There have been several new polls with voting intention figures since the weekend, though all so far have been conducted before the government’s defeat on their Brexit plan.

ComRes/Express (14th-15th) – CON 37%(nc), LAB 39%(nc), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 7%(+1)
YouGov/Times (13th-14th)- CON 39%(-2), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 11%(nc), UKIP 6%(+2)
Kantar (10th-14th) – CON 35%(-3), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 6%(+2)

Looking across the polls as a whole Conservative support appears to be dropping a little, though polls are still ultimately showing Labour and Conservative very close together in terms of voting intention. As ever there are some differences between companies – YouGov are still showing a small but consistent Tory lead, the most recent polls from BMG, Opinium and MORI had a tie (though Opinium and MORI haven’t released any 2019 polls yet), Kantar, ComRes and Suration all showed a small Labour lead in their most last polls.

Several people have asked me about the reasons for the difference between polling companies figures. There isn’t an easy answer – there rarely is. The reality is that all polling companies want to be right and want to be accurate, so if there were easy explanations for the differences and it was easy to know what the right choices were, they would all rapidly come into line!

There are two real elements that are responsible for house effects between pollsters. The first is the things they do to the voting intention data after it is collected and weighted – primarily that is how do they account for turnout (to what extent do they weight down or filter out people who are unlikely to vote), and what to do they with people who say they don’t know how they’ll vote (do they ignore them, or use squeeze questions or inference to try and estimate how they might end up voting). The good thing about these sort of differences is that they are easily quantifiable – you can look up the polling tables, compare the figures with turnout weighting and without, and see exactly the impact they have.

At the time of the 2017 election these adjustments were responsible for a lot of the difference between polling companies. Some polls were using turnout models that really transformed their topline figures. However, those sort of models also largely turned out to be wrong in 2017, so polling companies are now using much lighter touch turnout models, and little in the way of reallocating don’t knows. There are a few unusual cases (for example, I think ComRes still reallocate don’t knows, which helps Labour at present, but most companies do not. BMG no longer do any weighting or filtering by likelihood to vote, an adjustment which for other companies tends to reduce Labour support by a point or two). These small differences are not, by themselves, enough to explain the differences between polls.

The other big differences between polls are their samples and the weights and quotas they use to make them representative. It is far, far more difficult to quantify the impact of these differences (indeed, without access to raw samples it’s pretty much impossible). Under BPC rules polling companies are supposed to be transparent about what they weight their samples by and to what targets, so we can tell what the differences are, but we can’t with any confidence tell what the impact is.

I believe all the polling companies weight by age, gender and region. Every company except for Ipsos MORI also votes by how people voted at the last election. After that polling companies differ – most vote by EU Ref vote, some companies weight by education (YouGov, Kantar, Survation), some by social class (YouGov, ComRes), income (BMG, Survation), working status (Kantar), level of interest in politics (YouGov), newspaper readership (Ipsos MORI) and so on.

Even if polling companies weight by the same variables, there can be differences. For example, while almost everyone weights by how people voted at the last election, there are differences in the proportion of non-voters they weight to. It makes a difference whether targets are interlocked or not. Companies may use different bands for things like age, education or income weighting. On top of all this, there are questions about when the weighting data is collected, for things like past general election vote and past referendum vote there is a well-known phenomenon of “false recall”, where people do not accurately report how they voted in an election a few years back. Hence weighting by past vote data collected at the time of the election when it was fresh in people’s minds can be very different to weighting by past vote data collected now, at the time of the survey when people may be less accurate.

Given there isn’t presently a huge impact from different approaches to turnout or don’t knows, the difference between polling companies is likely to be down some of these factors which are – fairly evidently – extremely difficult to quantify. All you can really conclude is that the difference is probably down to the different sampling and weighting of the different companies, and that, short of a general election, there is no easy way for either observers (nor pollsters themselves!) to be sure what the right answer is. All I would advise is to avoid the temptation of (a) assuming that the polls you want to be true are correct… that’s just wishful thinking, or (b) assuming that the majority are right. There are plenty of instances (ICM in 1997, or Survation and the YouGov MRP model in 2017), when the odd one out turned out to be the one that was right.


