YouGov’s weekly poll for the Times is out tonight (Times report here). Topline voting intention figures are CON 42%(-2), LAB 39%(+2), LDEM 8%(nc), returning to more run-of-the-mill figures after the unusual seven point outlier last week. Fieldwork was Monday and Tuesday.

Just 21% of people now think the government are handling Brexit negotiations well, 66% badly – the lowest net figure that YouGov have recorded so far on the question. The other regular Brexit tracker on whether it was the right or wrong decisions continues showed the now typical picture of slightly more people thinking it wrong (46%) than right (43%).

Despite disapproving of Brexit, people still don’t think it would be legitimate for Parliament to block it. While, by 40% to 37%, people think it would be acceptable for Parliament to reject the Brexit deal, by 49% to 39% they think it would be illegitimate for Parliament to block Brexit entirely.


730 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 42, LAB 39, LDEM 8”

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  1. If Theresa May loses next week on the various amendments, I strongly suspect that she’ll just keep on aimlessly plodding on. I really do.

  2. I think the 21/66 split on the Brexit negotiations could be a problem for the Tories in the long term. If the public percieve that the negotions are being botched (obviously), and Brexit goes badly (probably) it will be very hard for them to shift the blame. Its a bit like the constant hammering of Labour over the financial crisis by the government even now.

  3. Jones in Bangor

    Unless sufficient Tories choose to unseat her, she can do precisely that. She’s been plodding since becoming PM, and there seems little point in her voluntarily changing tack now.

    It has always seemed that her purpose was to somehow cope with whatever direction the swirling political winds drove her in.

    Whether she landed the ship of state on the rocks or in a haven which many of her crew considered to be enemy territory never appeared to be important.

    Meanwhile, Corbyn’s pirate ship is avoiding any engagement, and simply being blown by the gales as well.

    Whether the Scots on board can get sufficient into the lifeboat to take it to safety remains an open question.

    To continue my metaphor, the LDs are unconcerned as they are on a paddle boat in the municipal park.

  4. Labour have only been ahead in one poll since March of this year and dispite everything May is well ahead of Corbyn in the who would make the best leader stakes.
    Personally I think it’s because the public think May is doing her best in a very difficult situation and when they look around at who could replace her they don’t see anybody either in her own party or the opposition up to the job.

  5. Seems a more ‘normal’ poll than previous. Would agree with @B&B that the numbers on Brexit negotiations are a problem. Perceived incompetence is a creeping negative that can totally infect a government and make them susceptible to blame for any and everything.

    On trust:

    I suspect May hasn’t just worried remainers, but brexiters also will understand that what she says to them behind closed doors means next to nothing. In terms of the UK/EU negotiations – it won’t make a difference. The EU wasn’t remotely concerned about trust – they just want legally enforceable agreements and no messing.

  6. OLDNAT

    At least the LDs are having fun then – further proof that life is unfair.

  7. Alec

    “The EU wasn’t remotely concerned about trust – they just want legally enforceable agreements and no messing.”

    Spot on, and to many in Scotland, it probably applies to things like devolution too. Trusting Westminster was something that some may now regret.

  8. I have had a most disappointing reply from BBC Complaints to my criticism of Sarah Montague`s interview with Ian Blackford in yesterday`s R4 World at One.

    There was no apology or acknowledgement that Sarah was in any way unfair, or that she deliberately talked over the top of Ian in order to obscure his message.

    Instead there was a very wrong statement (IMO) hat the interviewer has NOT to be neutral, but take the side of most listeners. Inevitably this means that the UK majority in Central and Southern England have their political views favoured rather than those of rUK.

    “”It is important to note that the interviewer’s role is to put the questions that audience members want to know the answers to. Sometimes, the tone of the interview will depend on how the interviewee responds to questioning. If an interviewee is unwilling to answer a particular point, firm persistence may be required.””

    There was no acknowledgement of the stupidity of Sarah asking Ian to explain why the Welsh Assembly had accepted the Withdrawal Bill, with just a comment that the two parliaments are different. I infer that the Complaints reply person simply does not appreciate the enormous difference between the devolution arrangements for Scotland and Wales.

    I think the only way we can get a BBC that serves the whole country fairly it is to shift most broadcasting to somewhere central, such as Leeds or Manchester.

