A brief update on the state of the polls as we head towards Christmas. First let look at voting intention. The six voting intention polls we’ve seen published so far in December have all shown the two main parties essentially neck and neck – two have shown tiny Labour leads, two have shown tiny Conservative leads, two have had them equal (the YouGov poll for the People’s Vote campaign in the Sunday papers today may have had a slighter larger lead, but it shouldn’t upset the average).

Opinium (14th Dec) – CON 38%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 6%
YouGov (7th Dec) – CON 38%, LAB 37%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 3%
Kantar (6th Dec) – CON 38%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 5%
Ipsos MORI (5th Dec) – CON 38%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 4%
YouGov (4th Dec) – CON 40%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 4%
ComRes (2nd Dec) – CON 37%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 6%

Despite the incredibly turbulent situation in British politics, there has been relatively little change in voting intention since the general election. Through late 2017 there was a very small Labour lead, for most of 2018 there was a very small Conservative lead (with a few periods of Labour ahead – most significantly the weeks following the Johnson/Davis resignations). At no point has either party really pulled away. Politics may have been chaos, but voting intention have been steady.

This itself is remarkable given the state of the government at present. If you look at any other measure, they are in a dire situation. The government’s net satisfaction rating in the MORI poll last week was minus 45 (24% satisfied, 69% dissatisfaction). That is comparable to the sort of figures that the Brown government was getting in 2008 or the Thatcher government in 1990… both periods when the opposition had a clear lead in voting intention. Any question asking about the government’s main policy – the delivery of Brexit – shows that a solid majority of people think they are doing badly at implementing it. Today’s poll from Opinium found people thought the party was divided by 69% to 18% (and quite what those 18% of people were thinking I do not know!). And yet, the Conservatives remain pretty much neck-and-neck in the polls.

I can think of three potential explanations (and they are by no means exclusive to one another). The first is that people have simply switched off. The ongoing chaos isn’t impacting people’s voting intention because they are not paying attention. The second is that voting intentions may still be being largely driven by Brexit and, regardless of how well the Conservatives are delivering Brexit, they are the main party that claims it is committed to doing so, and while support for Brexit has fallen, the split in the country is still normally around 47%-53%.

The third potential reason is that Labour are not a particularly attractive option to many voters either – one of the few clear changes in the polls this year is a sharp drop in Jeremy Corbyn’s approval ratings. At the end of last year his approval rating from MORI was minus 7, in the MORI poll last week it was minus 32. On YouGov’s Best Prime Minister question he continues to trail well behind Theresa May (and often both of them trail behind “Not sure”).

While it is interesting to ponder why the voting intention figures remain stable, it’s not necessary particularly meaningful. In the next four months Brexit will either go ahead with a deal that many will dislike, go ahead without any deal with whatever short or long term consequences that may bring, or be delayed or cancelled. Any of these has the potential to have massive impact on support for the parties.

On Brexit itself, public opinion on what should come next is not necessarily much clearer than opinion in Westminster. Throughout 2018 opinion has continued to drift slowly against Brexit – asked if we should remain or leave polls tend to find a modest lead for Remain – typically showing a swing of around 5 points since the referendum (They are helpfully collated by John Curtice here – his average of the last six polls to ask how people would vote now currently shows a Remain lead of 53% to 47%).

While the majority of people don’t support Brexit any longer, that does not necessarily translate into clear
support for stopping it, or indeed for most other courses of action. Poll after poll asks what the government should do next, and there is little clear support for anything. Theresa May’s proposed deal certainly does not have majority support (YouGov’s Sunday Times poll last week found 22% supported it, 51% opposed. MORI’s poll found 62% thought it was a bad thing, 25% good). When Opinium asked what should happen if the deal was defeated, 19% wanted to re-open negotiations, 20% said leave with no deal, 10% said have an election, 30% have a referendum, 11% cancel Brexit altogether. When MORI asked a similar question with slightly different options 16% said renegotiate, 25% said no deal, 10% an election and 30% a referendum.

When polls ask directly about a referendum they tend to find support (although, to be fair, most polls asking about referendums normally find support for then – it is essentially a question asking whether the respondent would like a say, or whether politicians should decide for them). However, a new referendum is obviously a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.

And therein lies the problem – there is scant support for most plausible leave outcomes, but reversing Brexit in some way risks a significant minority of voters (and a majority of the government’s supporters) reacting extremely negatively indeed. In the YouGov Sunday Times poll last week they asked what people’s emotional response would be to the most plausible outcomes (current deal, no deal, soft Brexit, referendum and no Brexit). Would people feel delighted, pleased, relived, disappointed, angry, betrayed, or wouldn’t mind either way?

If Britain ended up leaving without a deal 23% would react positively, 53% negatively.
If Britain ended up leaving with the proposed deal, 20% would react positively, 51% negatively.
If Britain ended up with a softer Brexit, staying in the customs union and single market, 27% would react positively, 35% negatively.

