In a setback to Theresa May’s bid to get Tory MPs to back her Brexit plan a new poll suggests more than half of Conservative Party members prefer a no-deal withdrawal.
In a three-way choice, 57 per cent of grassroots Tories said they would support leaving the EU without an agreement, while 23 per cent would back May’s deal and 15 per cent would choose to remain.
A total of 5 per cent had no preference.
The poll also suggested a two-way referendum would see 29 per cent of Tory members endorse the PM’s stance, with 64 per cent voting for a no-deal Brexit.
The research was carried out by YouGov for the Party Members Project, which studies membership of the UK’s six biggest parties.
The overwhelming rejection of May’s deal shown in the survey comes at a crucial time for the PM as she faces a crunch Commons vote on her plans.
After May suddenly pulled a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in December because it faced a significant defeat, MPs are to begin debating the proposals again next Wednesday with a vote scheduled for the following week.
The poll of Tory members is bad news for May’s hopes of winning support for her deal, said Professor Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London who led research into the findings.
“If Theresa May is hoping that her MPs will return to Westminster having been persuaded by their constituency associations to back her Brexit deal, she’s going to be disappointed.
“It appears that those members are in no mood for compromise.
“Moreover, the Tory rank and file, it seems, are convinced that no deal is better than May’s deal.
“In short, Mrs May has failed not only to convince the country, and quite probably Parliament, that her Brexit deal is a good one, she has also failed to convince the party faithful,” Prof Bale said.