    When the BBC staffs its current affairs and political programmes with many Tories, and the Complaints Department merely reflects the political balance of Southern England, the Tory party has a head start for elections.

    I urge that as part of its audience research the BBC should record the political views of its listeners and viewers. If it finds that these differ from what political opinion polls are finding, then the BBC has a duty to change its programmes to redress the balance.

    It is the British BC, not Voice of the Tories.

  9. Davwel

    “It is the British BC, not Voice of the Tories.”

    Mmm. I don’t think you have read their new Charter, or looked at it’s new oversight structure.

    It’s the Voice of the UK Government (and they are usually Tories).

  10. TURK

    Reluctantly agreed. Despite the shambles of this Govt they remain consistently ahead in the polls.
    I think May will plod on for now but if we get to a stage where Parliament votes down any final Brexit proposals then she will have nowhere to go and I believe another General,Election will be called.

  11. davwel

    You might be clear about the difference between Wales and Scotland but it would seem sensible for an interviewer to pose questions on the assumption that not everybody else listening does.

    That gives the interviewee the opportunity to make that point clearly and succinctly in their response.

    I do agree though that the adversarial interviewing of politicians is extremely irritating.

  12. @Turk – “Personally I think it’s because the public think May is doing her best in a very difficult situation and when they look around at who could replace her they don’t see anybody either in her own party or the opposition up to the job.”

    Yes I suspect that’s true. Corbyn has too many negatives for too many people, and this general description probably covers all the other possibilities as well. May is the least offensive of the bunch – just at the point where the UK needs real leaders, we’ve got this lot.

    The other point, which shouldn’t be readily discarded, is that no one else really wants the job – everyone wants to be in opposition. Labour certainly want to stay in opposition until Brexit is settled, but on the Tory side, nobody seriously wants to challenge her. With Somerset Asset Management advising investors to steer clear of the UK for now, JRM knows that if he seized the poisoned chalice his number would be up, and that goes for Boris too.

    Equaly, any remainer challenge would know that the party membership wouldn’t back them, but besides – who wants to stand on a platform that the voters were wrong?

    Everyone, including Labour, are simply in the game of trying to ‘help’ The Blessed Theresa make the right Brexit. Then they will all seek to dump her, with everyone claiming she got the wrong Brexit.

  13. @Oldnat & Davwel

    The BBC consistently and remarkably fail to reflect one rather sizeable chunk of opinion, i.e. those of us who are English and who would like to see an end to the Union.

    To listen to the Beeb you would think that every single English voter favours a continuation of the UK and opposes independence for Scootland, Wales and NI.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

  14. @Alec
    “Everyone, including Labour, are simply in the game of trying to ‘help’ The Blessed Theresa make the right Brexit. Then they will all seek to dump her, with everyone claiming she got the wrong Brexit.”

    It’s good to be able to agree with you. It seems likely that she will go down in history as one of our least successful PMs. Still, that’s far more than anyone on here will ever achieve.

  15. As to the LD, and an opinion …. :-)

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XkY88kvkdvU

  16. @Oldnat (from last thread)
    As a matter of fact, had I lived in Scotland at the time (and I did for a while), I would almost certainly have voted for independence.

    But posts like yours definitely make me think again, if that is the attitude…

    I mean pardon me for not being able to tell whether it is you or Carmichael who is talking rubbish over the niceties of votes on Scotland in the Lords and the Commons, and what the exact consequences of actually passing that amendment might have been, but you simply calling what he said rubbish with no justification whatsoever rather convinces me it is you!

  17. Pete B

    I don’t rate her achievements (apart from getting to hold certain positions) that highly. Her notable achievement in life seems to be the hostile environment at the home office, which I don’t think anyone can be proud of.

    I’m trying to think of a major achievement she has made since becoming PM. Throwing away a 20 point lead in the polls and an overall majority?

    I certainly hope to achieve more (not in politics of course), although maybe without such an impressive title. Then again, titles never impressed me.

