By Matthew Barrett
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The People's Pledge campaign group, which argues in favour of a European referendum, has just announced the result of two referendums it held in the Greater Manchester constituencies of Cheadle and Hazel Grove, voting for which closed at 5pm today. The two Lib Dem seats, which would be Conservative targets in a swing election year, saw a combined turnout of 29,276 people out of 83,266 ballot papers issued - a turnout of 35%.
In the Cheadle constituency, 13,606 (86.6%) voted in favour of a referendum. Only 2,068 (13.2%) voted against holding one.
In the Hazel Grove constituency, 12,043 (88.5%) voted in favour of a referendum. 1,559 (11.5%) voted against.
The People's Pledge were quick to point out after the result was announced that the figures of those in favour - more than 12,000 in each case, was greater than the majority of either MP - Mark Hunter (Cheadle) or Andrew Stunell (Hazel Grove). It's also worth noting that the percentages in support - nearly 90% - are very similar to the 89.9% who voted in favour in a referendum held earlier this year in Thurrock. The two constituencies polled today are seen as relatively suburban commuter towns on the outskirts of Manchester, both of which have traditionally elected Conservatives, before turning yellow in 1997, whereas Thurrock is a far more working class Labour-Tory marginal, yet all three constituencies voted overwhelmingly in favour of a European referendum.
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