Today we’ve had the first two polls asking people about whether they’d support The Independent Group were they to stand candidates.

Survation in the Daily Mail asked how people would vote if there was “a new centrist party opposed to Brexit”, producing voting intention figures of CON 39%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, “New centrist party” 8%, UKIP 5%. In comparison, the normal voting intention figures in the poll were CON 40%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 5%, suggesting the new party could take support from both Labour and Conservative, though it would largely take votes from the Liberal Democrats. Tables are here.

SkyData, who do not typically publish voting intention figures, asked how people would vote if the “new Independent Group of former Labour MPs” were standing, and found voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 26%, TIG 10%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 6%. We don’t have standard voting intention figures to compare here, but on the face of it, it also looks as if support is coming from both Labour and Conservative, though the level of Lib Dem support appears to be holding up better than in the Survation poll. Note that the lower figures overall appear to be because of an unusually high figure for “others” (possibly because SkyData do not offer respondents the ability to answer don’t know). Tables are here.

These polls are, of course, still rather hypothetical. “The Independent Group” is not a political party yet (assuming, that it ever becomes one). It doesn’t formally have a leader yet, or any policies. We don’t yet know how it will co-exist with the Liberal Democrats. As of Tuesday night it only has former Labour MPs, though the rumourmill expects some Conservative MPs to join sooner rather than later.

Nevertheless, it is more “real” than the typical hypothetical polls asking about imaginary centrist parties. Respondents do at least have some names, faces and context to base it upon, and it gives us a baseline of support. We won’t really know for sure until (and unless) the Independent Group transform into a proper party and is just another option in standard voting intention polls.


511 Responses to “Survation and SkyData polls on the Independent Group”

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  1. @hugo – “Only fair to have the same distance between referenda asking the same question.”

    Why? Can you explain the logic behind your assertion?

    We had a referendum on the EU 40 years after the last one because there was a demand for one that passed through the HoC.

    Are you claiming that the HoC is now bound for forty years into the future on this issue? If so, how does that square with our long held democratic principles? Are you actually aware of the implications of what you are talking about?

  2. @ ROGER MEXICO – “Conservative voters (especially Remainers who have previously been very loyal) willing to consider the new group”

    Ah but will voting for TIG increase the risk of Corbyn in #10? A lot of CON Remain are likely Anyone But Corbyn.

    I’d like CON to have a +ve “Project After” reason for folks to vote for them but I’d put money on CON VI being more “loyal” than LAB for many reasons beyond just these first few polls:

    CON-Remain fear Corbyn PM more than Brexit

    breaking that down:
    – CON lost quite a chunk of Remainer VI in 2017
    – CON-Remain’17 have stayed very loyal since
    – CON have older demographics and older voters are likely to be more “tribal”

    Please check above are valid, last one is more intuitive but pretty sure it’s supported by evidence.

    I don’t have a crystal ball and much will depend on whether or not TIG can coalesce into a party but now we’ve had the anticipated split and its come from the Remain side in both parties that is clearly going to be MUCH better for CON than for LAB. ERG need to “zipper the lipper” and offer some non-Brexit “Centre” views to wrap up the “evolution” of CON (Boris’s two Opuses a good place to start, May going back to “burning injustices, etc)

    For now as a “block” of 11 MP votes who have recently broke whip to vote “Remainy” anyway it will make very little difference.

    The big issue will be a further VoNC in HoC – would the 3 xCON risk a GE? Even if they do, its probably too late to stop Brexit – which makes their whole 5mins of fame seem a totally futile jesture (yes, with a ‘J’)

  3. DAVWEL

    “and so she now wants the UK to stay in the SM and CU, to respect the decisions made across the UK in 2016.”

    You seem totally blind to the fact that in the referendum of 2016 the people voted to leave. What you suggest is not leaving and in no way reflects the decision of the people.

  4. @ ALEC – If HoC force a confirmation ref upon us then OK.

    MPs voted by a massive majority to trigger A50 so the ref would clearly need to be:

    1/ May-EC Deal
    2/ No WA and move to WTO terms

    I’d prefer a GE “PeoplesVote” but for a “final say” then it would have to be a Deal v No Deal “PeoplesVote”.

