The Liberal Democrats have reportedly backed down on campaigning to cancel Brexit amidst negative reactions from voters on the doorstep and a drop in the polls.
According to a report in The Times, activists have said that pledges to revoke Article 50, stopping Brexit altogether, is proving unpopular.
“It hasn’t been a popular policy. People are only hearing the revoke message and say we have abandoned the People’s Vote. That’s quite a common thing. People don’t think it’s realistic. There is a difference between people being theoretically keen on revoke and the reality,” one activist said.
The Liberal Democrats have said that if they gain a majority, they will cancel Brexit, or otherwise continue to push for a second referendum.
While officially denying dropping the Stop Brexit message, senior figures are reportedly planning to spend the last two weeks of campaigning focusing on holding the so-called “People’s Vote”.
The report comes as a Times poll published on Tuesday put the Liberal Democrats in third place on 13 per cent — down three points — ten points off its high of 23 per cent at the beginning of October. A new YouGov poll for Sky News also puts the Lib Dems three points down on 13 per cent.
The More Voters See of Lib Dem Leader Jo Swinson, the Less They Like Her: Poll https://t.co/Dnk1M7icC5
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 19, 2019
Meanwhile, following the collapse of the anti-Brexit group the People’s Vote, which pushes for a second referendum, senior members of the group have formed the Vote for a Final Say, according to POLITICO.
The group plans to help 25 anti-Brexit candidates from the Liberal Democrats, Labour, and the Scottish National Party (SNP) win marginal seats in the December 12th election. They hope that they can stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson winning a majority and forming a Leave-backing government.
Vote for a Final Say has dropped calling the second referendum a “people’s vote” — instead, calling it the “final say”.
James McGrory, a senior adviser to Vote for a Final Say and the former director of the People’s Vote, said: “Time is running out to stop Boris Johnson getting a landslide. There have been too many arguments about who has the best tactical voting website or polling data and not enough action.
“We can all agree that these 25 seats are critical if we’re to prevent Brextremist Tories securing total power. Now is the time for everyone to roll their sleeves up and start fighting back.”
While Liberal Democrat MP Heidi Allen, from the anti-Brexit Unite to Remain, told the Evening Standard that tactical voting “is literally all we have left in our armoury” to stop Brexit by forcing a second referendum.
Anti-Brexit parties have been forging Remain alliances since early on in the election campaign to strategically stand down candidates to stop splitting the Remain vote. While the Tories failed to officially come to a similar agreement for Leavers, Nigel Farage sacrificed hundreds of Brexit Party candidates by standing down in Conservative seats earlier this month, putting country before party.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 26, 2019
Rather than blaming their unpopular Brexit position for their falling polling numbers, the Liberal Democrats have blamed the Brexit Party because they refused to split the Leave vote. Mr Farage’s actions turned the four-way race into a more traditionally British election where the third party — the Liberal Democrats — gets squeezed out.
A Lib Dem source complained to The Times: “Nigel Farage stitching up a deal with Boris Johnson fundamentally changed the political reality. Our priority remains stopping Brexit, and we’ll pursue every avenue to do that. That starts by making sure Boris doesn’t get a majority.”