In the UK it is possible to raise a petition to Parliament. If that petition obtains 10,000 signatures, there is a written response from the Government. If there are more than 100,000 signatures, the matter is discussed in Parliament. In less than two years 48 proposals have been discussed in Parliament, with another 14 pending. By far the largest was for EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum, which had 4.15 million signatures. It was never going to get far, as it would have meant changing the rules for the referendum vote after the vote had taken place. But it acted as a protest for the substantial and vocal minority who did not like result.
The signatures by constituency are available for download. There are a also non-UK signatures, which I shall ignore. I ranked the signatures by constituency, and divided the 650 constituencies into tenths, or decile groups. The constituencies I then classified by political party of the current MP, giving the graph shown in Figure 1.
Compared to the Conservative constituencies the Labour Party has a few dominant activist constituencies on in terms of wanting to overturn the EU Referendum results, whilst most are far less active. It is even worse if you include the SNP, many of which were Labour constituencies prior to 2015. Figure 2 splits these 231 Labour seats into the 14 regions.
Of the 34 Labour-held seats in the top decile, 27 are in London. The Labour heartlands of the North of England. parts of the Midlands and in Wales are far less activist. Those 27 London constituencies (or 15% of Labour seats) registered 41% of all signatures in Labour seats. 15% of Labour seats registered slightly more signatures than the lowest 140 or 60%. This lines up with the an analysis of the estimated split of the EU Referendum vote I did last year, and shown again as Figure 3.
The Labour seats that most virulently voted remain in the EU that are unsuprisingly the Labour seats with the most signatories who wanted to overturn the democratic result that goes against them. But it in terms of signatories, London-based activists skew the result even more, meaning that within in a political party their views are likely dominant over the those held in the majority of Labour-held seats. As Labour Party members are mostly pro remain, this means that going with party and not will the majority view in the constituencies that they represent. There is a similarity with attitudes to Donald Trump’s prospective State visit to the UK. A petition against this is Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom. This currently has 1.85m signatures up from the 1.82m when I downloaded the figures a few days ago. Figure 4 shows the decile groups by political party of the current MP and the Figure 5 shows the split by region of the labour constituencies.
The Labour constituencies dominate even more the top 65 of constituencies by signatories, with the same 27 London constituencies being represented in the top decile. With 15% of Labour seats they registered 32% of all signatures in Labour seats and registered slightly more signatures than the lowest 144 or 62%. A very similar pattern to the EU referendum.
This petition has been countered by Donald Trump should make a State Visit to the United Kingdom. With just 307,000 signatories or one sixth signatories of the Prevent State visit, it might nor seem as relevant. Figure 6 and Figure 7, are from when the signatories were about 275,000.
The Labour constituencies are fairly united in their apathy for wanting a Donald Trump State visit, but are divided in the expressed opposition to a state visit. But are the far greater numbers of the “Stop Trump” signatories reflected in the wider population? YouGov Published an opinion poll on 1st February on the topic. Almost half the sample thought the state visit should go ahead, whilst just over a third thought it should not. In the detail, the poll also divides the country into five regions, with London separated out. Even here, the opinion was 46 to 38% in favour of the Trump state visit. The real problems for Labour are shown in the extract of the detail in Figure 8 below.
Those who intend to vote Labour now are a smaller group than those who voted Labour in 2015. Proportionately if 30.4% voted Labour in 2015, 25% would do so now. In the unweighted sample, it implies around 70% of the of the 67 lost would support the state visit. The remaining Labour voters are much more against the majority who expressed an opinion than in GE2015. This indicates a party in general decline. That the opinion seems to be centered on London, this indicates the collapse in the Labour vote has in the traditional Labour heartlands of the Midlands, the North and Wales has further to go.
Yet if the visit does go ahead it is the noisy protesters that will come out in their thousands, the majority will be Labour supporters based in London, who shout down everybody else.