Finally, if there was a referendum and Britain voted to stay, 42% would react positively, 39% would react negatively. This is the outcome that would have a positive reaction from the largest proportion of people, but it would also be by far the most divisive. When asked about their reaction to the deal or a soft Brexit, most people gave people towards the middle of the scale – they’d be disappointed, or relieved, or wouldn’t mind. Asked about reversing the decision to Leave, answers tended to the extremes – 26% would be delighted, but 23% would feel betrayed, including 51% of people who voted Brexit back in 2016.


1,582 Responses to “Where public opinion stands”

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  1. @Edge of Reason
    @BFR

    Yep, it seems Ron may have had a few nicknames…

  2. A thoughtful, nuanced article in FT.

    The implications for the growing gap between the polling and political outcomes in most of Europe (of course, it is not the most important) is big.

    https://www.ft.com/content/9cbb5e0e-0555-11e9-9d01-cd4d49afbbe3

  3. @SAM
    “One might suppose both May and Corbyn wish to run down the clock.”

    One might more reasonably suppose that recent tactics evince more Corbyn’s wish to make as much trouble as possible for the Government.

    Certainly yesterday’s exercise was the very opposite of running down the clock, but the very epitome of infuriating the Government and obstructing its plans, and he seems to have no qualms in seeing Labour MPs vigorously whipped in the “infuriate and obstruct” direction.

    Which in our adversarial Parliament, and without getting all Jeffersonian about whether it should be, is pretty much his job definition.

  4. @ HAL / LL – In theory, in the time period of “wrapping up HoC business” then MPs could somehow insist on PM asking to extend or revoke A50. In practise that would be an enormous U-turn for May (possible but highly unlikely IMHO but I’m sure DANNY would disagree)

    Alternatively: In theory May could lose a VoNC (if Corbyn ever gets around to it) and you could have a “temporary” PM (Yvette Cooper, Dominic Grieve or Vince Cable?) who a majority of MPs support and who is then able to write the necessary letters, etc.

    We now know full revoke is unilateral but would a majority of MPs back a temporary PM to write that letter?

    Extend would need unanimous consent from EU27. Would EU agree to extend to allow a GE?
    Who is going to ask (ie it’s a chicken and egg conundrum)?

    Several theoretical scenarios exist but they all seem very unlikely and all have very high hurdles and/or rely on EC-EU27.

    @ SAM – In his speech, Corbyn is (again) shirking the VoNC. I used to 90% joke that he was waiting until 11:59am on April 1st but thats down to below 50%.

    One might suppose Corbyn wants a Clean Brexit but wants May to deliver it for him and hopes LAB VI will “forgive” him and he can then turn issues back to Many v Few, austerity, free uni fees for de yoof, etc.

  5. PeterW,

    But May wants to pass her deal, so will have an election date before the end of A50, postponing the exit date if necessary.

    If Corbyn goes into an election without promising a people’s vote, then the Remain vote will scatter across several parties and Labour will lose badly. May will get a comfortable majority and implement her deal.

    If Corbyn promises a PV in the manifesto, then all bets are off. I’ve no idea what the general election outcome would be.

  6. @TREVOR WARNE

    To say JRM views on what happen to our country post brexit is the same is pretty far fetched you yourself professed to be more a Corbynite than anythign close to a Moggite or Raab supporter (he of Britain unchained)

    Both Labour leavers and Tory leavers have a different trajectory for the country.

    Again as I have said in one sense there is not a ‘no deal’ I suspect that I’ll be flying out 30 Marh to Dublin to continue my contract but the long term would be a parting of ways which will remain unhelpful for many. We can see the effects of this already.

    We have gone from the idea that anythign negative being called project fear to a level of reality. Will some people gain? Of course but it is being shown that there will be more losers than winners and even people with money needed to invest in this country have been told by the very people who support Brexit not to invest in the UK seem to suggest that despite whatever the political viewpoint is just follow the money. I suspect that the disengagement will leave us poorer, those with skills will survive this but we don’t have much in the way of help for those without.

    As I have always said brexit is a red herring, a distraction that is now the be all and end all of our political discourse. We have been at it for almost 3 years and we have not even gone through the difficult part with anyone as yet.

    @SAM

    Labour cannot run the running down of the clock. Even the Tories cannot stop it on their own it would need parliament as a whole to do that hence why I believe we’re screwed. it is a simple is of arithmetic we started on a trajectory which whilst there is not a majority for, there is not a majority for anything else

    Both Labour and the Tories do not leverage or the numbers to change anything. our MPs voted for this trajectory. Now I believe they felt compelled to do so because they thought we would not have got to this stage but it was also obious we would get to this point. Clashing redlines would mean that we would have to arrive at this point.

    May cannot get her deal across the line, her party is by membership over 80% leave, by voters at the last GE over 70% leave she cannot offer a new referendum and considering that upward from 30% of her voters prefer a no deal. She cannot move

    Labour as I have said before I havign to straddle leavers and remainers to have a chance of being the largest party let alone a overall majority. remain would have to win by over 10% for them to have a chance to translate that into a majority. I suspect that will not happen and hence their caution on a second referendum.