    Perhaps your starting to see how trying to “game” the popularity of a “PeoplesVote” by leaving the format so vague is going to be a problem – even Queen Gina pointed that out ages ago.

    Still, good luck. Keep taking a lot more MPs from LAB and maybe the odd further one from CON (who else d’ya think might quit CON?)

  5. Peter Cairns;

    Supranational Authoritarian Cabal was the seminal second album by Militant Tendency.

  6. @TW
    Did the Tories really ‘lose quite a chunk of Remainer VI in 2017’

    You might be right, but all the data I have seen shows Tory Remain VI being remarkably loyal since 2016, and very little direct Tory -> Labour movement at all.

    I suppose a few Tory Remain may have switched to LDems (1% VI maybe?) in 2017, and a few more to DK, but it is very small beer. IIRC over 90% of the Tory Remainers had stayed loyal in the a recent poll.

    So there is quite a large constituency that:
    – loathes Corbyn
    – thinks the Tories are screwing up Brexit
    – doesn’t see the LDems as a viable alternative

    It seems to me that many of these people may well find TIG appealing… especially if polls and projections imply Labour are going to get a tonking in any upcoming GE

  7. “Speculation on TV that if this desertion continues, Tory and Labour hierarchy may decide together to move to a snap General Election to snuff them out before they get established ”

    Because last time someone tried a snap election to solidify control it went really well!

    There are also other issues. A snap election will likely necessitate an a50 extension, I’m not sure how long that would be or how long the EU27 will be willing to grant. Or perhaps more importantly, how short they will be willing to grant. If it goes beyond June, new EP elections will be required. Given these run on PR they have a very real risk of becoming a de facto further referendum and given the present polling situation that also carries a very real risk of sinking the ‘will of the people’ line.

  8. JamesB,

    You are saying that there would be an A50 extension because no-one is stupid enough to have no-deal brexit in the middle of a general election campaign.

    Are you sure about that?

  9. Theresa May is more “left” than Tony Blair!

    Arguably more “left” than Merkel and not far off Macron (other than the nativist aspect where she is way behind those two)

    Her “problem” has been that she has been unable to deliver on “Mayism” as she failed to sack Hammond+co when she could have and Brexit has become all consuming (another obvious reason why we need a “Clean Brexit” and not 5yrs+ of dragged out talks continuing the uncertainty and continuing to consume all political debate)

    Despite the best efforts of Ne0liberals, Brexit does not fit easily on a Left-Right divide (eg Dennis Skinner (Beast of Bolsover) v Smoggster, John Mann v John Redwood, Kate Hoey v Priti Patel).

    Sadly few Leave MPs would be considered “Centre”

    Boris possibly about the closest to a “Centre” Leaver but he is seriously damaged goods. I’m not keen on Gove as I don’t trust him at all but he’s gone “green”, then you have born-again Leavers like Javid who are certainly not far-right nutters. From the (x)LAB side Frank Field isn’t loony left and neither are “accepters” like Flint, etc.

    CON need to “evolve” into the post-ne0liberalism Centre Right Party tis all and those changes are nowhere near as radical as LAB, who have “de-evolved” under Corbyn!

  10. Millie
    Curious to know why you think Soubry will be a liability.

    She’s not my cup of tea – too much ego with her integrity – but what she’s said in relation to her resignation has been admirably clear and coherent. She hasn’t resiled one inch from Conservative values (and I’m sure the choice of a blue outfit was deliberate). She thinks it’s the Conservative party that has left her, shifting to the right, undoing the modernisation of Cameron and selling its soul to the Moggites. It’s hard to believe that there aren’t millions of ‘ordinary ROC voters’ who agree with her. If you think ‘authenticity’ is important I’d say she also ticks that box.

    She’s got media appeal too – the media are happy to go to her for a quote and she’s always been more than happy to provide one. I find her communication style a bit too self-centred and that probably won’t change, but she does know how to get a message across. No outfit of which she is part is going to struggle to be heard and that’s a big plus.

    I think she’s a much better politician than Umunna.

