Brexit: Leave campaign no longer viewed as anti-establishment movement as Remainers turn to insurgent strategy

The campaign to Remain in the European Union is no longer overwhelmingly seen as the “establishment” movement in the Brexit debate, according to new polling.

The survey by YouGov found that after months of the government negotiating to quit the EU, many British people see Leave as the establishment movement in the ongoing debate about the UK’s future.

The finding is significant because at the 2016 referendum Leave was bolstered by its image as an anti-establishment crusade, while Remain was hindered by the perception that it was the campaign of the government and business elite.

Leaders of the People’s Vote group, who commissioned the poll, told The Independent the shift will mark a change in their campaign strategy to more insurgent-style tactics.

A senior source at People’s Vote said: “For too long our side of the argument has been, sometimes unfairly, seen as the establishment telling the people they got it wrong two years ago.

“We now have the chance to give voice to millions of people who feel the establishment has screwed Brexit up over the past two years and want to take back control of the process through a People’s Vote.”

The source added: “We will be making the case that the likes of Michael Gove are the establishment now – they are in power, they are doing this to you.”  

Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests a second Brexit referendum would be acceptable in clip from 2011

The YouGov poll of more than 10,000 people found that Leave campaigners are now regarded as “the establishment” by 34 per cent of voters, while those seeking to stay in the EU are regarded as such by 35 per cent.

Asked if Leave campaigners understood the concerns of ordinary people, 27 per cent said they did while 54 disagreed. The figures for campaigns seeking to stay in the EU were 26 per cent and 52 per cent.

The Independent has launched its own Final Say campaign, to win British people the right to hold a new referendum on Brexit, setting up a petition that has now attracted some 600,000 signatures.

On Saturday, the first regional People’s Vote rally will take place in Bristol at a sell-out event in the city’s Colston Hall.

The event will feature speakers from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, as well as local activists.

Our Future, Our Choice, the largest youth group campaigning for another referendum, will be spraying “clean graffiti” on Bristol’s streets – using a power washer and stencil to inscribe their message on grimy paving and walls.

Further rallies are planned throughout the summer in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Cambridge, Cardiff, Liverpool, Birmingham and London.


The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

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