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New poll: voters don’t want UK trade deals with countries who commit genocide

22 03 21

Key Takeaways

1
A huge majority of people – especially Conservative voters – are against the UK doing a trade deal with a country engaged in a genocide, with 71% saying we should NOT make trade agreements with a state committing a genocide.
2
A big majority of respondents (67%) say they would shy away from companies who benefit from forced labour.
3
71% of people think the UK should not make a trade agreement with a country committing a genocide with only 7% disagreeing with that statement.

Ahead of an expected government attempt to block a vote on the Genocide amendment of the Trade Bill tonight, and backbench attempts to force it, polling by HOPE not hate has found that an overwhelming majority of the public – especially Conservative voters – oppose the UK signing trade deals with countries committing genocide.

We found:

  • 71% of the general public – and 76% of Conservative voters – agreed we should NOT make trade agreements with a state committing a genocide.
  • 75% of the general public – and 83% of Conservative voters – wanted the international community to work together to force China to improve its human rights record.

This polling sends a clear message that Conservative MP’s should not underestimate the strong feelings on this issue amongst the general public and Conservative voters. MPs must be mindful that voting for Government’s wrecking amendment will be seen for what it is – a vote to block measures protecting human rights, measures that the country is overwhelmingly in favour of.

Awareness of the Uyghur’s plight is higher than average amongst Conservative voters and the scale of these human rights abuses means people rightly feel strongly about the issue. Conservative backbenchers should feel empowered to stick by their convictions because the public is with them, and what they do now counts.

Key findings

A huge majority of people – especially Conservative voters – are against the UK doing a trade deal with a country engaged in a genocide, with 71% saying we should NOT make trade agreements with a state committing a genocide

By a margin of 75% to 5%, the public wanted the international community to work together to force China to improve its human rights record

A big majority of respondents (67%) say they would shy away from companies who benefit from forced labour

The full results

“To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?… The UK should not make trade agreements with states committing genocides.”

  • 71% of people think the UK should not make a trade agreement with a country committing a genocide with only 7% disagreeing with that statement.
  • Amongst the 71% who agreed with this sentiment, 42% said they strongly agreed, with 29% somewhat agreeing.
  • Conservative voters feel more strongly than all voters, with 76% of 2019 Tory voters agreeing (42% of Tory voters strongly agreeing and 34% somewhat agreeing with this statement).
  • Large majorities across every region of the country agreed with the statement.

“To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?… The international community should act together to force China to improve the human rights and individual freedoms of its citizens.”

  • By a margin of 75% to 5% people said they want the international community to work together to force China to improve human rights for its citizens.
  • Amongst the 75% who agreed with this sentiment, 47% said they strongly agreed, with 28% somewhat agreeing.
  • Conservative voters feel more strongly than all voters, with 83% of 2019 Tory voters strongly agreeing (51% strongly agreeing and 32% somewhat agreeing with this statement).
  • Very large majorities in every region and age group agreed with the statement.

“As a consumer, would you or would you not buy products or services from a company found to be directly or indirectly complicit in involvement in a genocide?”

  • By a margin of 67% to 13% people said they “would not” want to buy from firms complicit in a genocide. 20% replied that they didn’t know.
  • Conservative voters were equally as likely to shy away from firms complicit in a genocide (68%), and majorities of every age group and region of the country shared this sentiment.

“Are you aware that the Chinese authorities have locked up anywhere between one and three million Uyghurs (who are Muslim) against their will in internment camps as a means to eradicate Uyghur culture and language?”

  • A majority (51%) of people in the country say that they have heard about what’s happening in Xinjiang, with 40% saying they have not heard about it.
  • Conservative voters are more likely to be aware of the situation than voters as a whole with 56% of 2019 Tory voters saying they are aware and only 36% saying they are not.

Fieldwork: 25 and 26 February 2021
Sample: 1492
Weighting: GB nationally representative – weighted to age, gender, region and education

This survey was conducted using an online interview administered by Focaldata.

Focaldata collected data from a representative sample of 1,492 respondents between 25th and 26th February 2020 using its proprietary data collection platform Focaldata Core, which plugs into a global network of panels and uses machine learning to automatically detect and screen out inconsistent and disengaged respondents. Users fill out the surveys in real-time across mobile, desktop, and tablet devices on the focaldata platform.

The data was weighted to be representative of the GB population. Focaldata contacted members of the panel that match the demographic profiles of the country, in particular age, gender, and region. It then weighted the raw data to match the known population of Great Britain.

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