    Ah ha. I may have the answer to my own question. I’d say Soubry was the most rightwing of the Tory defectors, yet she’s the one TOH is pleased to see the back of. I guess assertive women just don’t go down well with a certain segment of the population. I’ll never understand how they reconciled themselves to Thatcher.

  11. STADIUS

    As I understand it, the MRP model is able to deal with individual constituency idiosyncrasies such as independents (those with non-negligible support).

    Only up to a very limited level. The whole point of MRP is that it takes wider trends based on demographics, politics and so on. By definition that doesn’t apply with one-offs like independents. Certainly back in 2015 when they were more open about how they were doing it, they actually refused to make predictions in a handful of seats where there were such special circumstances.

    But in any case there simply isn’t the data to work on yet. And even if we have lots of polling and the VI for TIG comes to take certain characteristics that can be used to make MRP projections, we still won’t have had the electoral results to test the models against.

  12. @ALEC

    No, because Hugo only talks carp.

    I imagine him as a bitter and twisted but young politics undergrad who accidentally became besotted with the Daily Mail when his mother got it free from Waitrose.

  13. As a lifelong Conservative who has stood for election both for the City and County Council, I voted to leave the EU together with 17.4 million voters from every political party.
    I support “One Nation “ conservatism and voted for the conservative manifesto, as did the voters of South Cambridgeshire.
    The MP for South Cambridgeshire was a businesswoman and knows that any deal that the PM gets with Europe has to be agreed with all 27 other countries.
    She and other “Remainers “ voted against the deal offered by the EU, if you want to leave with a deal, the solution is easy, if you truly wish to honour the Manifesto you stood on, you should vote for it when the opportunity returns.
    I agree with the ERG (European Research Group), which does not want to agree to commit all future governments to the backstop for Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic in perpetuity.
    By resigning you are failing your voters because you will no longer be in a position to influence government, just because you have not got your way on this one policy.
    I am inclined to regretfully agree with members of the Labour party who have called for their MP’s who do not accept their Manifesto Promises to stand down for a bye-election

  14. @ BFR – “Did the Tories really ‘lose quite a chunk of Remainer VI in 2017’” – YES

    How did 2015 voters vote in 2017 here:

    https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2017/06/22/how-did-2015-voters-cast-their-ballot-2017-general

    Scroll 1/2ish way down to “Brexit Realignment”

    “The Conservatives lost a chunk of their Remain voters to both Labour (15%) and the Liberal Democrats (9%)

    I’ve posted that link several times and deliberately use the word “chunk” as that is how YG described it!

    Plenty of other polling companies found similar post GE results.

    I’m not saying CON won’t lose some VI to TIG (some have moved in these early polls already), just that under FPTP system CON will net benefit from both parties having had a Remain split.

  15. Old English:

    Having 11 by-elections now would only cause more uncertainty and division. With chances of another referendum soon, or even a GE or a European Election, it would be another useless waste of money when the whole UK is desperate for positive spending to put right some of the present wrongs.

    We have many examples of MPs, MSPs, MEPs, not resigning their seats after doing wrong or unfortunate things, including SNP and Tory ones close to where I stay. Why press the present bunch of resigners hard just because they are anti-Brexit?

  16. BEDKNOBS AND BOOMSTICKS,

    “Supranational Authoritarian Cabal was the seminal second album by Militant Tendency.”

    Ah yes that difficult second album.

    For me not really up to Militants breakthrough classic “Running Dogs of Western Imperialism!”

    Peter.

  17. @ SORBUS (@ MILLIE) – Could you suggest where Umunna and Soubs would agree on policies outside of Brexit?

    As you point out Soubs is the most right-wing of the 3 xCONs and very strong willed so getting the “11” to agree on a single manifesto is going to be.. well… interesting!

    IMHO Soubs is a “liability” for the new party due to her broader views being a long way from the 8 xLAB and other 2 xCONs.

  18. @lewblew and @alec

    I think hugo is the unlamented jasper22 under a different name.

