There were two polls in the Sunday papers. ComRes had a poll conducted for BrexitExpress (a pro-Brexit pressure group) prominently but poorly reported in the Sunday Telegraph. The voting intention question included The Independent Group as an option, producing topline figures of CON 36%(-2), LAB 34%(-3), LDEM 8%(-2), TIG 8%(+8), UKIP 6%(nc). Most polling companies are not, at present, including the Independent Group in polls – something that will presumably change as they take steps towards actually forming a party and clarifying their future intentions. The tables for the poll are here.

The Sunday Telegraph headlined on a finding that 44% of people agreed with a statement that “If the EU refuses to make any more concessions, the UK should leave without a deal”, suggesting rather more support for no deal than almost all other polls. I would advise a lot of scepticism here – agree/disagree statements are a rather suboptimal approach towards asking polling questions (I’ve written about them before here) that tend to produce a bias in the direction of the statement. The problem is they give only a single side of the argument – the question only asked people if they agreed with a statement supporting leaving with no deal in those circumstances. It did not offer people alternative options like a delay, or accepting the deal, or having a referendum. One can imagine that a poll asking “In the event that the EU does not agree to further changes to the deal, what do you think should happen?” would have produced rather different answers. Indeed, later on the survey asked which outcomes people thought would be best for the UK economy and best for UK democracy, which produced rather more typical results.

Note also that the Sunday Telegraph’s claim that the poll showed an increase in support for No Deal is not accurate – the poll back in January asked a differently worded question (it was structured as support/oppose, rather than an agree/disagree statement, and was in a grid along with other options) so they are not directly comparable.

As well as the ComRes poll there was a BMG poll hidden away in the Independent. The figures were unusually reported without excluding don’t knows or won’t votes, with the Conservatives on 31%, Labour on 27% and 8% for the Liberal Democrats. According to the Independent the Conservative lead is five points once don’t knows are excluded – that implies something along the lines of Con 40%, Lab 35% and Lib Dem 10% – though the full figures are yet to appear on the BMG website.

870 Responses to “Catching up on the weekend polls”

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  1. Sadly for Paul and others we will be getting at best another 18 months of Brexit terminology as the proper long term relationship discussions ensue.

    I think the next GE will still be Brexit dominated and the question is how much from the Tories will the next Labour leader countenance; depending how far on we are of course?

  2. “we will be getting at best another 18 months of Brexit terminology ”

    I’d expect far longer than that. maybe 5 years?

  3. PeterW,

    I don’t see that section 1 (of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 for anyone else keeping up) is self-enacting. It is not specially mentioned in section 25 (commencement) and so has the same status as all the other sections that have yet to come into force. Note these are all labelled “prospective” on the parliament website, which means they are not yet in force. And according to that same section 25 it needs a government minister to bring them into force.

    This matters if there is an extension to A50. According to my interpretation there is no need to legislate but if you are right the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 would need to be changed before March 29.


    You forgot one… Iraq!

    (Apologies PTRP :) )

  5. According to Stephen Bush at NS, May’s real objective for today’s vote is to get a much larger majority of Tory MPs backing the Withdrawal Agreement than last time.

    This is so the party is united enough to call a general election to secure a mandate for the WA. Then there would be a third MV after (winning) the election. Obviously this will need a short A50 extension, which is why she is keen to accommodate that.

    Sounds like a plausible theory to me.


    Sam seems to think it is like Iraq…..honest I have never met him

  7. FWIW Chris Hope Twitter of 20 CON switchers is more or less the “weakest” layer of CON-Leave. I think he’s missed a few but near enough.

    The three inner “layers” of CON-Leave are IMHO

    Ultr4s: 20
    ERG1: 25
    ERG2: 40 (only a few of those have developed cold feet)

    Also some update on LAB Leave MPs not willing to back a “dead duck” or even abstain.

    Anyone want to “guess” May loses by more than 111 (STATGEEK currently “owns” the upside with the highest call so far). Unless we see huge abstentions then 120+ is looking more likely.

  8. Laszlo,
    “In some ways May’s management of the negotiations reminds me to Trotsky’s tactic in the negotiations with the German Empire at Brest-Litovak.”

