25 May 2016
London is overwhelmingly backing a vote to Remain in the European Union, a major opinion poll reveals today.
The capital is a clear 60-40 in favour of staying in Europe’s family of 28 nations, discounting don’t knows.
Exclusive research by Opinium for the Evening Standard reveals the 5.6 million eligible voters in London are far more pro-EU than the rest of the country.
Londoners are divided 51 per cent in favour of Remain, 34 per cent in favour of Leave and 14 per cent undecided.
Across the UK, by contrast, the battle was much closer, with Remain on 44 per cent and Leave on 40 per cent, with 14 per cent don’t knows.
The research discloses that the block of voters who backed Sadiq Khan for Mayor of London will be one of the most significant groups of voters in the entire referendum.
Labour supporters divided by an overwhelming 69-25 in favour of staying in the EU, which means another high turnout on June 23 would pack a big punch in the national referendum.
It found that men and women, the under-55s, and both inner and outer London are all on balance for Remain. Green Party and Lib Dem supporters are also backing Remain.
London’s Brexiteers include older voters, Ukip supporters and – by a narrow margin – Conservative supporters.
London’s verdict is revealed as new Mayor Sadiq Khan prepares to make his first major intervention onto the referendum battlefield.
Tomorrow Mr Khan will make a keynote speech outlining the “patriotic and positive” case for a vote to Remain in the EU.
Mr Khan is also in talks with broadcasters about taking part in a head-to-head TV debate.
Unlike Mr Cameron, who has refused to debate the EU directly against a big name from the Leave campaign, the Mayor has offered to take on a top Brexiteers directly.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne have each held discussions with Mr Khan about his role in the referendum, arguing that the Mayor can make a crucial difference to the national debate by boosting turnout among the 45 per cent who voted for him on May 5.
“They feel he can make a difference by getting Labour voters out and generating a big turnout, which is what we saw in the mayoral election,” said an insider.
“That is what the campaign crucially needs – a big turnout of positive supporters.”
There has been disappointment at Remain HQ that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has failed to galvanise Labour supporters for an In vote. One source dubbed the Corbyn team effort as “lacklustre”.
But Mr Khan has made the EU campaign a priority and plans several more interventions.
He has had the EU flag flying on one of the three flagpoles outside City Hall since taking over as Mayor.
An ally said: “Under Boris, City Hall was behind Brexit but now we are throwing its weight behind the Remain side.”
Young Londoners aged 18 to 24 were a massive 60-20 for Remaining in the EU, the survey revealed.
The Remain lead declined as potential voters became older, until flipping among the over-55s who split 48-40 for Leave.
Inner London is 59-27 for Remain, a majority of over two-to-one. Outer London was also for Remain, but by a closer 46-38 margin. Conservative supporters in London were 47-43 for Leave.
Adam Drummond, of Opinium, said: “London is significantly more pro-EU than the rest of the country.
“This is down to its cosmopolitan mix including more young people, more socially liberal people, more Labour voters and a wealthier element, all groups which lean heavily towards Remain.
“London is also a place where the benefits of EU membership can be seen clearer and also one where the impact of leaving may be more keenly felt than elsewhere.”