1,834 Responses to “Latest voting intention and the mystery of house effects”

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  1. Sam

    Thanks for that contribution.

    It’s one of the best things about UKPR that there are frequently folk who can link to analysis that helps those, who wish to understand matters outwith their normal parameters, to comprehend the wider political environment.

    Can you provide the link that you forgot to include, please?

  2. Greetings from a hot and steamy Natal, Brazil, where caiparinhas in a beach bar cost just 6.5 reals (about £1.40). Happy days!

    It’s interesting to observe Brexit from this distance. A no Brexit / no deal referendum remains the obvious solution, but it all looks a bit storm in a teacup from here. (This is just by way of explaining my absence: normal service will be resumed in 8 weeks!)¾

  3. @Andrew Myers

    I agree with you about Keir Starmer; the adult in the room that is Labour’s Shadow Cabinet.

    While I don’t necessarily trust anything that comes out of a Murdoch paper, this story could be bad for Labour’s GE chances.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/150-000-members-desert-labour-in-brexit-backlash-nvt8fgwfs?shareToken=da75ee62f159eddeb61d1a02ed2a978d

    Do any of the Labour members on here have opinions on its accuracy?

  4. Colin getting the 148 on board may ease some of the 191 away of course, although the 37 for soft Brexit may support.

    Key number for me Tory Policy + Hard Brexit = 307 which is short, ant majority has to be sifter than May’s deal which has been clear for a long long time.

  5. JIM JAM

    It certainly looks like 191+148 + 37 allows some leeway, whereas 191 +116 doesn’t.

    But the first of those probably destroys the last vestiges of unity in her Party. I have even seen suggestions that ERG would support VONC2 to stop it.

    Its all; a mess & I don’t know how she can get out of it.

    When you contemplate the probability we have discussed that Lab could really support the WA with some tweaking of the PD it is all very depressing.

  6. @LeftieLiberal

    As a centrist Leaver, I don’t share your views on Starmer. His emollient and guarded words do not disguise the fact that he is undoubtedly a “full remainer” by political instinct. Under pressure on the subject, he looks decidedly shifty.

    The Labour Party might be shedding a lot of idealistic members, but they will alienate a lot more actual voters if they betray the Brexit vote.

  7. Colin

    “I don’t know how she can get out of it”

    Well, they’ve tried the “Royal Baby” trick, and that didn’t work.

    Maybe the new scheme of having Brenda and hubby driving near Sandringham without seatbelts will be better.

    National mourning might be a more successful strategy.

  8. JiB

    What is a “centrist Leaver”? I’ve never heard that term before.

  9. @leftieliberal

    I gave you a long answer which was lost in the ether, so I will try again more succinctly.

    Basically opinion has hardened since the referendum. Initially Labour members would have accepted a soft Leave, but May’s refusal to talk to anyone but the headbangers, has changed the situation. Now any compromise with leaving will lead to members deserting in droves. What Labour can do is support a referendum on a soft Leave. A “free vote” would be accepted as on the original referendum. A vote to leave in such a referendum (likely in my view) would be accepted, but all enthusiasm would dissipate. A vote to remain would charge up the membership.

  10. @Oldnat

    Centrist as in politics outside of tiresome Brexit.

    I have explained my views on Brexit previously. As you know I support the Norway option as a sensible point to reach a consensus.

  11. [email protected]: Centrist as in politics outside of tiresome Brexit.

    Politics outside of brexit? We have all been set adrift on the Flying Dutchman.

  12. So to elaborate Labour will support remaining in the Customs Union so long as it is put to referendum. This will hold the party together, regardless of the result of such a referendum. However a popular decision to leave will lead to a loss of membership in disillusion rather than outrage, and diminished chances of Labour winning the next election whenever that should be. A popular decision to remain on the other hand, while it might intensify divisions in the country, would lead to carnage in the Conservative Party, and huge enthusiasm amongst Labour members.