    Following a quick skim of wikipedia, do you mean the tactic of delay, or of giving away parts of the nation to try to buy a deal for the remainder?

  9. Paul, Rosie and Daisie

    Are any of you interested in the Catechism of Cliche?

    “What is a bad thing worse than?
    What can one do with fierce resistance?
    Offer it.
    But if one puts fierce resistance, in what direction does one put it?
    In which hood is a person who expects money to fall out of the sky?
    Second child.
    If a thing is fraught, with what is it fraught?
    The gravest consequences.
    What does one sometimes have it on?
    The most unimpeachable authority.
    What is the only thing one can wax?

  10. [email protected] october,: i dont know if this second crash has been attributed to stall detectors? If it has, then I would have thought the planes would have been declared immediately unsafe until modified.

    But if it is stall detectors….how do two critical sensors fail in almost new aircraft? Were Boeing assuming that the initial fault was a one off, so urgent action was not needed?

    [Late back to this, sorry]

    It only takes 1 to fail, which is my point – if that one says it is a stall, the design dilemma is what to do if just one says there is a stall. Unsafe to ignore 1, unsafe to act on 1, because it is unsafe to act as if there is a stall when there isn’t and unsafe to do nothing if there is a stall.

    Inherently the system does not have a fail safe state. It only takes 1 sensor to fail to bring this about, at which point you have a 50% chance of getting it right. It can happen either way around:
    * the unrevealed failure of a sensor to indicate no stall even if there is a stall
    * the immediately revealed failure of a stall being indicated when there is no stall

    In either case, all the system knows is that the 2 sensors disagree, but it cannot tell which is the failed sensor, even as a design decision.

  11. Sam

    One of my neighbours waxes his car, though he is eloquent about its benefits.

  12. james E,
    “I’d expect far longer than that. maybe 5 years?”

    If the deal gets ratified, that might be the longest drawn out brexit. next would come 3 years of negotiations drawn out through the period of transition plus extension. During this time a further slow decline of the Uk economy would take place. The total of remainers would continue to climb. An outsider party dedicated to rejoin will grow and start sucking up votes, unless labour (or even tiggers), takes this up. Ukip might suck more voters from the tories of those feeling betrayed by fudged brexit.

    Rejoin gains ground, and after about 5 years has enough weight to demand rejoining. Negotiations for this are protracted. So ten years after leaving, we might be in the process of aligning our legislation fit to be allowed back in, if we can buy off some of the sceptics by signifcantly bigger subscriptions. Which we will willingly pay as the necessary price.

    No deal brexit now leads to a years emergency negotiations to stabilise the Uk economy with something like the rejected May deal. After that rejoin comes much faster, if we are allowed in. We closely shadow all EU legislation until we are.

    Remain now gives the Uk the best economic outlook, but leavers are upset and a breakaway leave party continues to exist. Labour and con fight over the remainer and moderate leave voters.

    Either con or lab could break up depending how the debate goes. I have said before con need to get back onboard remainers, but labour too has been losing them and they could blast another party ahead of lab or con.

    Although con is currently floating on a sea of leavers, this is not sustainable. A bad brexit will shrink their numbers much faster, and the policy of leaving the EU bluntly harms the Uk economy. Promising to deliver brexit was a winner, but having to do so is a disaster.

  13. Technicolouroctober,
    “In either case, all the system knows is that the 2 sensors disagree, but it cannot tell which is the failed sensor, even as a design decision.”

    Someone on the ball about this might have tried, two sensors agree it is a stall – emergency computer action. Sensors disagree- alarm warning to pilots.

    Which could then beg the question: maybe they did think of this and two sensors failed together?

    I am still bothered that if this plane can only be flown with computer assistance, they might have got into such a mess with the programming that there is no quick fix.

  14. @DANNY

    You sound like you now believe we are going to leave without a deal. As I pointed out the everyone reality takes care of itself.

