17% of British voters want a referendum on an English parliament

[Update: The exact total is 17%, it now emerges, as Toque has obtained access to the full data sheet. So for ‘15%’ below, read 17%.]

Yes, you didn’t read incorrectly: I meant ‘British’, not ‘English’. At the end of August / beginning of September, YouGov carried out an opinion poll on behalf of the Constitution Society about attitudes to the proposed referendum on electoral reform, provisionally scheduled for next May. Respondents were drawn from across the UK.

One of the questions they asked was: “Which constitutional issue would you most like to have a referendum on?”. According to the chart in the Constitution Society presentation (see above link), I reckon around 15% + of respondents answered “an English parliament”. This was about half the total (33%) that thought the voting-reform referendum was most important. Given how much of a priority the coalition government is giving to the electoral-reform issue, the fact that half as many Britons want a vote on an English parliament – more than want a vote on fixed-term parliaments or equalising constituency sizes: two more items in the government’s cherished reform programme – suggests that the government ought to give proper consideration to a referendum on an English parliament if it is serious about constitutional reform and about popular participation in decisions of this scope.

And, of course, one assumes that almost all of the respondents who indicated their wish for a referendum on an English parliament were resident in England, making the percentage of English people who want there to be a referendum on this subject higher still.

Hearteningly for those who regard a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU as of higher priority than a referendum on an English parliament, this appears to reflect the priorities of the sample of voters questioned by YouGov: 43% said they wanted a referendum on the EU – more than any other topic. And presumably, the great majority of those who want either referendum are in favour of an EP and of British withdrawal from the EU respectively, making the prospects of both measures being approved in referendums very strong.


2 Responses

  1. I think a lot of EP supporters will also want a referendum on the EU.

    to my knowledge they’ve not released the results of the other EP question they’ve recently asked – as follows:

    “Would you support or oppose the creation of a new English Parliament along the lines of the existing Scottish Parliament?”

    Strongly support, tend to support, tend to oppose, strongly oppose, don’t know.

    Question Asked 26/08/2010 (have screenshot).

    Would be interesting to see the results for that broken down by home nation.

  2. “15% of British voters want a referendum on an English parliament”

    Maybe more than 15% want a referendum on an EP, what this shows is that 15% put an EP in the top three issues that they want a referendum on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: