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. @Millie

    “An interesting suggestion emerged this morning: that David Milliband will be watching events very closely. It does seem that the planets are beginning to align for his return to Westminster politics.”

    So breakaway Labours is going to go down the same road as the Tories and seek today revive the past? The problems in UK society are not going to be resolved by someone who had their moment 20 years ago. A lot has changed between then and now, and herein lies the challenge to the so called centrists. They don’t seem to have anyone today who can chart a course to taking today’s UK with them.

    They have been left with populist platitudes without any substance. Chuka in particular seems to be asking the public to follow him somewhere new, refreshing and different without any clear map of the terrain or any insight into the destination. At least Labour populism is built around a social democratic domestic policy framework; Tory populism around a national security, nationalist, small state framework; and the SNP around Scottish Independence. There’s no such clarity that the breakaway centrists can or will offer.

  2. After what the Brexiteers have said about cheap food outside the EU anyone who proposes food tariffs can expect a very short political career.

  3. And Matthew Parris at his coruscating best on May:

  4. After what the Brexiteers have said about cheap food outside the EU anyone who proposes food tariffs can expect a very short political career.

    If we don’t have tariffs on food, it will be the death of many UK food producers who won’t be able to compete with import made to lower environmental and ethical standards.

  5. @Hireton

    And Matthew Parris at his coruscating best on May:

    To be fair to the PM, if she did decide to listen to other people etc,, the consequences would probably drive her to the funny farm.

    She is in survival mode.

  6. @ Norbold

    ‘I actually think the likes of Luciana Berger and Joan Ryan have done the cause of anti-semitism a massive disfavour in deflecting its real meaning and its real effects.’

    That summarises my view also. Unfortunately, they are not alone in their accusations. The anthropogist David Graeber was succinct in his response to Margaret Hodge last August after she called Corbyn an antisemite:

    ‘Speaking as a Jew, let me say I consider your behavior so vile as to itself be anti-Semitic, since crying wolf like this for cynical political advantage means when the real anti-Semites start mobilizing no one will take the warnings seriously’

    ‘The irony is when if the brownshirts do hit the streets to round up Jews, Corbyn and his friends will be the first people to be willing to put their lives on the line to try to stop them’

    ‘Personally, I have very little sympathy with either of them’… I feel the same.

  7. @peteb

    “I’m assuming their financial year is roughly the same as ours, and presumably that is one reason the date was chosen.”

    You would assume wrongly. The EU fiscal year is from January to December. I can’t imagine why the rest of world doesn’t follow the medieval tradition of starting the new year in April.

  8. @ ROGER MEXICO – By-elections. My comment was mostly about the “spin” but I appreciate the counter-argument.

    Amongst VI then CON are more of the view an MP represents the party than LAB which is somewhat ironic in that Corbyn is more determined to force by-elections than May!

    @ ALEC – UK HMG needs to wake up to what EU countries have been doing for years. The whole EU model is based on “beggar-thy-neighbour” with each country out for itself INSIDE and only pooling together for EXTERNAL threats.

    Brexit has turbo-charged that as the EU27 are all trying to grab businesses, jobs and taxes – nothing new, just more obvious now.

    Sadly May+co still don’t see the EU for what it is. Macron came to London to poach UK banks, why are we not going to EU27 countries poaching their businesses, jobs and taxes.

    Quid pro quo

  9. “After what the Brexiteers have said about cheap food outside the EU anyone who proposes food tariffs can expect a very short political career.”

    It is government policy in the event of a no deal.

  10. @Passtherockplease
    ‘is not that the problem that post brexit comes up upon us rather quickly’

    I agree with this – but the longer it drags on the more opportunity there is for them to evolve. Signs are that it may well drag on.

  11. Barnier on Extension: 3 issues

    “They (EU leaders) will only agree if three questions are answered:

    first and second, why and how long?

    And third, will not that be a problem for holding the EU elections in May?”

    His main concern is the lack of a stable majority in HoC for any form of Brexit (ie if the EC-EU27 concede on anything, including an extension) then it won’t change the maths in HoC but will present a problem due to the EP elections.

    Hence even if Cooper2 passes and May does ask for extension (or loses a vote on “No Deal” in mid-March) then EC-EU27 will simply ask the questions Barnier has already laid out and we’re back to the issue of HoC needing to enable something other than the Default.

