and try to get around as much as possible to speak to my constituents, but with a population the size of Austria’s it is a challenge.”
Richard Ashworth, a Conservative MEP who no one could name, added: “The EU is a significant factor in our lives and in a modern society the very low level of knowledge exhibited by the people leaves a lot to be desired.”
“The uptake of commentary at regional newspapers is extremely low and, sadly, the majority of schools offer no civic education at all,” he said.
According to research by the University of Bristol, Oxford is one of the most pro-EU places in Britain along with cities such as Cambridge, Brighton and Bristol, all of which have younger populations than the rest of the UK.