First Brexit Poll Since Jo Cox Killing Has ‘Remain’ in Lead

  • 45% back staying in EU, 42% want Brexit, Survation survey says
  • Cameron says ‘no turning back’ if voters choose to leave EU

Tributes including flowers calling for a 'remain' vote in the EU referendum are piled in remembrance against a photograph of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in Parliament Square central London on June 18, 2016.

Photographer: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

The campaign to keep the U.K. in the European Union led in the first opinion poll fully conducted since Thursday’s slaying of politician Jo Cox as the debate resumed five days before the referendum.

Staying in the bloc won 45 percent support in the Survation telephone poll of 1,001 adults on Friday and Saturday for the Mail on Sunday. Leaving was endorsed by 42 percent.

The poll marked a reversal of positions from Survation’s previous survey, which was released just before pro-EU Labour Party lawmaker Cox was shot and stabbed on Thursday as she met constituents in her electoral district in northern England.

Her killing led to the suspension of campaigning, which had turned increasingly rancorous ahead of the June 23 referendum. Polls had shown mounting support for withdrawal from the EU in the week before her death.

A survey by YouGov Plc for the Sunday Times, a third of which was conducted before the attack, showed “Remain” on 44 percent and “Leave” on 43 percent. The pollster said it doubted the rise in backing for the EU was tied to the death of Cox and suggested it may relate more to concerns about what Brexit would mean for the economy.

The public debate resumed late Saturday with Prime Minister David Cameron writing in the Sunday Telegraph that there would be “no turning back” from quitting the EU and that doing so would trigger a “probable recession.”

“If you’re not sure, don’t take the risk of leaving,” he said. “If you don’t know, don’t go.”

Speaking to the same newspaper, pro-Brexit Justice Secretary Michael Gove said rather than suffering a recession, the U.K. would thrive outside of the EU and urged the public to “vote for hope.”

WPP Plc Chief Executive Officer Martin Sorrell and Barclays Plc Chairman John McFarlane are among business leaders signing an open letter that argues that “EU membership is good for business and good for British jobs,” according to the Sunday Times, based on a draft of the letter.

A letter to the Sun on Sunday, signed by 37 executives including Patisserie Holdings Plc CEO Luke Johnson, said small firms will thrive after leaving the Brussels “straitjacket.”

Cox, in an article written four days before her death and published in the Mail on Sunday, urged voters not “fall for the spin” that voting to leave would resolve issues over immigration, the key argument advanced by the “Leave” camp.

“We can do far more to address both the level and impact of immigration while remaining in the EU,” she wrote.

On Sunday morning, Gove and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will appear on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr” program before Cameron discusses the issue on a special edition of the channel’s “Question Time” in the evening.

Thomas Mair, 52, who lives in Cox’s northern England electoral district, was charged with her murder on Saturday. Following the attack, politicians have sought to promote unity and Parliament will be recalled on Monday to pay tribute to Cox.

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