    Part of the problem is that you identified that the Tories have become the party of leave. The only get out clause from brexit is a second referendum. Leavers know they would lose this so they cannot countenance this. Obviously it would be painful but remember the same sort of argument happen over Iraq. I suspect that at some point more people will be in favour of leaving you will get positive polls for no deal even though the same polls show leads for remaining what will be interesting is what happens next. The Tories have a choice to make. I suspect they are going to vote against no deal and then basically let it happen as the alternatives is essentially abandoning their leaver supporters.

    The good news is that basically this is disaster capitalism at work. We can see it up close and personal.

  15. Westminster Voting Intention:

    CON: 41% (+1)
    LAB: 31% (-4)
    LDM: 8% (-2)
    UKIP: 6% (+3)
    GRN: 6% (+2)

    Via @KantarTNS 7-11 Mar.
    Changes w/ 7-11 Feb.

  16. @Oldnat

    “He didn’t answer”


  17. I listened carefully to Cox.

    As I understand his opinion-what he has brought back is all intended to ( and in his opinion does) make lack of good faith by EU in trying to agree ” Alternative Methods” a legal route to UK’s exit from the backstop. Best Endeavours on this specific issue are now defined by timetable.

    So……….the only circumstance in which UK is in backstop without legal recourse is if Best Endeavours & Good Faith HAVE been excercised but the parties FAILED to find Alternative Methods which will work.

    What I haven’t heard , consequent upon the above interpretation, is Cox or May or anyone saying to ERG-since you have told us that you have developed Alternative Methods which will definitely work & published reports to prove that you cannot vote against the WA + PD as supplemented by Cox for reason that UK may be trapped in backstop.

  18. Conservative leavers still chasing unicorns. This, from Boris –

    “I’m not in favour of crashing out, as many call it. The Malthouse compromise indicates the way forward; the UK observes single market rules and customs duties, we restrain our right to compete for three years, whilst we negotiate a free trade deal. I believe the EU would be open to this.”

    They aren’t. No WA, no transition. Deal with it.

  19. Passtherockplease,
    “You sound like you now believe we are going to leave without a deal. As I pointed out the everyone reality takes care of itself.”

    I dont know what will happen, and never have. I believe conservative MPs are mostly remainers and would prefer we remain, but they have a political mountain to climb to achieve this. Every step of the May premiership has made remaining more possible.

    I do believe EU membership has created the UKs recovery from being the sick man of europe and in such a state the other members agreed to give us rebates. If we leave this trend will reverse, and it will be obvious it has. Not all aspects of becoming a poorer nation will be bad, but moving from being rich with a debt habit to being poor could be very painfull. It is likely therefore we will rejoin, or follow the logic of May’s deal and stay very closely aligned to the EU. Purist leavers will see close alignment as being worse than being a member, and so will remainers. So we will rejoin, poorer but wiser. The cost of brexit will take decades, maybe generations, to pay off.

    I think despite the bluster MPs believe no deal is untenable for the UK. yet they might let it happen. The May deal is awful, but it sets the stage for rejoining and it could be used for rejoining before we really ever leave the EU market system considering the 3 years transition.

  20. Colin,
    “So……….the only circumstance in which UK is in backstop without legal recourse is if Best Endeavours & Good Faith HAVE been excercised but the parties FAILED to find Alternative Methods which will work.”

    The difficulty would arise if the EU sees greater integration as the solution to avoiding the backstop, whereas a hard bexit faction sees less integration as the desired outcome, using magical maximum facilitation. I think an independent arbiter would agree with the EU that max fac just isnt workable, and it would not surprise me if the EU already has all the evidence it needs to prove that. Hence its confidence in giving the assurances.

    So the Uk would be faced with no credible alternative to the backstop except closer integration still. Which would also accord with the other terms of the agreement, to promote the Irish peace deal and equal civil and employment rights inside and out of the EU. Then the only party likely to be faced with claims of bad faith would be the Uk, and we could see the EU using the agreements to demand the UK harmonise more closely than the simple backstop. The Uk having agreed to expedite all this.

    The EU probably wonders why the UK keeps pushing its head further and further into the trap. The answer is because – one must assume- that is exactly where the UK government wants to be.