    So Cooper2 is a can kick and EC-EU27 will kick the can straight back.

    They might start to get a little more nervous and I’m still hopeful of more “mini-deals” as the clock ticks down, or we get some fudge until 18April and a “No Deal deal” (Varadkar’s term)

  12. Food tariffs

    I’m stunned these haven’t been leaked. Versions of “optimised” tariffs were doing the rounds as far back as Oct’17, if not earlier.

    I’m very disappointed HMG are delaying posting the info but I do respect the political aspects. Until the info is made public “Project Fear” is taking the two extremes:

    UFT WTO – wipes out UK agri-food businesses (but would make UK food cheaper for consumer)
    full CET – increases prices for UK consumer (but would protect UK agri-food sector)

    The “optimised” approach takes the “best of both”:
    Apply CET (or a bit lower) on agri-food products we can make and want to protect
    Drop tariffs (possibly to zero) on agri-food products we can not economically produce so have no need to protect

    If anyone ever reads an article that says dairy prices will go through the roof – it’s a l!e and shows total ignorance to actual domestic supply/demand and trade by product.

    I’ll repost the link to the AHDB info for those that want the raw facts direct and understand that the Graun is Arch-Remain biased!

  13. @Trevors – “@ ALEC – UK HMG needs to wake up to what EU countries have been doing for years. The whole EU model is based on “beggar-thy-neighbour” with each country out for itself INSIDE and only pooling together for EXTERNAL threats.”

    No it isn’t. You are completely wrong on this, and always have been.

    The EU allows member states to promote their own industrial and economic policies, in their own interests, within a framework of agreed rules that prevent precisely that unfettered ‘beggar they neighbour’ policy that you talk about.

    These rules are not nearly as strict as some people think, but there are allowances for under developed regions and countries, which is good.

    Indeed your response to my post, which referred to millions of pounds of support and subsidies granted by HMG, merely demonstrates your knee jerk prejudice regarding the EU.

  14. Food – other Project Fear “mitigating factors”

    Brief breakdown of a 150+ page report from over 18mths ago, changing some terminology and simplifying

    3 Factors that overlap, rough impact from status quo model in brackets. This only applies to net trade, not UK-UK production-consumption.

    1/ “Micro substitution” – consumer based, 20%
    EG folks would buy more chicken thighs, less chicken breast or frozen fruit instead of fresh fruit

    2/ “Supply chain flexibility” – 20%
    EG Arla factories produce a bit more of some products that we net import from EU and a bit less of some products we net export to EU.
    Interacts with #1 in examples where we’d buy less imported French cheese and replace that with UK made cheeses

    3/ “Macro substitution” – 60%

    a/ Short-term impact: you can’t grow a cow overnight so this opens up the Project Fear risk of doing a hasty deal with Trump (US is only realistic country with the capacity to replace a material amount of EU imports). See previous post for “optimised” tariffs that should mean price rises are minimal (also note the Project Fear view that UK consumer will face 100% of tariff at the same time as them saying UK producer will have to absorb 100% of tariff – clearly rubbish although estimating the split of who pays the tariff is complex and I’m not going to guess how much of that revenue HMG uses to “mitigate” the impact beyond saying they can and they should!)

    b/ Medium/Long-term impact: we need a coordinated vision of what we want UK to be in terms of agri-food. This is causing a lot of avoidable concern in agri-food sector but a political minefield with such a weak govt. It needs to cover post-CAP issues, environment, food “security”, trade deals, etc

    We’ve left it way too late for all the above to work to full effect but this is where a bit of consumer and supply-chain stockpiling helps out (those factors were not in the info I saw but I believe they are now included). You obviously can’t create a large stockpile of perishable foods but I would expect the “empty shelf” risk to be mid-March not early April.

    PS There are other options within WTO “rules” but these come with huge political risks and no HMG is going to want to call a “national emergency” and use “famine” type clauses for temporary stop-gaps, hence why I’m back to worrying about UFT and a hasty deal with Trump.

  15. @ ALEC – I’m happy to agree the rules are not that as strict as some make out but clearly some countries have taken a much stronger view than UK when it comes to:

    “promote(ing) their own industrial and economic policies”

    even if that means causing huge economic divergence within the block (govt debt levels, unemployment rates, etc)

    My simple point is that we need to stop being the patsy and wise-up to the way other nations operate. If that makes me a nativist then I wear that label with pride!