  18. Result from Lewisham East, its a hold for a Labour with a 19% swing to Lib Dems.

    LAB 50.2 (-17.7)
    Ldem 24.6 (+20.2)
    CON 14.4 (-8.6)
    GRN 3.6 (+1.9)
    WEP 2.3 (+2.3)
    UKIP 1.7 (-)

  19. We have passed peak Conservative:-)

  20. Speaking more seriously, the issue of the SNP and the speaker highlights to me a more common problem of the media in general and not just the BBC.
    I think Bercow/SNP issue was very much collateral damage, the cause was the Government time tabling the amendments very close together so that there was never going to be enough time to debate the issues. Unfortunately this gets lost in the headlights of the row, which would never have happened if sufficient time was allocated to the amendments

  21. @Turk et al

    May is PM and people are behind her because she is the one ‘steering’ the government and Brexit. I think we are at peak May. Corbyn goes quiet in-between elections, apart from the odd gaffe for him or his party, but really performs well at crunch time, so his support dwindles somewhat.

    On the whole I think it totally pointless to opinion poll this far out between elections.

  22. Furthermore, I think all we need is one or two minor things to turn off some Tory voters (e.g. Scotland) or one big thing (Brexit going badly) and I think their number of seats will collapse.

    With a weak Lib Dems contingent, Labour might be in a better position to capitalise than they were in the 90s. Remember – the Tories haven’t won an election convincingly for over 30 years, and despite a 7% lead in 2015 they had a paltry majority.

  23. @B&B,

    If, as imho seems not unlikely, Brexit proves to be a lot more damaging than the financial crisis, do you expect it’ll prove to be a stick to beat the Tories in the coming decade or so?

  24. Lew/NeilJ.

    I expressed the opinion 10 days ago or so that we had reached peak Tory lead after a post GE year that was unusual in many ways; only for the 7 point YG outlier to appear.

    I think the notion that Labour should be way ahead is a tired old mantra that the 2017 GE showed is out of date.

    However, they should be doing better and the Corbyn baggage, for all his strengths on integrity and ‘people like us’ type questions, does imo produce a ceiling.

    I still believe, though, that we will see a drift back towards parity from the small Tory leads as the Don’t Know’s grow amongst 2017 Con voters plus a tad of drift and it is any actually drift to other parties that matters most.

    In fact I would expect a small Lab lead to grow between now and next Easter.

    Either party having a modest lead going in to the next GE, though, is far from a conclusive indicator of the result of course.

  25. LEWISHAM EAST BY ELECTION
    June 14th 2018

    This is the worst By Election Result I can unearth for a main opposition party in history.

    Until as recently as 2010 the Lib Dems were only 6,200 votes behind Labour.

    But just seven years later in 2017 the Tories had soared into second place and the Lib Dems were 30,000 votes behind Labour.

    Labour’s majority over the Tories in 2017 was 21,000, and in May 2018 Labour won every single seat on the Council.

    Now the result:-

    It was MUCH worse for Labour than anyone imagined possible The Lib Dems, despite failing to even come back to their 2010 vote % share, slashed Labour’s majority from 21,000 to 5,600. The Tories were less than 8,000 votes behind Labour.

    On lower turn outs, gross numbers of votes have to be viewed with caution, but % share of the vote is highly significant.

    There was a staggering 19% swing from Labour to the Lib Dems, and a 4.5% swing from Labour to Tory!! Labour’s share of the vote fell from 67.9% to 50.2%.

    The Labour Party candidate Janet Daby sad she was ‘humbled and delighted’ by having won at all.

    ‘Humiliated; and disgraced more like!!

    This outcome is almost certainly wholly due to Corbyn’s combination of extremism on the one hand whilst managing to be totally devoid of leadership, principle or courage, on the other. Especially on the EU/Brexit issue.

    Lewisham East voted heavily for Remain. But no one knows where Corbyn stands. Corbyn however, is quite plainly anti EU, yet uses the subject as a means to make childish political point scoring against the government and against the national interest.

    Lewisham East in 2017 had an (albeit), modest sized Tory vote but which was much more pro Remain in composition, than elsewhere. They were therefore willing to vote tactically for the Lib Dems on his occasion. The working class and underprivileged Labour Leave voters however, likely stayed at home.

    Corbyn repeatedly misunderstands what motivates voters. He imagines that he can say and do whatever he likes, that Labour voters are at his beck and call, and are as trivially minded in their lack of principles as he is himself.

    Voters are far more serious minded than he and his frivolous self indulgent Momentum puppet masters think.