    Simply put no one is in control, it is why I suspect we leave without a deal. I also don’t think a general election solves this anymore than the last one did.

    @ED G
    Just to give you one more link

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11964196/George-Osborne-openly-defied-by-Conservative-MPs-over-tax-credit-cuts.html

    The GE2015 reminded me that people project what they want on the manifesto commitments the more nebulous the better.

  7. Hal – I think that is probably right.

    Whilst vote for us so we can offer our deal v remain in a second ref has a paradox at it’s heart it is the only position Labour can take going in to a GE anytime soon I think.

    20+ (maybe as many as 40) MP/PPCs would make clear locally that they won’t support a second ref and it would be divisive but less so than not committing.

    Am ambiguous seek to blah blah and not excluding various options wont stand the rigour of a GE campaign imo.

  8. PTRP

    I agree with you.

    I think Labour is fudging to achieve stasis. There will be no GE, no second referendum.

  9. I see that TM “reaches out to unions and Labour MPs in unprecedented bid to force deal through” (from the independent.)

    It is a terrible pity that these emollient attempts at consensus politics weren’t tried at the outset of the Brexit process.

  10. @JimJam

    “CB – I cant forget what Atkinson called Marcel Desailly”

    Nor I and it rather put paid to him as both a Manager and pundit; deservedly so too. He was one of the first and most lurid victims of the unbeknown live mike, caught saying things which he thought were off air. I seem to remember some celebrated victims since, not least a certain Gordon Brown, although Atkinson’s racist outburst was probably the most extreme and self-defamatory. In some ways it was all the more shocking because it seemed so out of character. He’d been one of the first Managers at the top level in the English game to give opportunities to black players, and he did so at a time in the 1970s when racist abuse in the game, particularly from the terraces was endemic. His Albion side containing Cunningham, Regis and Batson blazed a bit of a trail and while Atkinson was always a brash, arrogant and self-regarding sort of character, there was no indication that he was a racist. However, his comments on Desaiily were unambiguously racist, devoid of any attempt at ham-fisted humour too. They were obscenely offensive and revealed someone pretty unpleasant lurking behind the happy go lucky mask.

    He lives in a village not far from me and can be seen walking his dog and visiting the ,local shop occasionally. He cuts a rather sad and morose figure by all accounts and apart from occasionally being dredged up to comment on the passing of a notable football figure (most recently Doug Ellis) he has no profile or visibility in the game any longer. I think his most high profile appearance in the public realm was a court case some years ago when he was cited in a road rage incident. Not sure of the outcome, but he had some unwelcome publicity over it once again.

    I quite liked him as a Villa Manager, some quarter of a century ago now, but it’s another stark reminder of how it’s possible to think you know someone via their public persona when, in reality, you really don’t know them at all.

  11. @WB61

    They were unnecessary becasue they had sold themselves as a leave party and leave had won. She also was supposed to get a 100 seat majority as Corbyn was on the other side of the chamber facing her.

    You could say it was hubris, but in the main I think she did what was logical, try and crush the opposition and force through her agenda and moreover until the exit poll on June 8th no many were betting against view. Hell even Labour moderates were prepared to be fighting Corbyn again.

    In truth had she tried a more consensual approach I am not sure we don’t end up where we are today with both sides say that any compromise makes no real sense. We are leaving because we voted to leave but clearly not leaving the orbit of the EU because it makes no economic sense so we are arguing about whether we want to be inside a tent with a vote or outside hoping for a say.

    I have argued that in the end for there to be a deal someones red lines had to be broken. The EU offered the UK a FTA but it was clear that the UK government did not want that and indeed you are hearing about deals with lots of plusses tacked on the end pretty much says that there is no positive option per se.

    In one sense I feel sorry for May in that she tried to do what leavers wanted and failed. Whether Boris or anyone of the true believers could have done better is questionable but they could not get past the first hurdle so I am not sure how they get past the EU.

  12. @HAL – But May wants to pass her deal, so will have an election date before the end of A50, postponing the exit date if necessary.

    No, the trick is to dissolve Parliament before the election date but have the election after March 29. That effectively removes Parliament from the Brexit process entirely.

    A succesful vote of No Confidence leaves May as PM and government in place untouched, but dissolves Commons – removing that problem at a stroke.

    Who knows, she may even opt to call a vote of No Confidence herself if Parliament doesn’t stop interfering, specifically for that purpose – to get rifd of them.

    Vote of No Confidence Late Jan/early feb. Couple of weeks messing about pretending to try and form another government. Give up, announce General Election for April 5th, put feet up and full Brexit automatically happens on March 29. The only thing that could stop that is Labour voting in support of May to stop her.

    Pure irony.

  13. @DAVWEL That wording is perfectly clear – the UK would still want some access to the single market if we voted leave. NOT no access.

    To have access to something you have to be on the outside of it.

  14. “Brexit is a con, a trick, a swindle, a fraud, a deception that will hurt most of those people it promised to help, a dangerous fantasy which will make every problem it claims to solve worse …” David Lammy in the HoC just now.