  19. If you can bear to watch this , it tells you what Corbyn’s Brexit Policy is :-) :-) :-)

    https://twitter.com/joepike/status/1098250673035071490

  20. YG live have asked about MPs who leave their party resigning and standing in a by-election:

    Should fight a by-election: 49
    Continue to serve their term: 28
    DK: 23

    net 21, for fight a by-election.

    Within the x-breaks, CON VI most keen on MPs having to fight a by-election at 58 (net 29) but LAB not far behind at 52 (net 26). LDEM only ones against (Scotland close to national average so expect SNP result would be similar to LAB)

    PS See previous posts showing possible seat changes. Soubs is gone for sure, handing her seat to LAB. Angela Smith would net that off from a “Red” v “Blue” perspective but Remain would have two seats to lose for zero seats to gain! Obviously none of them will resign their seat and contest a by-election right now but should Brexit be delayed then they’d have time to see if their constituents still wanted them!

  21. @HAL

    “Are you sure about that?”

    Well, you never know. However, legally, no deal or not, brexit would be in a mess due the number of bills yet to be passed.

    A minimum half of MPs are required to support the PM in a vote of no confidence in herself, and then sit on their hands for 14 days to call an election (or a straight 2/3rds). GIven that and the already voiced opposition to ‘no deal’ from parliament, it seems unlikely to me that consent would be given for a snap election without an extension.

  22. COLIN

    Creative analysis of that winning candidate’s postion from further down the twitte-line:

    “I think he wants a proper Brexit deal negotiated (Labour-style) and then a second referendum between remain and that deal, perfectly reasonable position”

    As I often say: Blimey…..

  23. @OLD ENGLISH
    ‘I support “One Nation “ conservatism and voted for the conservative manifesto, as did the voters of South Cambridgeshire.’

    So you must be very angry that large parts of the 2017 manifesto have been ditched
    Scrapping the triple-lock on the state pension after 2020, replacing it with a ‘”double lock”, rising with earnings or inflation
    Means test winter fuel payments, taking away £300 from wealthier pensioners
    Raising cost of care threshold from £23,000 to £100,000 – but include value of home in calculation of assets for home care as well as residential care
    People with assets of more than £100,000 would have to pay for their care – but could defer payment until after their death
    Scrap free school lunches for infants in England, but offer free breakfasts across the primary years
    Net migration cut to below 100,000

    Or are you selective about what manifesto promises you think the Conservatives should keep

  24. re the Independent Group – I don’t know if they’re a group of grognards or something that might evolve into a new party – they need a platform and a visible leader for that. Chuka Umunna is the only one who seems to have that sort of visibility, and it’s not much.

    If they’re tied to Brexit, well fair enough, but Brexit will be over soon enough, what happens after that, do they vanish? Or else morph into the centrist party position that the Lib Dems hold in name only. I think if TIG became a party they would gobble up the LD’s quite easily, and a lot of that is due to Nick Clegg’s term in government.

    Considering a name, “The One Nation Party” popped into my mind. Whether you support them or not, that would be provocative, but you don’t go into politics with the intention of being invisible.

    It seems to me unfair that a recall law could be enacted for those who resign their whip; it would also stunt the growth of new parties, and at the moment, we desperately need new ideas in Westminster.

    Then again, 10-12% is way too little to hold many seats unless the incumbent has serious personal backing from their constituency, which could easily vanish if their new position is at odds with the wishes of the local electorate. But it could be interesting if the UK is involved in another EU election (that’s unlikely).

  25. The Other Howard,
    “You seem totally blind to the fact that in the referendum of 2016 the people voted to leave. ”

    Howard, I have said this before I am sure: Either you wish to take the literal meaning of leaving the EU as what people voted for, in which case any version of leave…means leave.

    Or you wish to consider more deeply what people expected to accompany this, in which case you have to consider that there is no attainable outcome which satsifies what was promised.

  26. As I posted earlier, the calls for bye-elections is just the vengeful big party machines looking to crush what are effectively singletons with no organisation behind them. If MP’s had to fight bye-elections when they left a party then it would be a draconian method of control that would probably ensure it never happened and I’d argue our politics would be the worse for it.

    Basically do what big brother says or else. Why would you want intelligent, individuals as MP’s, you might as well have party programmed cyborgs.