    The Labour candidate on this election although something of an air head, was not a particularly unattractive one. In fact she seems a fairly voter friendly sort. But Labour did as appallingly badly as this, in constituency so close to where Corbyn is based that he could have walked to it to canvass support.

    If Mrs May, despite being in government, and therefore prone to such things had done as badly as this in a By Election there’d have been calls for her resignation, and she’d most likely have obliged.

    Corbyn however will carry sailing on, and leading the party to rack and ruin and certain defeat in 2022.

    The Lib Dems don’t have as much as they think to crow about either. This was prize plum for them to try to pick. There was very little Tory campaign there. Everyone knew the Tories had no chance, and they had the anti Brexit vote available to reap.

    They weren’t dogged by the usual lack of resources either. They had plenty of wealthy local Lib Dem Parties not too far away which they could draw on for canvassers and some money.

    One footnote to this result however, is that the misandrist and racist policy operated by the Labour Party in its’ selection process might have put off few voters.

    Labour bans white people and men of all races from applying to stand. It’s not all clear that’s legal. The practice should be challenged in court.

  26. @ JIMJAM

    “However, they should be doing better and the Corbyn baggage, for all his strengths on integrity and ‘people like us’ type questions, does imo produce a ceiling.”

    Yes, I agree with that. The Tories are also at their ceiling as well, so both have a long way to fall. The problem is that there isn’t (in England) a viable alternative.

  27. @ Alec

    I agree with your analysis and to some extent have sympathy for both May and Corbyn who are caught in a situation where they have clusters of MPs on both sides of the Brexit debate who seem unable to accept a common policy. The interesting thing for me this week was a smallish group of Labour remainers who voted in line with their leave constituencies- I suspect there are many more of those heaving a huge sigh of relief at the party option to abstain.

    Where the sympathy ends though is that May, in accepting the job, has to assert her authority in much the same way as John Major did with a back me or sack me. As you say no-one else wants the job until Brexit is a done deal so she should have used that “power” to make a call on whatever the compromise should be and push that through. At the moment we are none the wiser what her “acceptable to the EU deal” is with 9 months left.

    I think within a few weeks of the negotiations starting she would have been pretty clear on the general options acceptable to the EU (which might simply have been EEA /BINO or WTO/hard Brexit) and at that point she needed to force through an agreement within her own party or resign.

    Polling will be unpredictable over the next 4 weeks with England set to win the World Cup without a recognised goalkeeper or midfield (and ushering in a new footballing era of international sides not bothering much about the midfield) but gradually that short term blip will dissipate and things will become clearer, timing in nicely with clarity on the Brexit settlement.

  28. Oh yean, 50%+ of the vote. Real disaster that.

  29. At least the commentators are helped by England having a Dier midfield.

    FWIW – I would play Delph.

    Roly – Mrs May chose to have a GE in part due to the Copeland By-Election and that turned out well!

    The view that By-Elections seldom tell us anything new is confirm by last nights result.

  30. RONAL OLDEN

    Wow-that was some result.

    The LDs never actually die do they !

  31. Turnout at Lewisham East was 33%-down from 69% at the GE.

  32. Labour won! Nuff said.

    Talking of Peak May (or peak Tory) has any analysis been done on the voters they’ve picked up from working class constituencies in the Midlands and North etc and their motives for lending their support to the Tories? I wonder if they are waiting for Brexit to be done and dusted – in any way, shape or form – and will then desert in their droves. Governments don’t usually do well on their 4th bite at the cherry and a Labour manifesto promising all sorts of goodies may prove tempting.

  33. Some impressive over-analysis of Lewisham from Ronald there!

    A fairly typical by-election result on a much reduced turn-out, although the size of the swing given the shortness of the campaign (only four weeks IIRC) was bigger than you might normally expect.

    I suspect some in Labour will be somewhat worried by this; Lib Dems will be somewhat encouraged, and the Tories will ignore it.

    A longer campaign might have led to a more interesting outcome…

  34. The Lewisham result looks like voters not bothering to turn out rather than St Vince performing miracles by turning Labour voters into pseudo-Tories. If anyone’s going to move to LibDem it’s going to be anti-Brexit Tories, given how little they’ve managed to detoxify their brand for anyone even a hair’s breadth to the left of centre since 2015.

    The turnout was woeful, only about 700 more in total than Labour’s overall majority in 2017.