  21. Kantar tabs:

    NB Kantar don’t seem to understand what a Customs Union is

    “A customs union with the EU so there are no checks on goods at UK/EU borders (including with Ireland)?”

    Err, unless we’re also subject to SM rules then that is “factually incorrect” as we see at Turkey-EU border.

  22. Passtherockplease,
    ” The only get out clause from brexit is a second referendum.”

    No. they can be defeated by parliament. Which they have been trying to engineer for a year, but labour has refused to play that game.

  23. Based on the tweets on the no lobby going for 165

  24. Based on the tweets on the no lobby going for 165

  25. Looks like 200+

  26. @Colin -that’s the obvious retort to the ERG. They clearly think that there isn’t a workable solution.

  27. Danny

    My reference about Brest-Litovsk was that Trotsky was explicitly instructed to accept any condition as Russia couldn’t afford the war, and (implicitly) because the world revolution would come anyway (it did but failed) and hence it would be irrelevant.

    He negotiated forever and then refused to sign the treaty with the German demands, but he also forgot to mobilise some armed forces to deal with the situation.

  28. 242 391

  29. 150 ish

  30. A victory for May! Only 149 majority.

  31. May opting for no deal.

  32. It’s a big defeat…

  33. very odd wording May is suggesting for the vote to reject no deal. As she spoke it, it sounded like the hosue would be saying it did not want to leave but noted it was going to happen anyway.

  34. Extraordinary that the UK Government wil give its Ministers and backbenchers a free vote on no deal.

  35. So tomorrow’s vote will be no to no deal, Thursday will be yes to extension (because what else?!). What do we do with the extension? Election? May or no May?

    What a mess.

  36. @norbold

    At least she avoided the follow on.

  37. @ Danny

    She is quoted as saying she will vote against No deal.

    Interesting statement from Guardian live feed which I think is a quote from her:

    “But voting for an extension does not solve the problems the government faces. The EU will want to know if the UK wants to revoke article 50 or if it wants a referendum. Those are choices the House must now face.”

    This suggests to me she will want parliament to vote on a reason for the extension and that she’d be shrugging her shoulders a bit in talks with the EU without it. With a split parliament it still suggests to me she wants to end up with her deal or crash out on a 3rd vote, when parliament has failed to agree a reason for the extension.

  38. When’s the cutoff?

    200. Until sky come up with their prediction, then whatever that is given how accurate they were last time!

  39. hmm 200 may already be taken, 199 then.

  40. @DANNY

    No. they can be defeated by parliament. Which they have been trying to engineer for a year, but labour has refused to play that game.

    At no time did May entertain any option other than Brexit. She still will not entertain any option other than brexit. She cannot get the Labour party to play ball because they need an election or a referendum May does not need either.There is not enough opposition MP to do anything. They cannot force a VoNC, they cannot force a second referendum. May’s only solution is to persuade her own party to revoke Article 50 or a referendum else we are going to leave with no deal no matter how MPs vote tomorrow. MPs cannot create a deal and indeed this is the withdrawal agreement it is not a trade deal. Labour have had nothing to do with her problems in that she has studiously avoided anything that smacks of consensus because labour’s brexit is BRINO which essentially means that we might as well remain. I suspect she understands that but she has no options no leverage and she is running out of time.

    How does Labour save her…..

  41. Oh wow, I’m badly out of sync on my internet lol.

    Round in circles we go. Labour going for another GE again: can’t see that happening.

  42. Passtherockplease,
    ” May’s only solution is to persuade her own party to revoke Article 50 or a referendum else we are going to leave with no deal no matter how MPs vote tomorrow.”

    If parliament votes against leaving no deal, but the government allows it to happen anyway, then it doubles down on the blame attaching to the conservative party when brexit goes horribly wrong. I have always believed this whole business is about damage limitation. The actual harm to the economy is of no account, only the political ramifications of this. The conservative MPs believe if they succeed in getting brexit through they lose politically in the future.

    May’s ideal solution is for the commons to force her to revoke article 50, and we came one step closer to that this afternoon.

    People keep attacking May as failing. But she isnt. It isn a personal failure that the government deal is rejected, but one step along a path.