    For sure we could have “played the game” better whilst in the EU but we didn’t, hence Brexit. If we beg our way back in as likes of Soubs, Umunna, etc want then I very much doubt we’ll start being more “assertive” with UK’s national interests – we’d go back to being the patsy!

  16. Ladies and gentlemen. I present to you our Foreign Secretary’s diplomatic skills in Slovenia…

    Check out @PropertySpot’s Tweet:

  17. Pete B

    My point last night was more about the insurance companies’ and commodity exchanges’ (freight securities in particular) responses if there is a no deal Brexit. An average commodity freight from distance of East Asia, Central and South America, etc changes ownership 4-5 times during transportation. It is largely done through exchanges (and largely related to cash flow rather than speculation.

  18. @RAF

    Did you read the reply by ‘Franchesca’ in that Twitter timeline (regarding Rees Mogg) ?

    Quite amusing, if inappropriate to repost here. :D

  19. @Trevors – “The “optimised” approach takes the “best of both”:”

    I have to say that this is again another example of your penchant for selectively applying the concept of dynamic adjustment. As ever, yes, we can make all manner of decisions as to what we think will be good for the UK, in terms of food tariffs, and how we can best craft these to suit our needs, but we cannot expect others to do likewise. They will dynamically adjust to suit themselves.

    Food tariffs is an interesting area for us to examine these ideas. Put simply, think what you like about how the UK will apply tariffs on stuff coming in to the UK. Once we leave, the EU will apply their standard third country tariffs to our exports – whether or not we reciprocate in that particular sector or product group.

    We’ve been around this before, but that means the bankruptcy of most people in the sheep trade, for one. It will also probably make a lot of beef farming uneconomic, as we will be left with stockpiles of low value cuts and offal that we can’t move into the EU.

    For the dairy sector, it will mean high tariffs as raw milk goes to Ireland and the Netherlands for processing, before returning here as cream, cheese, butter etc – so there will be quite a big price hike in dairy, even if we have no tariffs.

    There is also the six month delay in exporting after end March while the EU grants us the necessary licenses. Remember that based on what they have been advised by HMG, the food industry believes 10% of the entire industry and 25% of food exporters will go bankrupt within six weeks of no deal.

    Recall also the link @Hireton (I think) gave us describing what Eyemouth’s biggest employer, a haulage company specilising in taking shellfish into the EU said. They have applied for the necessary ECMT cross border drivers permits, and receive an allocation of zero. On March 30th they fold, as that cuts off 80% of their business, instantly.

    The EU can choose not to enforce such things, but insurers are another uncontrollable obstacle.

    I have seen your gradual migration from previous positions of ultra confident certainty, through a step by step process of gradually recognising the actual implications some of the things you say, but even so, you are still stuck in the ‘optimized’ and ‘best of both worlds’ mindset.

    In fact, the best of both worlds is pretty much what we have now, and a no deal, whatever we do with it, is the very worst of all worlds we could possibly manage.

    We will get to understanding this in it’s entirety in due course, but for now, progress seems slow.

  20. @ ALEC – “Remember that based on what they have been advised by HMG, the food industry believes 10% of the entire industry and 25% of food exporters will go bankrupt within six weeks of no deal”

    Can you provide the source for that please.

  21. @ ALEC – and if you want the dairy specific AHDB report that is here:

    or just rely on anecdotes and false info from biased sources!

  22. RAF

    I couldn’t have thought that he could underperform his outing as Health Secretary. The man has a talent.


    The FT has a longish article on no-deal Brexit.

    Effectively saying that after a no-deal 29th, there would be negotiations until the 18th of April, and the outcomes of the negotiations (during the complete turmoil of the first three weeks) would depend on the attitude of the UK government, otherwise known as accepting the right of the EU fishermen to enter UK waters, pay the contribution, and implement the backatop. It seems they are also willing to increase the evaluation of the “competence of British agricultural exports” to the EU from the feasible one day to ‘sometime in the future’.

  23. Trev

    I really doubt that you read (in the sense of critical engagement) the report on dairy trade (or the pork one – I wasn’t bothered by the rest).