  27. @TW
    Those are good stats, and it is interesting to see your source, many thanks for that.

    YouGov are perhaps being generous in calling the Con – LibDem movers ‘a chunk’ – it equates to 1.5% of those voting in 2015 (a bit more than my guess of 1%)

    What I had missed is that 2.3% moved from Con Remain to Labour Remain, much more than I had thought; that appears to be offset by a fairly similar sized move of Leavers in reverse?

    But that still leaves around 12% of 2017 voters who are Tory Remainers – this could be potentially fertile soil for TIG if these people can be convinced that Corbyn is toast…

  28. @Trevors – “MPs voted by a massive majority to trigger A50 so the ref would clearly need to be:…”

    Why?

    The choice can be anything our parliamentary representatives wish it to be – that’s what a representative democracy means.

  29. Liverpool Echo reporting that Hatton has been re-suspended from Labour.

    https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/derek-hatton-suspended-labour-party-15861929

  30. Good evening all from a very mild Winchester.

    They MP’s who have shafted their party for re moan airtime should be booted out of their seats and by-elections called immediately.

    Choock Umoon and his weird gang have no mandate whatsoever so instead of playing daft games over Brexit they should instead take their wailing to the voters and see if they will back them.

  31. HIRETON
    @lewblew and @alec

    I think hugo is the unlamented jasper22 under a different name.
    _____________

    And you must be one half of the Krankies :-) :-) :-) :-)

  32. “MPs voted by a massive majority to trigger A50”

    No, as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, what they voted for was to provide the executive with the power to trigger to a50. It’s one of those unthinkingly repeated/fowarded/tweeted myths that the act asked or even mandated the government to do so, it did not. It was actually rather reflective of the attitude parliament has had for much of this which was to make it someone else’s problem.

  33. R&D

    Don’t you find it almost humiliating that there are people like that , wandering freely around, calling themselves politicians & trying to get elected as lawmakers?

    I make no party political point. That description fits a number of people calling themselves Conservative politicians.

  34. Again I thank Steam Driven for comments opposing by-elections.

    What is so shocking is that folk here (and doubtless elsewhere) who have said nothing about by-elections when their party`s MP or MSP transgressed, are now wanting the 11 Independent`s to have by-elections.

  35. STEAMDRIVENANDY

    Basically do what big brother says or else. Why would you want intelligent, individuals as MP’s, you might as well have party programmed cyborgs.

    I believe that’s known as ‘PR’.

  36. Some informative TV coming tonight in our area.

    I never realised until the Fish docs started that so many of the crews are foreign. Probably half on the six trawlers that have featured so far. The sequence of 3 Ghanaians buying dresses in a Peterhead fashion shop to send home to their wives was hilarious. Indonesians too are here, as well as the East Europeans I expected.

    Then the Farm docs. In contrast, we haven`t had yet any non-indigenous person having any function on the farms being reported, either as farmer, vets or traders.

    So from the point-of-view of the likely damage that will be caused by curtailed immigration, it`s very bad for deep-sea fishing, less bad for farming than is claimed apart for the soft-fruit sector.

  37. @Davwel

    Given that the Ghanaians are non-EU, don’t follow the logic there. Maybe the East Europeans, but I believe time limited work visas will be available there too.

    Escape from CAP and CFP bureaucratic nonsense is a massive positive of Brexit in my book.

  38. There is rich irony in the MPs complaining that the independents should resign and call a by election for ‘failing to follow the manifesto’. I wrote to my MP last year asking if he was going to support a more representative electoral system. Of course he said no but one of his principal reasons was that the electorate vote for a person, not for a party and that link should not be broken. I do wonder sometimes if politicians ever join the dots. It is the HoC which has maintained the FPTP status quo in large part using the people vote for people argument. I suspect many will feel there is an element of hypocrisy at play.

    It is also worth noting that the Tories are not actually delivering large chunks of their manifesto either. So it is difficult to see how those leaving the party are in anyway different to the rest. The now independents would presumably argue that they are custodians of those manifesto commitments the ERG seem happy to ditch of the Irish border and a deep and close relationship with the EU.