    I find it hard to disagree, but can see no way out. Opinion has shifted, but not enough. Parliament looks like an impotent, arcane circus, with both main parties trapped in their own rhetoric and paralysed by their internal divisions. Really hope I’m wrong!

  15. @ALEC If it was clear what we voted for, there would be no need to state what we voted for. The fact that you need to make such claims about this is proof that it is unclear what we voted for.

    This is the gibberish of Remain MPs and the Peoples Vote in general.

  16. @CROSSBAT11

    He picked three very gifted black player because actually they were bloody good players and nothing more. The won their places because they were very much better many other around them.

    We seem to forget that in many cases that black athletes were praised in one sentence and degraded in the next. I remember talking to someone who met jesse Owens and pointed out he was the hallmark against n4zism but then could sit at the front of the bus. it was ironic.

    As a black man that was growing up and playing football during that era Atkinson was known as a r4cist and it was the sort of casual r4cism that was displayed. I know people who defend him because in the end those three players were the catalyst for a generation but we often forget how good those three players were.

  17. @ PTRP – Try rereading my reply. I’ll expand on it though as 2mins spare.

    Pre and Post Brexit are very different. With May having no majority for anything then strange allegiances will be needed “pre” that disappear “post” Brexit.

    1/ Remainiac: Blairites+K.Clark etc
    2/ New Ref: Blairites+Soubs etc
    3/ Clean Brexit: Hoey+Smogg etc
    4/ Norway+: Boles+S.Kinnock etc

    Some folks might be in more than one camp (lot of Blairites in 1, 2 and 4 that could move to a second choice if their first preference falls but all first prefs are currently been kept “alive” in the camps of their followers and according to each camp their own “vision” is becoming more popular of course and that will make it harder for them to “give up” and back a different camp)

    Corbyn and May also in their own little camps.

    5/ Corbyn Cake Deal
    6/ May Cr4p Deal

    “Blindfold” aside not much difference between how 5 and 6 would end up come 2022ish IMHO but the partisan issue will prevent many MPs backing the camp of the leader of the “enemy” party.

    Who “wins” before 29Mar19 is TBA.

    There is no majority for any scenario but #3 is the “default” and as I’ve been saying since at least Oct’17 it would be preferable if we could work up from “No Deal” (as is happening in a small way already, too little, too late and being hampered by the Remainiacs but better than nothing and I’m more interested in the “blinking” from EU side now)

    Plenty of polling shows no majority in public either (see BBC link to Prof Curtice poll summary I posted y’day)

    As I said, I’d be pretty happy with the “best of both” from LAB Leave (Corbynite) and CON Leave (Moggite). 60% Corbynite + 40% Moggite perhaps? I certainly don’t want a UFT WTO and some race to the bottom on “rights” (and for sure no majority in HoC for that in post Brexit legislation). In HoC it will only need a few LAB Leave but toning down the full Moggite version and keeping May for now will make it more palatable to most CON MPs (certainly in preference to a snap GE!)

    I respect others want some kind of Blairite, CON Ne0-libs and LDEM “coalition” to “win” in the coming weeks. That Motley crew will probably block everything and make life difficult for May but good luck with them actually agreeing anything in the time left.

    If you block everything then you are effectively enabling the default… by default! Come 11:01pm on 29Mar’19 maybe they’ll have realised that?

  18. HAL – But May wants to pass her deal, so will have an election date before the end of A50, postponing the exit date if necessary.

    ADW – No, the trick is to dissolve Parliament before the election date but have the election after March 29. That effectively removes Parliament from the Brexit process entirely.

    You’re talking about different things I think. Wat HAL responded to was my speculating that if she wanted to leave without a deal (which I don’t believe btw) then she makes sure there’s no new parliament before March 29. As you say, that removes Parliament from the Brexit process entirely. But it means she can’t have her deal. Because as the law stands she can’t ratify the deal without authorising legislation.

  19. There’s a tweet from Tom Newton Dunn (Sun):

    Blimey. PM will lose meaningful vote on Tuesday by a majority of 228, research by @BBCPolitics finds. Number of MPs opposing up by 19 since the delay last month. For: 206, Against: 433.

  20. He also reports that the recently elevated (Sir) Edward Leigh might have been bought off – er, I mean has now reconsidered and may well support the deal.

  21. in the scenario of a general election before 31st March are we going to see Electoral Pacts with Lib Dems not opposing candidates who support “Peoples Vote”

  22. @NICKP

    I found it interesting going through the US Civil War the fact that we seem to sometimes forget that Lincoln was in favour of a compromise. He agreed that states that had slavery could keep it but no new state that joined the union would be allowed to have slaves.

    It is interesting what would have happened if that compromise had happened. Would it have squashed the idea of a civil war? It would have certainly delayed the end of slavery. It was to my mind the sort of compromise that opens more problems than it solves (Well especially for but not exclusively for slaves and ex slaves)

    Lincoln compromise didn’t happen. Brexit has the same shape in my view. May’s compromise is illogical and opens up a can of worms. We would out with loads of opt ins but with less influence. Our problem is compounded by the Irish question which in many ways show the problem that the UK has.