    If we are to break the habit of not forecasting general elections on the strength of a by-election with 33% turnout, in which the incumbent party achieved victory with more than 50% of the vote rather than 70% last time; where – by comparing a half-eaten dinner with a full one – the Tories’ support dropped by over 8%; in which the LibDems who always turn out to vote regardless of what it’s for turned out to vote again, then this might be seen as a game-changer.

    It looks like the UKIP and A-M Waters’ breakaway movement garnered about the same number of votes between them as UKIP managed last time, which suggests that in this constituency at any rate that there is core vote there who are as determined to turnout regardless of wind, rain, plague or pestilence as Vince’s disciples.

    Having squandered the Tories’ majority last year May can no longer afford the luxury of another election; the media seem to be slowly drip feeding the idea of a second referendum to the Great Uninterested, and (if the public are going to be granted either one or the other) another clunking u-turn on a referendum seems safer than assuming that a three per cent lead in the polls will be any more strong and stable than the twenty per cent lead they went into the last election with.

    It will be a lot easier to focus the GU’s minds on Brexit with a referendum which they will probably hope to “lose” than at an election where Grenfell, the NHS, education, potholes, libraries and all the other inconvenient issues which people are actually interested in come into play. That will also give them three years to regroup and hope that something comes to their rescue in the meantime.

  35. The low turnout in the by-election means it is not useful to compare percentages of the vote to the general election result.

    However, looking at the number of votes is instructive. Whilst Con, Lab and UKIP votes were more than halved, the LD vote went up, from 2,086 (in 2017) to 5,404 now, and the Green vote roughly constant, 803 to 788.

    Both the main parties have reasons to worry about the LD vote bucking the trend.

  36. The fall in Labour % in Lewisham doesn’t mean much – many Labour supporters knew they were going to win so lent a vote to another party to send a message (perhaps Con if pro Brexit and Lib if anti, or either if anti Corbyn). Remember all the people who voted Brexit as a protest against the government, but didn’t want it?!

    In a general election, which is all that matters, I expect the Labour vote would recover as people are aware that their vote could change the national picture.

  37. @TED
    I think you are also guilty of partial analysis here.

    – the BES ‘flow’ data shows that LDem voters are actually a more fluid bunch than either Tory or Labour; around 1/3rd of 2017 LDem voters (which admittedly is not many actual voters…) had voted for a different party in 2015.
    – the canvass returns that the LDems released (which were almost spot on with the result) reflected far more ex-Labour voters swinging LDem than ex-Tory; there is no objective reason to disbelieve them.
    – the Tory’s partial rehabilitation in 2010 and Labour’s in 1992/7 and 2015/17 show that parties can and will be forgiven for their past ‘transgressions’; it also shows that it takes a long time, and normally some explicit renunciation of prior ‘sins’ – Clause 4 rejection (90’s) or Corbyn (2017) for Labour, ‘call me Dave’ for the Tories.
    LDems are yet to fully embrace their renunciation of the coalition, and they haven’t served enough ‘time’, but you can be sure that some people on the left are dribbling back. I agree that it will only become more than a dribble n the short term if Labour do something deeply alienating…

    Given the rate of change, if this had been an eight week campaign rather than four weeks then Labour might well have lost the seat – that deserves some consideration as to why.

  38. Yougov table is out. Not got time to look at the results now but interesting that, among C2DE voters, Labour lead by 2 points in the raw data but are 1 behind in the headline data. I guess it shows Labour working class supporters have a lower likelihood to vote?

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/qzm7srmkvi/TimesResults_180612_VI_Trackers_w.pdf

  39. Yes all a bit silly looking at a by-election with such a low turn out. On raw figures Labour were down from 32,072 to 11,033. The Conservatives were down from 10,859 to 3,161,
    Some satisfaction for the liberal, up from 2,086 to 5,404,
    Turn out down from 47,201 to 22,056.

    The reality is it was a by election which Labour was always going to win and I suspect many Labour and Conservative voters could not see the point of voting.

    It may be evidence of the rehabilitation of the Liberals, who looked to have returned to their pre-coaliition levels of support in the Constituency. But even that is too early to say for sure

  40. @THEEXTERMINATINGDALEK
    @RONALD OLDEN
    @HAL

    We tend to read a lot in by elections only to be disappointed when elections come around. Richmond comes to mind for me

    Nevertheless For the liberal democrats the vote share is seen as positive. For everyone else the situation can be described as meh to disastrous and we’re all doomed depending on your political persuasion.

