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Gove outperformed Boris during the EU referendum campaign, say MPs

By: Chloë Grant

David Cameron and Michael Gove were named as the stand-out referendum campaigners by MPs, according to Populus MP Panel research conducted before the EU referendum vote.

Michael Gove was considered by more than half (54%) of MPs as the politician in the Leave campaign to have put his argument across to the public most effectively, but during fieldwork conducted before the referendum result was announced, he was named as David Cameron’s likely successor as party leader by just 7%. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson was considered the most effective Leave campaigner by just 16% of MPs, but received the highest number of mentions as the next Conservative Party leader (31%).

Chart 2

Chart 3

Labour and SNP MPs were – unlike pre-referendum Tories – more likely to pick Theresa May as the Prime Minister’s successor than Boris. Currently the frontrunner in the pledges amongst Conservative MPs, Theresa May was named by nearly two-in-five (37%) Labour MPs as David Cameron’s likely successor. In contrast, just over one-in-ten (13%) Conservative MPs named the Home Secretary. Meanwhile, no Labour MPs and just 5% of Conservative MPs named Theresa May as the politician in the Remain campaign to have put their argument across to the public most effectively. Jeremy Corbyn was mentioned by just one Labour MP.

Chart 1

Populus interviewed 104 MPs on the Populus MP Panel between 2 June and 1 July 2016. Results are weighted to be representative of the House of Commons.

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