    We certainly live in very interesting times.

  39. I cannot, for a minute imagine that the TIGs have formed without having a clear plan for the way ahead, which would involve contingency plans for a snap GE.

    I am expecting a party to form at any time, possibly via a reverse take-over of the LDs in light of the revelation that they have been in talks with VC for the last 6 months.

    On the question of a GE, unless TM calls one, it would seem unlikely as the TIGs won’t vote to bring the government down until they are established as a party. Ditto most likely the LDs as they have declared they won’t support any more Labour VoCs.

    Con plus TIG already equals 325 even before you count 11 LDs, 10 DUPs and the other Independents. I am wondering if other unhappy Tories, if there are any, will refrain from leaving until the party is up and running.

  40. @Sorbus

    I actually thought Soubry spoke reasonably well at the press conference. But the answer to your question is in your first sentence, not your last:

    ‘not my cup of tea – too much ego with her integrity’.

    That is how she comes across, I think, and it goes down badly.

  41. @ Steamdrivenandy/Davwell

    I think you are overplaying the “party machine” bit somewhat.

    I’m actually a bit sceptical how much good knocking on doors does- certainly 2017 many parties weren’t geared up for an election compared to 2015, failed to get through their canvassing or deliver as many leaflets as usual and yet turnout was higher.

    The two Tory defectors to UKIP both got elected in by-elections and certainly on current polling there is a clear momentum with the defectors. If they have any sort of following they will have plenty of people helping them and plenty of people voting for them.

    We’ve had no end of people going on about how MPs are not answerable to party members but to their constituents. Now apparently it wasn’t them that got their majorities but a “party machine”. You can’t have it both ways.

    I do agree with a wider range of parties and do agree with PR, especially because not having PR has made politics especially poisonous and over-political in the sense a lot of MPs have been playing games recently, criticsing May and Corbyn in particular but never having to come up with an alternative.

    I simply cannot accept that an MP thinks it is OK to no longer represent the policies they were elected on via their party’s manifesto and that voted for. If those voters weren’t voting for the party but the MP, or holding their noses, then here’s the chance to prove it.

  42. Davwel

    There has been concern for a long time about the hiring practices of the fleet owners.

    In 2008 Frank Doran was making that point. Two critical factors are that non-EU hands are paid less than those from the EU, and the abuse of the UK transit visa arrangements for foreign fishermen.

    It’s very profitable for the fleet owners and skippers to use Filipino and Ghanain crew, instead of EU citizens.

  43. Lots of good discussion on the Tiggers (love that, who coined that name?)*. As with everything in politics right now, I have no idea where all this is heading, but here’s my take home.

    The breakaway group must know that they’re taking a huge personal and political risk. It is almost certainly the end of their careers as MPs (at the next GE, or before), and they must know that. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ll also make enemies of many of their friends both in parliament and back in their constituencies. So to make this move they must be absolutely desperate at the state of their parties and UK politics right now. Well that, or ambitious and delusional (think Ummuna), but I suspect the former in most cases. Funnily enough, that means they are probably doing quite well at representing a fair percentage of the population who also think the state of our politics is desperate right now.

    So while I suspect this is all likely to end in tears for the Tiggers, I think they may succeed in highlighting just how bad the situation is in the HoC right now. Who knows, maybe it will help to bring forward constitutional reform, but I won’t hold my breath.

    * Also loving Roger Mexico’s “Mrs Doyle” description of repeated survey questions. Is that your own invention? It’s perfect.

  44. Millie

    thanks for the response. Bit of a shame really. Johnson’s ego never seemed to do him much harm and he’s much, much worse. Whatever cause he promoted, he promoted Boris Johnson even more.

    Double standards?

  45. @Andrew Myers
    “On the question of a GE, unless TM calls one, it would seem unlikely as the TIGs won’t vote to bring the government down until they are established as a party.”

    That would be a very risky strategy for them, though, if their aim is to pick up disgruntled Labour voters. You really don’t want to go into that sort of seat with a “voted to keep Theresa May in government, really a Tory in disguise” poster through every door… (the ex-Conservative TIGs probably could get away with it, but the ex-Labour ones?). Maybe if it was to keep the government going *after* May had got a majority together for some 2nd ref legislation? But that’s a long shot at the moment, I think.