    Rees Mogg just put it as 500/650 MPs are remainers. (or were at the referendum, and presumably still are) The 500 are still professing they want to leave, when in reality they all want a remain outcome.

  43. So tomorrow’s motion will give MPs a chance to vote against “No Deal” knowing that “No Deal” would still be the default.

    That seemed to confuse many MPs who haven’t been paying attention.

    (MPs will vote against “No Deal” but it’s a “Meaningless Vote” so no point putting a number on how big the majority is)

    Then on Thurs MPs will vote to send May back to EC-EU27 to ask for an extension knowing it is not in May’s “gift” to grant herself that extension.

    Again, that seems to many MPs and also not much point guessing at the size of that majority either – it’s not quite a Meaningless Vote but it’s in no way “binding” as it requires negotiation.

    Leadsom being very patient explaining the obvious!

    I agree with Corbyn – GE is the way to solve this and it is the only “PeoplesVote” that we’d have time for unless we want to send Farage+co back.

    PS Clearly some CON-Remain voted against May’s deal but obviously no one will blame them (even the “outer” tier of CON-Remainers like Greening voted against May). More info on this Graun link:

  44. @DANNY

    Ok let’s accept that 500 MPs want to remain and only 150 are true leavers. The revoking A50 becomes easy, a second referendum becomes easier still you could argue that we need to vote on Mays deal. but time and time again the MPs know that this would be suicide individually and collectively at least on the Tories side and hence that they can vote for anything other than No deal (which happens by default or a referendum) they do not wan tot be left with the decision only the Tory voting intention does nto want the Tory MPs to revisit this with another referendum. The point being the Leavers absolve themselves because they can claim that MP’s did not do it right or were not pure enough but they don’t get to blamed for the outcome.

    This is all about wanting he outcome but not wanting the negative effects of the outcome and thus I agree if tories could magic this away then they would if they could stop Cameron in 2015 they would but the genie is out of the bottle and no one can cram it back in. May made thing worse with her citizens of no where speech and the lancaster house speech both set up a path that really could not be reversed. simply put there is not many Tory MPs that want a no deal and yet there is not many Tory MP that wants to be blamed for stopping Brexit because that is the position they are in they are in power so it is their problem. it is not Labours no matter what happens

    So no matter what they thing be they remainers or leavers it really does not matter it is why you have David Davis voting for the deal he basically resigned because he did not want to be associated with it because people will be voting for various shades of leave in the Tory party because that is what their voting intention wants

  45. I shall get the opinions of the three MPs I know as soon as I can. I know that despite all of them saying they would vote for the deal, in the event they all voted against. The one I have managed to briefly swap texts with said it was because “they didn’t want to be seen to be on the losing side”.

    Apparently there are major ructions going on this evening in both main parties. Major major ructions.

  46. Flint, Barron and Mann the only 3 Lab MPs to support the deal as far as I can tell plus Austin and Field who are now Independents. A few abstentions as well but some may be with permission, don’t know.

  47. Hireton
    “Extraordinary that the UK Government wil give its Ministers and backbenchers a free vote on no deal.”

    We would have a site better Parliament if all votes were free votes and MPs voted for what they actually believe in. Get rid of the whips, all MPs independent all the political shenanigans that Corbyn is so keen on would disappear.

    Trevor Warne
    “Leadsom being very patient explaining the obvious”

    My wife comment was, “Are Labour MPs really as thick as mince?
    The number of times they ask the same question must mean that they don’t have the brain capacity to understand answers.”

  48. It seems to me that May expects the vote to go against leaving with “No Deal”. and for one seeking to delay Brexit to pass. She is also expecting the EU to ask for conditions in terms of length, second referendum or whatever which would be totally unacceptable to the ERC.

    She then expects to bring her bill back with hardly a day to spare and say OK accept something that is very far from honouring the referendum or accept her deal as the only one on the table. As I understand it, the vote tomorrow cannot stop that.

    In this context I think that the significant words in both the DUP an ERC statements were ‘today’ and ‘at this time’. They seemed to me to be preparing the ground for voting for something like May’s deal at a later date.

  49. Perhaps they ask the same question hoping they might actually get an answer?

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