    It is Labour after all that actually wants to do something about deindustrialisation, centralisation, poverty, and public services, so they have a good story to tell those whose anti-EU vote is based on general dissatisfaction with their lot.

  13. @BANTAMS

    A brief on the Comres poll below, key to me is 54% would vote remain in a referendum yet only 33% want to remain in the EU. Explain that!

    Ask the same people about Iraq, you will get the same sort of answer. People are trying to have it both ways. They don’t want to admit they are wrong seeing what is now going on.

    The problem is that everyone knows this basically set the UK trajectory for a generation. Would the EU want the UK back considering the fact that the Uk treated it a a transactional arrangement alone. I suspect not. I believe that the arguments that have been made by leave such as they are contradictory and the electorate having narrowly made a decision that now looking at it looks and feels wrong, after at the time of the vote looking and feeling right.

    I cannot see a path to a deal. I cannot see a path that makes no deal work and I can see the electorate unconfusing themselves because it would require people to say my tribe is wrong.

    I have come to the conclusion like Iraq we have to do the deed and fail and then deal with the consequences of that failure. Will we end up in a better place? No but we can point to that as a learning event as how not to do stuff.

    What is most scary is that if you look at the vietnam war, the parallel with the invasion of Iraq are rather scary, we never learn from history, we use history to show how stupid we can be.

    https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2015/06/03/remembering-iraq

  14. So the readout from tonight’s Cabinet conference call is that May’s cunning plan is to do something about the backstop but she has no proposal as to what.

  15. Anecdote from another country
    Was out door-knocking on the streets of London today for the first time for several months. A somewhat Toryish and Brexitish street in a Labourish and Remainy area.
    An unprecedented number of ‘don’t knows’ from all sides – previously Tories, Labour, LD.
    Quite striking, and unusually I felt most of the DKs were HACs (haven’t a clue) rather than NYLFASs (Not your lot for a start)
    How would this play out in an election? I HAC

  16. @HIRETON

    This is the definition of madness: do the smae thing over and over again hoping for a different result

    @COLIN

    How could she eye the peoples vote, she has already ruled that out since upto half her support wants no deal, over half do not want another referendum. it is more likely that Labour and Peoples vote have more in common.

    She can eye what she wants but in truth she had laid the path to this point long ago, her base is set. I do not see anything changing

  17. As I see it, if these numbers are in the right ball park Leave gets its way but Grieve realises it and is trying to subvert democracy to suit himself. I’m a remainer but I want no part of this charade.

  18. @danny

    Jim Jam,
    “It is clear that the policy at the next GE (if soon) would be to work for a better deal and not rule out a second ref on this deal v remain.”
    It isnt clear to me that would be enough to keep remainers on board. There has been so much can kicking one hardly dare say it, but just a few weeks difference in timing might make a huge difference in what is an acceptible policy for remainers.
    Starmer will stick to the current party position right up to the moment it is changed. By your logic, he rather has to, but that doesnt say much about what the position could be after an adventurous week in parliament.

    If those figures we have been given for MPs preferences are correct, the People’s vote have to ally with May (fat chance) or Labour plus soft Brexit. Assuming that people’s vote is really remain in sheep’s clothing or perhaps wearing a fig leaf. it has to risk losing (e.g. to Norway) in order to have a chance of winning. (JIB should actually agree with that as he wants Norway, so he should stop banging on about a people’s vote being undemocratic he may need them)

  19. Chares – those figures are before Labour move to a peoples vote as most of us expect they will have to at some point, although some will peel away at that point they wont be too many if all other options have genuinely been tried to no avail.

    I would expect a few more Tories to back than are at present and some of the soft Brexit Lab reluctantly back also getting close to 322.

    Very tight. though.

  20. LEFTIELIBERAL

    While I don’t necessarily trust anything that comes out of a Murdoch paper, this story could be bad for Labour’s GE chances.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/150-000-members-desert-labour-in-brexit-backlash-nvt8fgwfs?shareToken=da75ee62f159eddeb61d1a02ed2a978d

    Do any of the Labour members on here have opinions on its accuracy?

