Theresa May’s convinced Britons about Russia’s killing of Sergei Skripal, a poll says
This was compared to 61 per cent who regard the Kremlin as a global menace. And asked before yesterday’s raid on Syria if Britain should join the US and France in missile strikes against President Assad, only 29 per cent agreed while 36 per cent were opposed.
However 35 per cent said they didn’t know – suggesting Theresa May could still win over most of the UK public after the 2am blitz on targets involved in chemical weapon production.
The findings come as the Prime Minister prepares to make a statement to the House of Commons tomorrow justifying her actions. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has written to Mrs May calling the attack “legally questionable” and insisting MPs should have had a vote.
However Labour’s leader in Wales, First Minister Carwyn Jones, said he backed “any intervention that could prevent a further atrocity”.
Many of Jeremy Corbyn’s voter base remain unsure
Theresa May has largely succeeded in persuading voters that Putin was behind the Salisbury attack and that Russia is making an aggressive nuisance of itself.
The poll – the first by ComRes on voting intention since the election – shows that while the Conservatives and Labour are almost neck and neck, Labour are ahead among the under- 55s, while the Tories lead among the over-55s.
Ahead of next month’s local elections Labour are leading the Conservatives by 55 per cent to 32 per cent in the North, while the Conservatives are ahead of Labour by 46 per cent to 37 per cent in the Midlands and by 44 per cent to 39 per cent in the South.
About one in five 2017 Lib Dem votes has switched to Labour but only one in 20 has gone to the Tories. If this trend was repeated at the next election it would result in a hung parliament with the Conservatives 37 seats short of a majority.
Half of Britons were convinced over Sergei Skripal’s death
ComRes chairman Andrew Hawkins said: “Theresa May has largely succeeded in persuading voters that Putin was behind the Salisbury attack and that Russia is making an aggressive nuisance of itself.
“While voters are less gung-ho about military action against Syria than Theresa May would perhaps like, the battle for public opinion over joint action against President Assad has certainly not been lost, even among Jeremy Corbyn’s vote base.”
Conservative voters were more likely to support military action on 38 per cent, with 31 per cent opposed. While 40 per cent of Labour voers did not want intervention, 27 per cent were in favour. Liberal Democrat voters were similarly divided, with 36 per cent opposing the missile strikes and 30 per cent supporting them.
Like his Labour counterpart, Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said Mrs May should have sought parliamentary approval before deploying RAF fighter jets, saying her decision “fatally undermines the integrity of this mission”.
He said: “Riding the coat-tails of an erratic US president is no substitute for a mandate from the House of Commons.”
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However Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up Mrs May’s minority government, backed her decision. The survey found men were more supportive of military action than women (36 per cent to 23 per cent).
Age had less of an impact on the results, although 18 to 34-year-olds were least likely to support it (24 per cent).
Of the 61 per cent who agreed with the statement: “The Russian government has become a force for evil in the world”, older voters were most likely to agree – especially those most likely to remember the Iron Curtain.
Voters were less convinced by Syrian air strikes
The survey found 50 per cent of all British people believe President Putin was responsible for the Salisbury nerve agent attack, at the same time a third told pollsters that they didn’t know.
In total, 14 per cent – or one in seven – believed he was not responsible. ComRes surveyed 2,038 adults on April 11-12, 2018, about their voting intentions and views on Syria.
Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults and by past vote. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
Find full tables at comresglobal.com