    We want subsidiarity but not really….we want control but actually only at the executive level and only when it suits us. Brexit brings out the inconsistencies that we have as a nation and the gridlock we have I fear will not end whether we leave or remain since we have not really solved the problem that caused people to be so divided.

    May deal is Lincoln compromise, it is why it is not going to fly. Those that want to leave believe it is not really leaving and those that want to remain say it is not really remaining. It is nothing situation we are trying to do the quantum physics thing having two positions at once but as everyone knows as soon as you do the observation it situation has to resolve.

    I think the reality there is no good solution and moreover none of the solutions really solve the problems that this country has.

    To quote Trump

    #Sad

  23. @nickp

    Edward Leigh was knighted in 2013.

  24. @PATRICKBRIAN

    I remember an occasion when things were very hairy,my uncle was in the Army and I remember when someone said “l hope…..” My uncle stopped them and said if we are relying on hope then all else has failed. In all fairness there was never a plan for leaving only a hope.

    it is why we are here……

  25. hireton

    elevated to Privy Council?

  26. @MATT126
    “in the scenario of a general election before 31st March are we going to see Electoral Pacts with Lib Dems not opposing candidates who support “Peoples Vote””

    Given their precarious position in many seats, they’d better concentrate on retaining those rather than entertaining ” Kingmaker” delusions!

  27. @Passtherockplease

    Your point about those three Albion players is well made and it may well be that Atkinson’s motives in selecting them were more pragmatic than noble. They were some of the most gifted English footballers of their generation and, with hindsight, may well have played despite of Atkinson rather than because of him. At the time though, Atkinson appeared innovative, even perhaps a little courageous, although the culture was markedly different back then. I remember watching a game at the Hawthorns in those days and hearing racist chanting and seeing a banana skin thrown at Regis. Atkinson seemed one of the decent guys back then. Latter events contained a horrible and perverse irony.

    Back to Brexit. The Newton Dunn analysis of the current state of play with the arithmetic in the Commons vis-a-vis the likely numbers supporting and opposing May’s deal does seem, on the surface, a little extraordinary and unlikely. The lamentable Laura Kuennsberg, batting bravely for Theresa as ever, suggested on the BBC News tonight that the numbers might be starting to melt May’s way, with the prospect of last minute tweaks to the deal eventually getting it over the line opn Tuesday.

    Just wishful thinking from the blessed Laura and Newton-Dunn is right? Or rubbish journalism from them both?

    I’ll go for the latter, I think.

    :-)

  28. Alec,
    “The second implication is, in many ways, far greater than Brexit. In effect, in a delightful demonstration of how the UK constitution works, we have just witnessed a very substantial constitutional change.

    Up to now, business motions in Parliament could not be amended, which is one of the mechanisms of procedural management that gave great power to the executive.

    Speaker Bercow has knowingly overturned this convention. This is deeply controversial, ”

    I am not sure, really, how ground breaking this is. My hazy understanding of the UK’s non-constitution is that we make up the rules as we go along, and parliament can conduct its business any way it pleases. The speaker is empowered by MPs to act on their behalf and in their interest, not that of the government, Historically, speakers have had the uncomfortable task of defying the ministers of the crown, and it is only recently we have forgotten this.

    We have forgotten it because almost always the majority in the commons is commanded by the government, so no confict of interest ever arises between the government and commons majority.

    The special circumstance now is the commons majority may well oppose the government with regard to brexit. It seems to me the speaker acted entirely in accord with his historic job description of defying the government when the commons requires. That he allowed a motion which then obtained a majority validated his decision.

    He did, of course, indicate thereby that he would be willing to do so again while these conditions continue.

    I presume that this outcome had been anticipated by some who therefore launched recent attempts to remove him from post.

  29. Trigguy:

    Thanks for explaining your insight in deciding when the message-board would freeze.

    I had wondered about us reaching a ceiling on length, but decided the number of over-long posts here had actually fallen, thanks to some complaints directed at the main culprits.

    I ought to have thought about a maximum time in days, especially as my work e-mail has an annoying system of needing to confirm identity every 14 days.

    This has regularly failed, due either to my computer or more likely my landline telephone not picking up my presses of #. So now the work technical team has put my response onto the wife`s i-phone – if she is out and doesn`t hear the call, I lose my e-mail temporarily.

    And the 14 days aren`t exact, sometimes 13 days 10 hours, sometimes as long as 14 days 10 hours. Maybe UKPR has a similarly variable maximum time.

  30. Peterw,
    “The HoC was always able to pass a motion expressing this view. It can now do so three days rather than 21 days after Tuesday. But is still doesn’t “enforce” anything. As the Speaker himself said in answer to another point of order today “only statute can overrule statute”.”

    An interesting question occurred to me in the interregnum, and I would be interested if any of the more legally knowledgeable posters might have a view.