    I’m not a member, but it looks like complete nonsense to me. The politest thing to say is that’s it’s wishful thinking. It’s also been denied by the Party:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6611965/Labour-membership-plunges-150-000-amid-backlash-Corbyns-handling-Brexit.html

    and the only source seems to be the usual anonymous “A Labour source” who gives the usual anti-Corbyn spiel.

    It’s not even plausible because even when political Parties are unpopular, they don’t lose members that fast – people join for all sorts of reasons and tend to stay in because of inertia. To go from 540,000 last April to an alleged 385,000 in eight months would mean 45% of members were failing to renew consistently across that period. Political Parties leak so much that we would have heard about this before. I’d expect some drop off because of people who joined during or after the June 2017 election (always a peak time for recruitment) not renewing – though not much of such a fall-off happened after the leadership contests.

    The only significance of the story is that the Sunday Times are prepared to trot out such an unbelievable story and not expect to get mocked for it. But such is the irrational hatred for Corbyn in all the media that any old rubbish about him can be produced and the rest of them will play along with it.

  21. My CLP has seem a drop from around 800 to 750ish which is not dissimilar to falls after previous GEs.

  22. @Colin

    “But the first of those probably destroys the last vestiges of unity in her Party”

    Did you hear that interview with Matthew Parris on the radio today? I know from reading your posts over the years that you’re quite an admirer of his political commentary and journalism and I think what he had to say about the future of the Tory Party would be of some considerable interest to you. After years of agonising about it, he’d become reconciled to the view that it would be a good thing if the Conservative Party actually split and that the English Nationalist wing of the party, as he described it, formed a party of their own. He expanded on his thoughts in an article in the Times yesterday: –

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tories-need-to-show-their-right-wing-the-exit-r607bt6f0

    I haven’t read the Times article in full because it’s behind a paywall, but I did listen to Parris being interviewed on Radio 4 at lunchtime today and he’s come to the same conclusion that I have done about the inevitable splintering of the British Right, a process some 40 years in gestation and now approaching its denouement as we come into the final stages of Brexit.

    Parris’s argument is that it has now become a nonsense for the Conservative Party to be a repository of all right wing sentiment in the country, ranging from liberal one-nation Toryism to quite extreme forms of English nationalism. Our electoral system has encouraged this ridiculous breadth of views to be housed in one political party, but the big tent is collapsing now. UKIP has occasionally taken up some of the slack on the Right, but one of Cameron’s many unintended consequences of neutralising them electorally in 2017 was to invite these troublesome politicians and voters back into the Tory big church. The 42% who voted Tory in 2017 just about sucked up every potential right wing vote in the country and reconstructed the monstrosity Parris now desperately wants to escape. The British Left has similar pressures too, and Labour may also accommodate too wide a range of left wing views, but the Lib Dems and Greens have always eased the pressure on the party, splitting the centre left vote but giving left wing voters a range of voting options.

    Of course, what binds people like Raab and Soubry together is the knowledge that if a political party splits in our electoral system it hands an insurmountable systemic advantage to its main opponents. This knowledge binds Hilary Benn and John McDonnell too, but all it really does is further perpetuate the existence of two leviathan political parties embracing a ludicrous range of political views. A PR based electoral system liberates everyone from this silliness. A sort of mutually assured destruction preserves FPTP, but that’s no defence of its iniquities.

    Parris said what he said more in sorrow than anger but he felt that after the agonies of Brexit it would be impossible to put the Tory Humpty-Dumpty back together again. He actually felt that it would be a good thing if people didn’t try to either.

  23. “The Labour Party might be shedding a lot of idealistic members, but they will alienate a lot more actual voters if they betray the Brexit vote.”

    Based on what? Current polling suggests it could be as little as under 20% of current Labour voting intention would also vote leave.

