Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn held talks in Brussels about Brexit in July 2017 [Image: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images].

It seems Labour’s brilliant strategy of being open to Leavers and Remainers alike, trying to heal the rifts of the EU referendum, may have been a mistake.

The British Election Study suggests that Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to triangulate – outflank the Conservatives – on Brexit may have hindered his election campaign last year, rather than helped it.

Still Labour insists that the referendum result is binding, even though Brits are turning against it – and against the godawful mess the Conservatives have made of negotiating our departure from the EU – in big numbers.

What will it take to get Mr Corbyn to admit what we all know?

Or are our politicians determined to put us through the torture of leaving the EU – just to teach us to take our referenda more seriously next time?

2017 was also a Brexit election after all.

Anti-Conservative tactical votes made a difference and the anti-Brexit vote as a phenomenon in its own right was instrumental in getting Labour over the line in some marginal seats and northern constituencies in particular.

The truth is Labour voters want to stay in the EU and the majority of Labour voters who voted Leave do not prioritise Brexit as the most important issue.

Regardless of region, age, class or the type of constituency, the number of Labour voters who supported Remain vastly outstrips Labour voters who supported Leave.

It shows that Labour is the party of Remain in every age group, class and every region of the country, including in the north and among working-class voters.

However, it is the demographic breakdown that delivers one of the most important insights. We know that middle-class and skilled workers traditionally supported Remain and working classes were more likely to support Leave nationally. But the Labour frontbench should be aware that the majority of Labour-voting working-class voters supported staying in the EU.

Even more crucially, this research suggests strong Leave voters are only a tiny proportion of Labour’s support. According to the British Election Study, just 9% of Labour’s total vote in 2017 is likely to have been Leave supporters, for whom Brexit was the issue they were most concerned about.

Source: Labour will win the next election if it becomes the party of Remain | Eloise Todd | Opinion | The Guardian

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