    (I agree that they also really won’t want a snap election either – but that’s the risk they take)

    Similarly, I think when the current government is pushing for some sort of Brexit, the LD MPs are likely to be under pressure from their membership not to vote for the continuation of that government. I can understand Cable reasonably warning Corbyn that he’s not going to sit through a VoNC every week just on the off chance it works this time … but if there’s actually a numeric chance to take them down and the Lib Dems walk through the government lobbies? And then Brexit happens? The LDs have made some “please don’t vote for us” decisions over the years, but that would kill what little remained of their support.

  46. I have been musing on the question of the by-elections for the Tiggers.

    First I should say that little precedent suggests them, and no constitutional rule requires them. That’s a given.

    And they undoubtedly will not happen. All agree on that. Because all assume the Tiggers would lose. I agree. That’s a given too.

    But nevertheless some comment is justified. Thye sort of comment their mates in the media still seem to be giving them an easy ride over.

    The last two cross-the-floor resignations over EU membership led to by-elections fought and won. I think that is too glibly dismissed.

    What Carswell and Reckless did was significant. Not least as it forced Cameron to keep his colours (or would that be his trousers, pace Sir Humphrey Appleby) nailed to the referendum mast. And not least as it defied political wisdom and defied it successfully. It showed how strongly their cases resonated with the electorate at the time. At least in their particular corners.

    Umuna’s seat is at least as Remain as they were Leave. And received wisdom, with which I concur, is that he is sensible not to make a similar stand as he would lose.

    That’s worthy of some comment.

    To paraphrase very loosely a phrase that I think is usually misattributed to Einstein, if fighting by-elections and winning is a sign of having something that has caught the mood of a sizeable chunk of the public, what is declining to fight them because you’re bound to lose a sign of?

  47. @ Triguy

    “I think they may succeed in highlighting just how bad the situation is in the HoC right now. Who knows, maybe it will help to bring forward constitutional reform, but I won’t hold my breath.”

    I’m not convinced that even if we had PR (which I am in favour of) that the situation in parliament is any different to that in the country. PR might make MPs more honest and free to express their opinions but, over Brexit for example, it would still leave parliament in stalemate if we had ten parties instead of 5 or so.

    Everyone has their own opinions not just over Brexit but what needs to be done after 10 years of near stagnation in the economy and falling living standards. Parliament only reflects this and ERG and Corbyn both reflect a significant section of society just as Surgeon, Lucas, Cable, Wallaston and Ummuna do. The fact that parliament doesn’t agree doesn’t make any grouping less grown up than any other.

  48. MILLIE

    “that is how she comes across, I think, and it goes down badly.”

    That is just one of those self-evidently true-to-an-extent comments, so typical of UKPR, which is utterly meaningless.

    I think Corbyn and May come over badly – many millions of others don’t.

    What you mean about Anna Soubry is that she comes over badly to YOU – and maybe some aquaintances of yours – but it really annoys me when people equate their personal prejudices to a quantifiable truth.

    Personally I thought all three came over superbly – better than the Labour group, despite the fact I have always been a Labour supporter – and with a great deal of passion, eloquence and humour.

  49. COLIN

    It is a dire situation and a product of the Party system in my view.

    If being a politician was a job for which you had to pass a series of interviews.auditions then that guy would have been removed from the long list immediately.

    Yet somehow he is going to become Mayor because he now has “Labour” attached to his name, and – even more importantly – he is a Momentum supporter.

    Yuk.

  50. “re the Independent Group – I don’t know if they’re a group of grognards or something that might evolve into a new party – they need a platform and a visible leader for that. Chuka Umunna is the only one who seems to have that sort of visibility, and it’s not much. ”

    Indeed. It leads to a suspicion that there is another they still hope to lure. One with the clout to give them a step change in credibility. One with the clout to prevent even Umunna’s ago from rearing its head just now.

    Love to know who. Tom Watson and Hilary Benn have been mooted, but I don’t think they have enough.

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