There is a YouGov poll on David Law’s resignation in the Sun this morning. Overall 72% of respondents thought that Laws was right to resign, and 34% said he should also resign as a Member of Parliament. However asked if he should eventually be able to return to the cabinet, 52% of respondents said it would be okay, including 23% who would be happy for him to return within 12 months. Asked how much damage the resignation would do to the coalition, 7% expected it to do long-term damage, 44% to cause short term damage but no long term harm and 36% to not do any significant harm.

YouGov also asked broader questions about people’s attitudes to gay MPs. The vast majority of people said it was not an issue for them – only 5% said it was a bad thing for there to be gay ministers in the cabinet (with 13% saying it was a positive good, and most people saying they didn’t mind one way or the other). 9% of people said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who was gay (while they were small numbers across the board, Conservative voters were twice as likely to say they were less likely to vote for a gay candidate). One caveat is that these are the proportions of people who are essentially willing to admit they are prejudiced. On an online self-completed survey the effect of social desirability bias should be less than in a telephone or face-to-face poll, but nevertheless, it’s still bound to have some small effect.

167 Responses to “72% think Laws was right to resign”

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  1. I hope David Laws takes some comfort from this Poll

  2. I think there are reasons for not wanting ‘gay’ MPs which are sensible, and not to do with prejudice. For instance, they will not understand the importance of family and children to both ordinary voters and the nation as a whole.

    For those who do not vote tribally, there are two main reasons for voting for a candidate – either they represent your views and way of life, or they are someone to look up to and respect. Neither of these would be true for a ‘gay’ MP for many people.

  3. It appears a quick resignation ahs many benefits. It was 1983 the last time we seen such an honourable resignation and historians have judged carrington well for that one. The 34% who think Laws should resign as an MP are interesting. My guess is that a good chunk of those will be simply opposed to the coalition.

  4. Sounds about right- ‘healthy’ majority (for want of a better term).

    Indeed in the blogosphere (not overly representative of joe public albeit) the sentiment seems to have turned quite hard against him over last 24 hours.

  5. Anybody who was hopeing for a different conclusion was indulging in wishful thinking. All good common sense is here. No one cares about sexual preference these days, Laws has paid the price and there was none of the shameful hanging on trying to excuse his actions. Furthermore, if he makes a comeback, it will ill behove “certain factions” to critisise, since various people in recent British political life have made more come backs than the late great Francis Albert Sinatra.

  6. @EOIN
    Yes, your comment is dead right. The 34 % sounds like Labour supporters and the die hard Lib Dems who hate Tories.


    Well said.

    Looks as though he may operate behind the scenes , “advising” Alexander.

    That makes sense.His sort of talent is hard to come by in the Treasury !

  8. As ever with these polls it depends on the question. In the event he had little alternative and his honour does him credit, more than can be said of The Daily Telegraph. However one looks at it the country is the loser. He made no profit, in fact the tax payer could have paid more if other arrangements had been made, and he was not living in a partnership in the way the rules were drafted. As ever in this country people are so obsessed with what other people do in the bedroom that they are blind to the important things in life.

  9. Lets hope Danny Alexander is taking note. Maybe the next poll will be on whether he should resign as Chief Secretary, or better still, public attitutes to whether or not he was right to resign. He should go: the evidence from his expense claims is that he lied to the Inland Revenue over the status of a second home in order to avoid £54k in capital gains tax.

  10. Pound is at a 15 month high against the Euro.

  11. @COLIN
    As you know, nobody likes a smart arse, but I did wonder if the behind the scenes tack might be forthcoming. You are of course quite right about the mans ability and we need every bit of talent we can get our hands on.

  12. Let us hope he does not advise the HM Treasury. Most Economists (both professional and academic) believe it was ‘city bankers and traders’ (the career Mr Laws had until he was 28) who created the credit crunch in the first place. Which of course led to- via the required public sector financial guarentees and concommitant ‘lender of last resort’ responsibilties (recapitalisation)- a significantly large proportion of the deficit which we are, and have been, struggling with.

    ps Eoin- but FTSE down over 2%: Euro-sterling cross (£ up over a cent and a half in three hours!) probably due to Spain credit downgrade and continuing E-zone jitters.