    The act for leaving the EU has a defined date for leaving, but it also contains provisions to change that date by statutory instrument, if the date under article 50 changes. No primary legislation is needed for this, only a minister willing to bring the measures forward.

    I dont really see any problem with the leaving act remaining in force indefinitely, provided the date of leaving is changed to some phrasing to explicitly accord with the article 50 date automatically. The act would then simply become an annexe to the EU joining act, dealing more clearly with what would happen in the event of article 50 being invoked. A missing piece which arguably should always have existed.

    So no legislation is required to halt Brexit. The pm withdraws article 50. A minister amends the leaving bill date definition to ‘such time as determined by artice 50’.

    I gather there are other measures in process which might need to be halted, but this could even be done retrospectively after non-Brexit, since there are no limits on the sovereignty of parliament. Presumably most legislation has been tied to ‘brexit day’, which would never come if its definition is changed.

  31. ADW: No, the trick is to dissolve Parliament before the election date but have the election after March 29. That effectively removes Parliament from the Brexit process entirely.

    A succesful vote of No Confidence leaves May as PM and government in place untouched, but dissolves Commons – removing that problem at a stroke.

    Let’s try a cognitive approach – what do you think the broader consequences of that might be?

  32. just watched John Snow’s Brexit Inbetweeners piece on C4. A large panel of voters who were too young to vote in the referendum. It didn’t go as he’d planned at all.

    I think it was in Leeds, but this room full of youngsters was slightly more pro Brexit than remain and many even thought the argument he’d put to mr Corbyn earlier in the day about them not having had a say was absurd. Some even backed may’s deal!
    Poor old John was lost.

  33. Regis and Cunningham teaming up in Atkinson’s West Brom to beat Man Utd 5-3 in 78/79. Some nice link ups, including a cute backheel from Regis. Those were the days.

    https://youtu.be/bdqre2b3inQ

  34. CB11; given that only 200 MPs voted for May in the confidence vote, I dont find Newton Dunn’s numbers all that strange. Still it seems that there might bw some drift towards her.

    I’ll say 233 votes for.

  35. CB11 @ PTRP

    Interesting thoughts on Atkinson who was shown in his true colours with his disgusting verbal comments about Desailly.

    I too had been impressed by his selection of three black players back in the day. However his subsequent utterances all those years later showed him for what he really was. Utterly offensive and scarcely believable from someone who worked with three excellent players. He would have seen and heard the abuse they would have had to put up with and yet could then refer to Desailly in such an abhorrent manner. Inexcusable and I’m glad we no longer have to listen to his feeble punditry.

    Just one final point. Two of those players have passed away well before they reached old age. What football fan wouldn’t have wanted Regis as their centre forward. Brave, hard working, powerful, a great header of the ball, good looking and charismatic. Such a shame both he and the highly talented Cunningham didn’t live into old age.

  36. CB11 (7:56 pm)
    “…with the prospect of last minute tweaks to the deal eventually getting it over the line on Tuesday.”

    Surely any last minute tweaks mean nothing, because the EU have said that it is the only deal on offer. If it’s amended it won’t be the deal that the EU will accept.

  37. PTRP – Thanks some good links there.

  38. DAVID COLBY

    just watched John Snow’s Brexit Inbetweeners piece on C4. A large panel of voters who were too young to vote in the referendum. It didn’t go as he’d planned at all.

    It’s not really a surprise. It’s a very difficult group to get a balanced sample from at the best of times and exactly the wrong time of year to recruit it, because of students moving between home and study. All polling suggests that the 18-24 group is the most pro-EU[1] and if the studio audience was very different, it’s more likely to be unrepresentative – as they often are[2].

    It’s actually also pretty irrelevant because the real change to opinion on Brexit comes not from those who have changed their mind, or even from those who couldn’t vote, but from those who didn’t[3], especially those who did vote in 2017. Calculating from the latest YouGov PVXM[4], only about 1050 in their 25,537 sample have switched from Leave to Remain and these are countered by about 700 going the other way, giving a nett gain of only 350. But among those who didn’t vote last time it’s 42% to 18% and a nett gain of around 1300.

    [1] One of the many irritations with the People’s Vote Xmas Megapoll is that there are no age cross-tabs on the YouGov website. However if you download the Excel tables, someone linked to a few pages back, a subsample of 2365 18-24 year-olds was 80% for Remain (59% – 15% before DKs etc) as opposed to 59% for the general population.

    [2] You also need to be careful about whether the impression you got from the programme matches the reality of how all that audience actually felt or whether the view is distorted by its noisier members. There is some polling evidence that those most vociferous in support of Brexit are not just unrepresentative of the country as a whole, but even of those who do or did support it.
    One paradox, rarely pointed out, is that Remainers are much more definite in the reasons for their opposition. For example they are more likely to say that Brexit will cause economic harm, while Leavers don’t think Brexit will improve things to the same extent – they just think things will stay the same.