    The point being that Liberal Democrats not doing well in a by election where a huge majority voted to remain for me would be the problem rather than the fact that they did well. For Liberal Democrats there was an incentive to come out. For everyone else there is less incentive. AS HAL says the greens should be happy with the result but in all honest I think that RON has over egged the cake here.

    Now come an election I presume that the Liberal Democrats will make a fight if it but I’d be surprised if they get a vote share any better than this.

  41. @jonesinbangor:

    May will plod on, but she has already failed.

    Briefly, the Commons numbers are at least publically in doubt. The Caroline Flints have broken cover, so there may be enough Labour rebels to cancel out the Tory rebels when push comes to shove.

    But there are more Tory rebels waiting to follow Lee, so the EU can probably sit it out, knowing their friends in the Commons will take charge.

    The amendment basically says, “We don’t trust you, and when you screw this up by being too demanding of the EU, we’ll take charge.”

    The correct response would be to tell the Commons to take charge now, or appoint someone it trusts.

    But May will plod on.

  42. 2c on NHS spending news – too little, TOO EARLY!!

    OK, really it is too late but May+Hammond blew the JAM issue in the GE manifesto and hence took on the ‘clothes’ of austerity from DC+GO. Hammond is a morphation of GO, Osborne2.0 as I’ve called him before.

    Hence the reason it is now too early, is that it looks like weakness, begrudgingly given to Brexiteers while May allows Grieve+Robbins to run Brexit for her and the country. IMHO it would have been much better to save the ammo just a little longer when a new broom could sweep the room and folks might actually believe CON had left the full package of the DC+GO era behind.

    It might work but IMHO you can’t trot out the old emperor(ess) in new clothes, you need a new emperor(ess) to have any chance of folks believing.

  43. @Rolly Haines

    “Voters are far more serious minded than he and his frivolous self indulgent Momentum puppet masters think.”

    Crikey, Richard Littlejohn makes a guest appearance on UKPR!! :-)

    An entertaining read as ever Rolly, but you really must stop writing this stuff before the results of by-elections are known. If you look closely at Lewisham, it was a better than expected performance by the Lib Dems but they weren’t within a country mile of competing or winning the seat. The Labour and Tory vote shares both declined but this was one of those non-event by-elections when the result was never in doubt. Pathetic turnout and much scope for voter tomfoolery. Many such examples in the past and, as a guide to a future GE, about as useful as a chocolate fire guard (or a YouGov poll!)

    Or a Saudi Arabian defence, maybe!!

    :-)

  44. 2c on Lewisham East – turnout worries for LAB and CON, Remain worries for LAB

    My 5min guess from y’day was way off due mostly to very low turnout (LTV or what I call MTV (Motivation To Vote)).

    As others mention by-elections have low turnout but this was low even by that standard, especially 1y from Grenfell and with politics still on the daily news (although the World Cup had just started).

    You can’t really back-test a single data point but if you want to ‘fit’ the result with highly subjective values then, start with simple formula

    Party_18 = MTVparty x Party_17 + ‘Flow’

    If you had many data points you could do the fancy stats stuff but with one you have to make very subjective guesses.

    You can generate a very low error based on following coefficients:

    MTVlab = 0.46
    MTVcon = 0.27
    MTVldem = 0.75

    The ‘flow’ bit is extremely subjective but if we assume Brexit was the only factor to consider and we wanted to see the LAB to LDEM flow for Remain and the UKIP to CON flow for Leave then the ‘flow’ part is

    LDEM gained 12% of LAB voters
    CON gained 30% of UKIP voters

    You’d be bonkers to extrapolate that to a national level as by-elections are very different, turnout is always much lower and ‘protest’ vote distorts the % by party.