  24. CB11

    There’s a very astute observation in that article by Parris

    “What your politics are depends on where you’re coming from, where you’re anchored. An anchorage in politics (or shipping, or life) does not confine you to a static position. Times change, facts change, problems change, and you can move; but it secures you and in moments of uncertainty draws you back.”

    Additionally, he notes a mechanism by which the Tory MPs/Whips could allow only compliant MPs to be re-elected as ADW suggested might happen –

    “The whip can be withdrawn from rebels, who may not then stand as Conservatives again.”

    However that would need to happen before Parliament is prorogued.

  25. Colin

    One could use this https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_set to make the calculations in that twitter. MInd, many mathematicians and engineers thinks it is flawed.

    I think Brexit is a problem of fuzzy sets, but the measure of the sets is unknown (while it is true that one cannot be a little bit pregnant, it is less clear what is dark), and hence quite useless for the purpose.

  26. @JAMESB
    “Based on what? Current polling suggests it could be as little as under 20% of current Labour voting intention would also vote leave.”

    If Labour can afford to discard 20% of its support base in order to cling on to a few ex-Liberals, then they must be doing well!

  27. “Reports of My Death are Much Exaggerated” (Twain)

    According to @ Roger in Mex & @ Jim Jam, the same seems to apply to reports of the demise of the Labour Party’s membership.

    We had another example of what is now distressingly called fake news on Question T. I never watch the show but I saw the clip in which the ghastly Isobel Oakshott claimed that Labour were 6 points behind in the polls and in this falsity was supported by Bruce.
    I have noted anti-Dimbleby comments on this site in the past, but I suspect he would not have made the egregious error Bruce did.

  28. @jim jam Thanks. Am I right in thinking that Labour won’t move precisely to a people’s vote but rather to a kind of PV + i.e we need to get the best deal we can and then test it against remain in a PV. At present on some polls May’s deal is neck and neck with remain, so this would not be out and out remain and should attract Remainers and Norway types and anyone who wants to avoid a hard Brexit at any price. They should also withdraw any threat of forcing an election if they win. This will increase the likelihood of victory, split the tories and make Labour itself look statesmanlike.

    This is what I think should happen. Is it what is likely to happen?

  29. Reports today that May will reject forming a cross Party consensus and instead will try to circumvent the EU and try to form a bilateral trade agreement with Ireland. The objective being to stop the Tories splitting.

    Now correct me if I am wrong of course, but aren’t trade deals between EU member states – which is what Ireland is – and third countries – which is what the UK will become when we’ve left – are not allowed under EU rules.

    Maybe I’m missing the point but this joke of a plan seems totally bonkers and dead in the water.

    Also, just seen a report that Ireland have said no chance.

    I really starting to worry about May’s mentail health.

  30. Charles – yes absolutely if there is a GE but of course if there is no GE Labour get to calling for a PV once other options have been exhausted.

    As above the PV Labour back will based on what might have a chance of passing; and, most likely come from a Tory back-bencher.

    If a bill passes leading to ref 2 which is final than there is no need for any VONC but Labour would call for a GE when May steps down I guess.

  31. “The objective being to stop the Tories splitting.”

    Should have also said : And remove the need for a backstop to keep the border open of course.

  32. @LAZLO
    MInd, many mathematicians and engineers thinks it is flawed

    That is not true it is used in AI for one thing, I worked on a fuzzy logic chip designed to speed up recognition. It is now often done in software but the we are actually moving to a greater use of fuzzy set/logic

    @JONESINBANGOR

    If Labour can afford to discard 20% of its support base in order to cling on to a few ex-Liberals, then they must be doing well!

    I suspect which ever way he turns he loses a set of voters I am not sure he loses more one way or the other. I suspect you are pretty blinkered in that you support leave.

    I have said several times Labours problem is that they have to win Walsall North and Bristol West to very different constituencies.

