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Editor: We won’t take sides in EU vote despite readers poll

Keith HarrisonA regional daily editor has said his paper will stay neutral in the EU referendum – despite a poll showing 80pc of its readers want to leave.

As reported by HTFP yesterday, a survey carried out by the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star showed four out of five readers want to quit the EU.

But the paper’s editor, Keith Harrison, has made clear the E&S won’t be altering its editorial stance as a result of the poll.

Keith, left, told HTFP: “We won’t be taking a side in the EU referendum. We will continue to report both sides of the argument and trust our readers to make up their own minds.”

Nearly 8,000 E&S readers were surveyed in the poll, the biggest ever carried out by the newspaper.

It found that immigration was the key issue for 63pc of those taking part with a further 82pc saying they did not believe that EU membership had benefited the Black Country or Staffordshire.

Two-thirds also stated Mayor of London Boris Johnson, a former Express & Star reporter, was most likely to influence their vote, compared to 22pc for Prime Minister David Cameron and 12pc for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Almost two-third of voters felt Mr Cameron should stand down as Prime Minister if the UK votes to leave.

The last major referendum, on Scottish independence in 2014, saw regional newspapers north of the border taking a variety of different stances.

The Newsquest-owned Sunday Herald came down in favour of independence, resulting in a 111pc year-on-year increase in its sales and the subsequent decision to launch pro-independence daily The National.

However its daily stablemate The Herald backed staying in the UK, as did Johnston Press flagship The Scotsman and the DC Thomson-owned Sunday Post in Dundee.

Many other titles including the Press & Journal, Aberdeen, the Dundee Courier and JP’s 48 Scottish weeklies remained neutral.

* Is your paper planning to take sides on the EU referendum?  Let us know at editor@htfp.co.uk.

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