    However, with all caveats noted the result was worrying for both LAB (low turnout and risk of Remain shift to LDEM) and CON (very low turnout). It wasn’t exactly pop the champagne for LDEM but happy for them to celebrate winning 8% of the eligible vote in a highly Remain voting seat ;)

  45. @BIGFATRON
    @NEILJ

    This is the same liberal democrats that failed to keep Richmond, A seat. Liberal Democrats main opposition in most of their seats are not Labour but Tory so often it is Labour tactical voting that swing their wins. It is why Liberal Democrat voting is often rather fluid. The point has often been that if you voted Liberal democrat and got a Tory government then you might a well vote our conscience than tactically. I think here is where I disagree with you I would expect if the liberals were really coming back that would incentivise their voters to come out and vote in truth by the result they got voters out but the result despite the low turn out for me would be disappointing

    Simply put I agree with NEILJ we are making some serious leaps based on something that only one party had the real incentive to fight.

  46. @BigFatRon

    It seems to me that this is a message from the strongly Remain-voting electors of the constituency to both major parties that they don’t want a hard Brexit, whether intentionally (May) or by default (Corbyn). The acceptance speech was quite significant:

    Ms Daby, the former deputy mayor of Lewisham, said she felt “humbled and delighted”.

    In her acceptance speech she said her victory meant “we will not tolerate an extreme Brexit in Lewisham East”.

    Asked if there was much difference between her and party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit, she said she wanted to ensure “we have as close a relationship to the EU as possible”.

    [from the BBC report on the by-election result]

  47. @TREVOR WARNE

    It means there is a magic money tree though is there not. Once that is established then the debate about the idea of austerity being a good thing from a Conservative perspective is dead. and Ed Milibands policies arise from the grave back from the days when they were socialist

    ;-)

    The problem is that it does not fix the problem and the 6B in a £122B budget is just not far outside the error bars in terms of spending it will not be noticed. it does not solve the social care crisis which often causes the NHS crisis and more importantly. AS I have always said it is not about policy it is about politics. Which is why in my view it tends to fail.

  48. @ Ronald Olden

    That’s quite an impressive analysis. I’m particularly taken by the fact that you say Labour did badly by letting the LDs take so much of their vote share, but also LDs did badly because they didn’t take more Lab vote share. So that means the swing from Lab to LD was exactly the right magical amount to be a disaster for both. I’m surprise that you didn’t also point out that the drop of 30% in the Con vote was a marvellous performance and great victory for them.

    Let’s face it, this was a low turnout vote in a safe Labour seat (that also was heavily remain). Don’t over-interpret, it tells us little about anything, or little that we couldn’t have guessed beforehand. I don’t disagree that Labour might rip itself apart before 2022, but that has little to do with this by-election result. There’s also a chance that the Torys might do the same, at this point I’m not sure which is more likely.

  49. Ronald Olden: “This is the worst by-election result I can unearth for a main opposition party in history.”

    Nonsense. By the effect it had on the political narrative, Copeland last year was worse for Labour (or, if you want argue that they recovered pretty quickly afterwards, then Mitchem & Morden 1982). By “how much of your vote share did you lose?” both Bermondsey 1983 and Bradford West 2012 were worse for Labour.

    Not a great result for Labour, but equally not the sort of result that would start people calling for Jeremy’s head.

  50. [email protected]
    “I think you are also guilty of partial analysis here.”

    I don’t doubt for one moment that you’re correct :-) With the best will in the world we all see things through our own political prism, and mine as I’ve said before is non-tribal contrarianism with a very strong smattering of ABT. The main reason I detest the LibDems in the way I do is that I have voted for them in the past, and recognise that it is a personal failing to allow myself to harbour such visceral anger towards them now for propping up the Tories in the coalition and by doing so creating the climate which led directly to Brexit. That they continue to peddle the line that they were acting in the national interest and hold no responsibility for the disaster which is currently unfolding leads me to my current position that Clegg, Cable et al have, however unwittingly, had a greater detrimental effect on the political landscape than Thatcher. That’s my personal viewpoint, and I know that holding these beliefs have a tendency to blind me to objective reality. I have no responsibility for others blindness to objective reality, that we are able to assemble here to try to thrash out what is belief and what is real in a civilised manner is a great attraction.

    I’m not sure that, other than the LibDems claiming that they are taking more votes from Labour than the Tories that my analysis is very far from yours. The cynic in me is retorting with the Mandy Rice-Davies defence, since it is clearly in the LibDem’s interest to be seen to be drawing support from Labour rather than the Tories, since without this their detoxification will be unable to take place. On the other hand, it may be true.

    At any rate, the LibDems still lost, by a very, very large margin, so I’ve no reason to be uncheered by the result.

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