    Walsall North is Tory for the only the second time since 1955. Bristol West won from the Tories in 2017 together with the city of Bristol following many of up and growing cities moving in Labours direction

    In one sense I suspect the problem is that Bristol is as alien to the people of Walsall North and vice versa. it kind of shows how difficult the divide is. I suspect that this schism would have occured on many social issues

    Do you thin that labour Remainer would stay with labour no matter what? Do you think that labour leaver want more Tory party policies? I suspect it is more complex than as you say and even if it was one would have thought there is some symmetry in the fact that Labour would lose support if they supported your proposition of Norway (breaks one of the red line in the brexit creed)

  33. CB11

    Yes I did read Parris.

    I was chatting to a family member over the last few days-a grand daughter-20 something, London based, ( former) Corbynista.

    I told her that I have been a firm advocate of the FPTP system & the swift , brutal change it usually brings about. But recent days have reminded me that the issue of the day can expose the schisms within our two main parties.Brexit is such an issue . And if we are to have “continental style” political paralysis , we might as well have PR.
    I still though, dislike the idea that voters register a preference & then -after the Election-Parties decide on the Government after political horsetrading behind closed doors.

    Assuming we do actually leave perhaps this divide in the Tory Party will become irrelevant & disappear.
    If we Remain , however, then I think the Tory Party will split anyway.

  34. LASZLO

    Thanks. I certainly think there is some fluidity in those Election Maps Brexit set numbers.

    TM must be hoping so anyway !!

  35. @PTRP

    I accept that I am somewhat blinkered, but nonetheless, the views of Brexit are almost as wide ranging in Labour as in the Tories, bar the extreme views of the ERG Tories.

  36. The “leaks” in the Tory press as to “strategies” that May is supposed to be considering

    Bilateral treaty with RoI
    Unilateral revision of the GFA

    are so unbelievably impractical and unachievable, that I suspect that these “leaks” ARE her strategy – to demonstrate to sufficient No Dealers that there is no way to remove the backstop, so they should vote for her deal (or at least an amended deal that removes the need for it, as she cuts GB out of continued CU, that she insisted be there, dumps the DUP, and proposes an Irish Sea/North Channel customs border.

    Few English MPs give a damn about NI, and only some of the Scots Tories have Orange sympathies.

    As a number of polls have shown, English Leave voters would happily accept “losing” (as if they were the owners) NI or Scotland, if that were to attain the sunlit uplands.

  37. HULAGU

    @”Labour will support remaining in the Customs Union ”

    No its not THE CU-its A CU.

    So this is a status yet to be negotiated with EU, which will provide unfettered access to the SM without membership of SM ; and influence over external Trade Agreements despite the external trade barrier which exists around any Customs Union.

    It should be born in mind that membership of a CU with the EU does not , of itself, solve the problem of possible regulatory differences on either side of the Irish Border

  38. tonybtg: Should have also said : And remove the need for a backstop to keep the border open of course.

    I have today tumbled to the idea that when the EU say no further negotiation on the Withdrawal Agreement, they really mean it. Such a fuss has been made on the UK side about it, that I cannot see the EU letting it go, even for a different government negotiating a different deal.

    Any negotiation beyond this point is on the Political Declaration, regardless of who negotiates it or whether they might be negotiating close Single Market and Customs Union integration.

    From this point, there are just 2 routes to avoiding the backstop – either No Deal or No brexit.

  39. Colin

    “I still though, dislike the idea that voters register a preference & then -after the Election-Parties decide on the Government after political horsetrading behind closed doors.”

    That is fairly unsatisfactory, but it isn’t essential in a PR system. As in Sweden, parties can create legally binding cartels in advance – the strength of each party in the cartel influencing the final policy details of the cartel.

  40. oldnat: … her strategy – to demonstrate to sufficient No Dealers that there is no way to remove the backstop, so they should vote for her deal (or at least an amended deal that removes the need for it, as she cuts GB out of continued CU, that she insisted be there, dumps the DUP, and proposes an Irish Sea/North Channel customs border.

    Re dumping the DUP, I don’t see where else she would get enough votes from.

    Unless …. [she contrived to get rid of some opposition votes?]