    [3] To some extent this may have been encouraged by media coverage of polling. According to Ashcroft:
    Seven voters in ten expected a victory for remain, including a majority (54%) of those who voted to leave. Leave voters who voted UKIP at the 2015 election were the only group who (by just 52% to 48%) expected a leave victory.
    Presumably those Remain supporters who didn’t vote would be even more complacent.

    [4] These are in the pdf here: https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/2mr3i1mf6m/PeoplesVoteResults_190104_LargePoll_w.pdf#page=4
    because YouGov only ever give percentages (and don’t give EURef non-voters a separate column) all figures are approximate, but give some idea of scale.

  39. Roger on your last point isn’t there quite a lot of evidence (posted on here before) suggesting that people are more likely to turn out to vote if they think they’re backing a winner?

  40. Roger Mexico,
    “One paradox, rarely pointed out, is that Remainers are much more definite in the reasons for their opposition. For example they are more likely to say that Brexit will cause economic harm, while Leavers don’t think Brexit will improve things to the same extent – they just think things will stay the same.”

    I dont think that is a paradox. It simply says they are not supporting brexit for reasons of financial gain. Rather, remainers are opposing brexit because they fear a financial loss.

    I see it that EU membership imposes restrictions on the UK. It does. Mileage will vary on whether people think these are onerous or not, but just in general people like not to have restrictions on them. So, if it costs nothing to leave, as you say ‘they just think things will stay the same’, then there is no reason not to leave.

    But also, if their motivation for supporting brexit has little to do with the EU but instead is to give the establishment a bloody nose, as some have suggested, then there is no reason not to if leaving will cause no harm anyway.

    Which brings me to another recent poll, dont reacall which, which said half of both labour and conservative supporters dont agree with their party policies. It has to be about voting AGAINST the opposite party. So if 50% of people who bother to vote are actually voting against something they actively dislike, what would they not vote for brexit when it is clear most of the politicians they oppose want to stay in? Revenge against the tory party is to vote for brexit and force them to do something they dont want to do.

    Since they dont believe Brexit will have a cost, why not have some fun at the politicians expense? It has certainly worked to discredit those politicians.

    ED G,
    ” isn’t there quite a lot of evidence (posted on here before) suggesting that people are more likely to turn out to vote if they think they’re backing a winner?”

    I dont recall reading that recently? I think one trend is for people not to bother voting if they think their side will win anyway. A different trend is a ‘bandwagon’ effect, where people feel they can now support something which they couldnt before because others are too. The supposed ‘shy tories’. Or it is ‘ok’ to say you want foreigners deported because the home secretary is doing just that to windrush immigrants.

  41. Roger Mexico (polling point!),

    I saw the yougov big survey while we were all barred. I thought, I see our hosts have been busy elsewhere.

    Having read it through I thought, a politician currently pushing leave must cringe to read it. I think it was 2:1 preferring remain to the government’s leaving deal?

    I dont think this outcome is surprising. I persist in arguing that everything the government does is consistent with a group which respects the result of the referendum, but will do everything it possibly can to prevent leaving. Respects it like a ticking bomb. In the last couple of days the government was criticised for not reaching out to labour to get a consensus brexit. Well duh! If you did that, then brexit might happen!

    Relating to the last post about a leave belief that leaving would make no difference, this survey said 73% think brexit will fundamentally impact everyone’s lives, 71% think we will not get a good deal, 60% think that would be the fault of the government, 86% think Brexit so far has been a mess.

    There are numbers in the range 30-50% thinking the economy will be worse, NHS worse, standard of living worse. Which would seem to still allow room for the other half of the population to believe things will improve or stay the same, which was the situation before and allows people to still support Brexit.

    The elephant in the room for the conservatives is exactly those figures, that leave voters believe brexit will cause them no harm. If brexit could be executed without causing harm, then the obvious course for the conservatives is to do so and win the gratitude of their supporters. But if conservative MPs do not think it is possible to have a harm free brexit, then carrying it out will create an electoral disaster for them.

    Already voters are arguing the tories have acted incompetently in negotiations. So we could end up with leaving the EU, economic misery as a result and the tory party blamed for causing this through its incompetent handling. Not placing the blame on leaving the EU which would be the true cause, but still having voters supporting brexit so there can not be a political solution to reverse the damage, but simply a demand upon tories to make something unworkable work, because this is what they promised could be done.

    As before, the survey indicates labour is losing remain voter support. I still think this is easily fixed by announcing a clear remain policy, so it isnt an electoral disaster but a reserve of strength they could tap if there was an actual election. I agree with others that their strategy is they must support remain if forced, but to avoid offending leavers for as long as possible. Although I think this is also the strategy of the tory party.

    However, I think as a strategy, neutrality is wearing thin for labour and it must be arguable that already it is costing more than it is gaining them. But, maybe better to err on the safe side of inactivity for as long as possible and let the government continue to be seen to fail all by itself. But labour cannot allow eg hard brexit by default if it hopes to keep remainers on side. So they must make a choice before brexit day actually happens. It could still be deferred by agreement with the EU, but I doubt this could be as far as 2020.