  13. Rob,

    I am simply celebrating- I have a few weeks in the zone in july/aug :)

    whatever you say about Laws – Rob, he is a quare bit better suited to the Job than the inverness icon they have chosen to replace him with?

  14. Eoin

    if pressed I would have preferred- as a Mr Hobson with a choice- Philip Hammond originally in first cabinet selection (supporting a Cable chancellor to keep yellow-blue balance), or as a replacement at the weekend when I think coalition balance should not have been a consideration.

    PH had been doing the job-in-shadow for a long time before the election. IMHO that prepares him inifintely better for the real job than either your current favourite Caledonian or someone who had been a trader and- at that- for the last time in the early 1990’s: before a period of rapid economic change and fundamental revisions/ reappraisals of macroeconomic models.

    But granted: if the choice was a forced one between only DL or DA then I would go with DL.

  15. Rob,

    this will do a lot of damage to the cause of PR. If the public think they might not get a K Clarke a Hammond or a Stephen Dorrell or Redwood or Ccable but instead a pet of the junior party leader it does not bode well for coalition government….

    Can you imagine TB picking a Milburn over a GB?

  16. Eoin

    “Can you imagine TB picking a Milburn over a GB?”

    No not really ! Though I think the better analogy would be Blair picking George Robertson back in 1997 over Brown (whatever happened to GR post NATO) !

    I’m not sure the Laws-Alexander scenario will impact upon PR that much. I think electoral reform is a classic ‘wedge issue’ in that you are either for it or ‘agin it’. I don’t think these kinds of forced coalition balancing acts will make much difference to voters intent on voting for AV at the referendum.

    I think where- at the margins- there might be some impact is if we see/hear Cameron and his blue side of the cabinet actively and publicly arguing against it during the AV referendum campaign.

  17. ROLAND

    “we need every bit of talent we can get our hands on.”

    Yes indeed-I think GO was right when he said DL was borne for that job.

    I love the pot plant story.

    It seems DL is thinking deeply about whether his manifest desire for a private, private life, is compatible with high public office.

    If his Catholic background, and relationship with his parents was the huge factor hinted at ( and I can accept it ), then one can only presume that this will have cleared those decks-one way or another.

    So maybe he will now have more confidence-but who knows what pressures are on people in their private lives?

    There has been some terrible patronising, sneery comment from some quarters. Homosexuality seems to be a political weapon for some people-people’s lives come second.

    The public are way out ahead that stuff, as shown by this Poll.

  18. The results of this survey are very surprising. Any damage that is done – which seems like it will be very limited (especially long-term) if this survey is anything to go by – will be more likely to fall on the Lib Dem side IMO.

    Labour managed to overcome many scandals during office – some, such as the Iraq war, on a much bigger scale than this one. I think, if anything, the public react to scandals to a much smaller degree than they used to. Perhaps the expenses scandals eroded trust in politicians of all parties to such an extent that we, the public, have become much more immune to scandals.

  19. Colin,

    I wonder if it stopped him going for leadership of the LDs? Or indeed joining blues?

  20. “I wonder if it stopped him going for leadership of the LDs? Or indeed joining blues?”

    Yes Eoin to the first-according to commentary.

    Yes to the second, by implication from KC & others-given Con policy back then.

  21. Excuse the typos in my post.

  22. I feel these results show general good sense and a sense of proportion. He made errors and moved relatively quickly to resign in an honourable manner. The gay angle has proved to be a non story, and lets hope that fact helps others in DLs position to feel less threatened by their own personal circumstances.

    On a slightly more alarming note – keep an eye out for the next big developing political issue. As the Queen asks for ever more taxpayer cash the BBC website is running the headline ‘Palace Faces Liquidation’ !!

    I haven’t read it yet, and for some reason it’s on the sports section, but it sounds as if the lefties have stormed Broadcasting House.

  23. David Laws press release to local media is worth a perusal.

  24. I know next to nothing about young Mr Alexander, perhaps he will do better than some people think. If the rumours are true and he gets some guidence from DL, then it will need to be presented properly to avoid wrecking what may well be a big future. The passing of David Laws may or may not be temporary but most public opinion has clearly sided with the governments actions.
    It is a certainty that Daniel Alexander is far less of a potential disaster than Jaqui Smith was for example.

  25. @Eoin,

    “It appears a quick resignation ahs many benefits.”