    Both reports are about mitigating a disaster, you know you have to choose if you want to save 17 people at the cost of 16 others.

    On the other hand, thanks for the link.

  24. @alec and others

    The AHDB report linked to by the trev collective firstly confirms what you say in your post and secondly contains no assessment of the actual business impact of different Brexit scenarios. Overall, it is a rather superficial document simply compiling some in any case readily accessible information.

  25. @alec

    Yes I did provide the link to the DR Collin article:

    I wonder how many of their european customers are actually waiting to see if their supply will be interrupted or will switch to other suppliers so the business will be advdrsely affected whatever now happens?

  26. I’m fascinated, in a slightly horrified way, to watch the TW collective say things that are 100% contradictory to Ivan Rogers – it seems that the “people in this country have had enough of experts” quote only applies to people with real expertise, rather than self-appointed experts on chat forums!

  27. RAF

    Chamberlain famously referred to a “quarrel in a far away country, between people of whom we know nothing”.

    Hunt goes one better in confusing Slovakia and Slovenia, in that he has caused a “quarrel with a far away country, between us and countries of which I know nothing”.

  28. @ LASZLO – I’ve read all the AHDB reports, most of them whilst they were still in draft format (eg before some folks decided to use different scales on the same graphs!)

    Not exactly sure what you mean about saving 17 people at cost of 16 but clearly HMG need to be more proactive to assist the “16” – my frustration is the can kicking that is going on which creates the uncertainty leaving 33 people (17+16) prone to believing the “worst-case” scenario that would hit them the hardest (for some that is a UFT WTO scenario and for others it is full CET – clearly it can’t be both of those things!)

    @ HIRETON – The AHDB reports are limited in scope, agreed. Lots of other good source info around, plenty of parliament committee publications (although you usually get a bit of “spin” in those and over reliance on anecdotes)

    However, beyond anecdotes I highly recommend folks put some “numbers” on the business aspect.

    The total exports from NI to RoI are less than 1bn (scroll down to #105 in link below). Knock out easy and obvious substitutions (GB will buy more cheddar and beef from NI and less from RoI if we assume both products will move to CET mirror %s) and consider GB is 64million people and the numbers become small and manageable.

    However, there is an urgent need for HMG to remove the uncertainty and actually step in and help to “manage” the adjustment process rather than leaving it all to “market forces” and procrastinating on important decisions.

  29. Hireton
    “I can’t imagine why the rest of world doesn’t follow the medieval tradition of starting the new year in April.”

    Neither can I, but thank you for the correction.

  30. Hireton

    “the medieval tradition of starting the new year in April.”

    Not that I would ever want to be pedantic!!!

    However, under the Julian calendar, the New Year started on 25 March, the move to April was one created by the dangerous modernisers who chose to adopt the Gregorian version.

    By adopting 30 March as the first day of the “era of Liberty”, Brexiteers have cleverly selected the exact mid point between the traditional Julian date of Lady’s Day (25 March to suit their traditionalists) and the Gregorian new date (6 April preferred by their modernising wing).

    This is ample evidence that any suggestion, that Brexiteers are unable to compromise, is a foul calumny.

  31. OldNat and Hireton

    Just to add to the pedantry.

    The US federal financial year starts on the 1st of October, just as once the imperial Russian financial year did (after adjusting for the Gregorian calandar). Both are (were) due to the need of knowing the harvest results.

  32. @oldnat

    Exactness is never pedantry.

  33. Spring conference season has kicked off with the SLD conference at Hamilton Town Hall.

    Cable gave the keynote address today (when conferences normally have their maximum attendance on Saturday afternoon).

    There’s a photo of it here –

    The Main Hall has a capacity of 734, but even by closing off the galleries, building a new stage well into the hall, and laying out only 200 seats, it still looks sparsely attended.

    They would have done better to hire the Avon Room – capacity 224.

  34. Sqwarkbox predicting McDonagh,McKinnell,McFadden and Wilson(last two worked for Blair) all ready to go independent this weekend.Another two possibles not named.

    Could just be wishful thinking.-saves on deselection I suppose.

  35. When is Kate Hoey going to defect to the DUP?

  36. BBC story about Willie Rennie; to paraphrase the above posts…a far away politician of whom we know nothing”.

    “The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has urged disillusioned Conservative and Labour politicians to “come and talk to me”.