  42. Danny I thought it had been posted on here, but quite possibly elsewhere – I’ll see if I can find it as it made interesting reading.
    If you consider your statement that people are unlikely to turn out if they think their side will win easily then you can apply the opposite to the other – i.e people are unlikely to both voting if they think they’ll lose anyway. However the difference is that voting with the winner provides people with validation that they’re ‘right’ and is therefore a positive experience (and vice versa). As people generally seek out positive experiences over negative this gets you back to people turning out to back the winner.

  43. @ED G

    In general I think that not turning out because we are going to lose, only applies in the case of certain defeat. Not turning out because we will win anyway likewise.
    The backing a winner thing usually happens in retrospect, when people claim to have backed the winner, even though they didn’t vote at all or voted the other way.

  44. Are we going to get any more recent polling data? This is now all so “last year”……

  45. Andrew Lillico, one of the “leading” “economists ” behind Brexit, seems to be having a bit of a meltdown as reality impinges on his life:

    https://twitter.com/andrew_lilico/status/1083390591789080576?s=19

  46. With Rudd this morning,. we now have three senior ministers stating or effectively accepting that they would resign rather than pursue no deal. Hammond will now be the key figure, but it is very hard to conceive of him staying in post to actively pursue a no deal.

    If the recent analysis of likely voting patterns is correct, then it looks like May’s strategy of frightening MPs into supporting her deal has now failed. She was _never_ going to appease the hard Brexiters, who would be happy with no deal anyway, so had nothing to lose.

    The greater reason why her strategy appears to have failed is that remain and soft Brexit MPs have examined the government and concluded that they are bluffing.

    In terms of the strategic battleground, the Grieve amendment was rather brilliantly conceived. Forcing a new plan within 3 days of a defeat removed May’s key weapon, which was the ticking clock. Once her plan is defeated, she can’t hold a government together under a threatened no deal – at this point the government ceases to function, as I doubt she has enough MPs to form a government who would support a no deal option.

    Add to this the external pressure once a no deal become formal government policy and we can see why Grieve and others wanted to bring this moment forward.

  47. ROGER MÉXICO
    “It’s not really a surprise.”

    Actually it was a surprise. John Snow was gobsmacked. He’d set the whole show up to make the point that young people were furious that they hadn’t had a say, and all wanted to remain (which, as you point out the polls confirm). He built it around his earlier question to Jeremy Corbin but the audience wouldn’t play ball.
    My comment was more ‘when TV goes wrong’ than a polling comment. I do appreciate how seriously some posters here take this whole matter though.

    Incidentally, both the remainers and the leavers were respectful and neither side was noticeably louder.

  48. Stephen Bush in NS:

    “…at least three cabinet ministers have instructed their local parties to prepare for an early election, with one telling their association that the contest will happen in February.”

  49. @ PTRP – Either you misread my post or are missing the point made. I’ll clarify.

    “Pre” Brexit then LAB Leave and CON Leave MPs have a lot in common:

    1/ They both h8te May’s deal
    2/ They would prefer No Deal no her deal (preferably with increase in the “managed” aspect)
    3/ They don’t want a new ref
    etc.

    “Post” Brexit then sure they disagree on many aspects but as you are so fond of saying, few of these have anything to do with Brexit.

    If we take something like State Aid though then I’m closer to Corbyn but I draw the line at renationalising everything. Hence although much of the Corbyn Leave plan is appealing then net I’d still prefer CON to deliver No Deal but as I’ve said many times the current lot are far too ne0-liberal for me – May, Hammond, G.Clark, etc want a Brexit for the few (CEOs of major companies, few of which are even UK owned!) where as I’d like a Brexit for the many (UK workers). “Best of Both” would probably be 60% LAB Leave and 40% CON Leave so happy to again agree that I’m more Corbynite than Moggite.

    Could a Javid+Raab team convince enough LAB MPs to back them if they offered increase in targetted state and regional aid to protect/create UK jobs in a No Deal scenario? Enough to offset the 20ish CON anti No Deal MPs?
    (The default Brexit is still in play but I’d like an HMG willing to use the control it has taken back! If a dozen or so LAB MPs want “kingmaker” roles that put their constituents and the country ahead of the Blair!te LAB mob then fine by me)

    The LoC case (Lexiteers) is IMHO stronger than the RoC case – EU is a more a capitalist club (as Corbyn sees it) than the RoC view of being EUSR (although it does seem to have the “worst” of both on a 60/40ish split – IMHO!)

    The opposing faction of LAB Remain + LDEM + SNP/PC/Green + a few CON Remain are more fragmented IMHO (new ref being a long way from a majority view, Norway+ even lower appeal).

    Agreeing a Motley crew that can make life difficult for May is very different to agreeing on something other than the default (ie would they agree to repeal EU Withdrawal Act and replace it with revoke/extend and an HMG that will write the relevant bills/letters to enact any agreed x-party plan? Theoretically possible but unlikely IMHO).

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