  41. ALEC
    “As to your 12.43pm post, you quote Politics Home, whereas I quote the Institute for Government. … which makes plain that if the Boles/Grieve plan crosses all the relevant parliamentary hurdles, it is legally binding. ”

    I think as neither the procedural amendment nor Cooper’s bill that it is supposed to implement has been published yet (afaik) both sites are just speculating anyway.

    For the plan to be legally binding Parliament needs to legislate. The Institute for Government scheme may provide a mechanism which might enable it to do so.

    BUT the supposed wording of the procedural amendment quoted in the Buzzfeed link does not do so. It allows a motion of the House of Commons to stand as first business subject to the 3300/ 5 condition, and to be debated. It does not allow the Cooper bill, or other legislation, to do so.

    And if that’s correct, then that isn’t binding in law. And this government has a track record of ignoring such things. Although I take HIRETON’s point that it might be hard politically to do so this time.

    If Buzzfeed has the wording right, I think the current proposed procedural amendment is about getting the Commons the time to express a view. Not (yet) to initiate legislation. The Government might not wish it to. It might struggle to ignore it. But it won’t be legally bound by it.

  42. CB11
    Your post about what Paris said was interesting. It was also plausible until I remembered that apparently most Conservative branches are strongly for Leave. Assuming a split happened, could the soft-right side of the split rebuild a national organisation? In Parliament it might not be so much of a problem because there could be a relationship between the two wings similar to that between the Tories and DUP now (provided they didn’t stand against each other). It could be similar to the relationship between Labour and Labour Co-op.

    Labour have a similar problem. As I understand it most of their MPs are soft-left, but the members are hard-left and voters probably more soft than hard.

    I do agree that the ‘broad church” of two major parties (in England anyway) does seem to be creaking at the seams, and with luck the Brexit turbulence could break it all up.

  43. @Hireton – “So the readout from tonight’s Cabinet conference call is that May’s cunning plan is to do something about the backstop but she has no proposal as to what.”

    I think what you meant to say was that she is going to do what she did in December when the bill was pulled. Again.

  44. TO

    “Re dumping the DUP, I don’t see where else she would get enough votes from.”

    On Brexit (and that really is the only issue) she doesn’t have their votes anyway. If the jailing of Onasanya occurs before another NCV, then she could (just) survive again.

  45. Alec

    “I think what you meant to say was that she is going to do what she did in December when the bill was pulled. Again.”

    I have this picture in my head of TM getting off a plane from Brussels and giving a press conference on the tarmac holding a piece of white paper over her head saying that the EU have given me a solemn assurance…. Brexit in our time.

    Pointless, embarrassing and just a bit sad.

  46. TO

    If the next NCV was as last time – but with Onasanya missing and the DUP changing sides, we’d have the constitutional lawyer’s dream!

    A tied vote, with the casting vote in the hands of the Speaker. :-)

  47. @Colin

    “I still though, dislike the idea that voters register a preference & then -after the Election-Parties decide on the Government after political horsetrading behind closed doors.”

    But isn’t that exactly what happened under FPTP in this country after the 2010 and 2017 elections? How many Tory and LibDem voters thought that their vote would lead to a coalition between the two parties and ditto Tory and DUP voters in 2017 with the current confidence and supply arrangement. The issue for me isn’t about what or how arrangements are made between various parties after an election in order to form a functioning government, it’s how representative of the voters the assembly is that comes to those arrangements.

    I’m not much persuaded, either democratically or morally, by the argument that FPTP is “swift and brutal” and tends to elect majority governments if those governments are grossly unrepresentative of how votes were cast. The 2015 UK General Election, the most unrepresentative election in our history according to the Electoral Reform Society, should have precipitated a heated debate about our electoral system and ushered in an irresistible movement for change. It didn’t, and that was regrettable, but it’s one of the interesting things about the Momentum group within Labour, and it’s revival of political activism amongst the young, that radical electoral reform is gaining traction. It needs to be a bottom up process because the current generation of politicians, the people who have the power to change the system, are its main beneficiaries. I suspect Momentum will push this issue up the policy formation tree within Labour eventually.

    The sooner the better for me.

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