    As if they weren’t disillusioned enough already without the prospect of having to sit and listen to Willie Rennie!


  37. OLDNAT

    I’ve made the same joke myself on here so I hesitate to raise the point as I’m open to accusations of hypocrisy, but it is interesting how this is acceptable but any suggestion that a Jewish MP should defect to Likud manifestly would not be, and indeed would be probably breach one of the specific IHRA categories. Both are based on the same presumption that a political belief is just a manifestation of an individual’s ethnicity. Perhaps best avoided. Even where the egregious Ms Hoey is concerned.

  38. Sqwarkbox predicting McDonagh,McKinnell,McFadden and Wilson(last two worked for Blair) all ready to go independent this weekend.Another two possibles not named.

    Could just be wishful thinking.-saves on deselection I suppose.

    I think it’s premature for Labour celebrate such things.

    I think the current rift in both main parties damages them both.

  39. ON -when she gets deselected I would guess

  40. @Trevors – “Knock out easy and obvious substitutions (GB will buy more cheddar and beef from NI and less from RoI if we assume…”

    There you go again. Here is from the ADHB sheet you linked to –

    “In a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, tariffs on UK exports to the EU could cause particular issues for the cross-border trade with Ireland. Large volumes of raw milk in the UK are exported for processing in the Irish Republic and a proportion of the processed product is then exported back to the UK. Tariffs on UK exports to the EU and/or UK imports from the EU would likely make this trade with Ireland uneconomical.”

    [Incidentally, I also saw some of these when they were being drafted. Quite well connected with the NFU, as it happens].

    The sheet does explain that we can increase processing capacity, but not by March 30th!. If there is an end March no deal, there is no market for a hefty part of UK milk production if we can’t utilise RoI and Dutch processing for re-export. This means a surplus, a crash in price, and dairy herds being slaughtered. Some of the slack could be taken up by dried milk exports (we already have a surplus here) but again, there are potential issues with these as they are if we lose current trading terms.

  41. Peter W

    Likud isn’t a party represented in the UK HoC.

    I struggle to comprehend what you mean by “ethnicity” here.

    Are you suggesting that those from the “British” community in NI are of a different “ethnicity” from those in the “Irish” community?

    Perhaps you meant “cultural background”?

    People aren’t constricted by that – as the careers of many MPs and others demonstrate.

    That Hoey (from her Protestant, Ulster Unionist background) has chosen to follow a political line that more closely resembles that of the DUP rather than that of her party, her leader, or her constituents is what makes her an outsider in Labour.

    As the main English parties splinter, Hoey would seem a prime candidate to jump ship to one more in tune with her stances.

    It wasn’t “a joke”.

  42. Well done Wales, as they beat England 21-13 and should now go on to win the grand slam.

    A late try sealed the game for them as England led until the 67th minute.

  43. ToH

    As I no longer have a team hoping to do more than being near the top of the bottom half of the table, the Welsh did well.

    The South Wales Police Roads Policing Unit can be forgiven for this tweet

    Sorry can’t resist …. apparently there is a broken down chariot in Cardiff City centre!!!!

  44. @ Alec – your cherry picking and still failing to understand the numbers. Try actually reading my posts – something you frequently accuse others of!

    The AHDB info is good for source numbers but they don’t presume either a market or HMG response to the change in tariffs – that is beyond their scope.

    P.S.Still waiting for you to substantiate your earlier comments on bankruptcies – did you make that up or too embarrassed to show where you got that info from?

    @ BFR – please be specific and I’ll offer a response. I’ve always been very clear that perishable food imports is a concern but if it some other issue please let me know. Unlike some folks I don’t just pick an anecdote, make stuff up or rely on info from biased sources

  45. Britain Elects tweet

    Westminster voting intention (ft. TIG):

    CON: 40%
    LAB: 32%
    UKIP: 7%
    TIG: 6%
    LDEM: 5%

    via @OpiniumResearch, 20 – 22 Feb

  46. Big Tory lead in Opinium poll tonight:

    Westminster voting intention (ft. TIG):

    CON: 40%
    LAB: 32%
    UKIP: 7%
    TIG: 6%
    LDEM: 5%

    , 20 – 22 Feb

  47. Bantams

    I said “Snap” first, so I get all your cards!

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