    Yes, the resignation definitely helped. Without it, I think the public may have turned against the government more. As it is, I think reds will be pretty disappointed when they see the results of this survey. Most of the damage will only be short-term, and minimal, if this is anything to go by.

  26. Alec- less paranoia please- the Football club Crystal Palace is in liquidation. A worthy sports story…

    The separate story of the unelected Head of State wanting more of our money when all the rest of us are facing salary cuts etc is a different issue…

  27. Matt,

    the ability to kill a story limits the damage in the polls..

    In 2002 Summer/Autumn Labour nosedived because of Cherie’s house purchasing…. As I recall, it took them weeks to finally get a proper statement on the matter…

    similarly blunkett, j smith and mandleson all took far too long to solve..

    I think this poll shows that decisive action pays off- dare I say it ruthlessness pays off..

    DC deserves a bit of credit on that… it took labour months to backtrack on 10p rate of tax, years to back track on post office..

    it took blues much shorter to signal that there is room for compromise on CGT or 55% or 1922 Ministers voting…

  28. @Alec
    I assume that you are joking. Sometimes the written word cannot convey humour.
    It’s Crystal Palace that face liquidation.

  29. @Eoin,

    Yes, totally agree. The same rule applies as that in the corporate world – if a scandal/issue becomes public, address it before it spreads and becomes more damaging.

  30. @ Eoin,

    Surely a more recent honourable resignation than Carrington’s was Robin Cook’s in 2003?

    As with Carrington he emerged with a greatly enhanced reputation albeit to tragically limited effect.

  31. @Aleksander – joke indeed. Even I in my wilder moments wouldn’t assume a sports story indicated the demise of 13 centuries of monarchy.

    @Roland – the reaction in some quarters to DA’s appointment is interesting, but I can’t help feeling that this post is less about economics and more about political and negotiation skills, of which DA seems to
    have sufficient. There is an army of officials who deal with budgets and spending, and his role will be to negotiate departmental agreements rather than actually identify specific cuts. We’ll have to wait and see, but there’s no reason at this stage to think he would be out of his depth.

  32. PSG,

    Cook’s to an extent was but it was over policy disagreement rather than competence..

    we have dozens of policy resignations…
    few voluntary resignations admit mistakes..

    How long did Currie take over samonela (sorry cannot spell it)?

    How long did Charles Clarke take over tearway illegal aliens?

  33. Re: Gay MPs

    The results of the survey don’t surprise me. Tories will always be more likely (unfortunately IMO) to be anti-gay because most Conservative voters tend to be in the older (and, hence, more conservative age-ranges i.e. over 65). They were brought up this way. Most of the fellow young Conservatives I speak to – rather like Christians – tend to be more progressive in their attitudes towards social policy and homesexuality.

  34. @COLIN

    There has been some terrible patronising, sneery comment from some quarters. Homosexuality seems to be a political weapon for some people-people’s lives come second.

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean. Perhaps my detestation of political correctness has made me sound “anti gay” sometimes. I am not anti gay or anti black, but this nonsense which insists that being hetrosexual and white should automatically make you 2nd makes me angry. Whatever, certain attitudes have shown that political preference has put “liberal values” in 2nd place.

  35. @MATT
    Homesexuality ? I dont need a sexy house Matt. I am quite sexy enough.

  36. ROLAND

    “certain attitudes have shown that political preference has put “liberal values” in 2nd place.”

    Absolutely-more often than not when person in question calls themselves Liberal-or Progressive !

    It always reminds me of that well known oxymoron-The German Democratic Republic.

  37. Colin/Roland,

    I disagree.


    I appreciate there is a generational problem with this. We can’t expect 2010 jargon to role of the tongues of older citizens but it should most definitely be insisted upon that our younger generations do so.

    It is a bit like Blair smacking his first child but nonethereafter- these things take time and a certain conditioning of the mind. An form of education you might say.

    I would venture to say there is not a citizen in the UK that has not at one time or another said something innapropriate- the fact is that we all try and work towards improving our vernacular.

    I would much rather our nation was a bit OTT with the PC than leave any room or space for toleration of bigotry.

    You give a bigot an inch they’ll take a mile. PC is a way of ensuring they don’t get that inch.

  38. @ALEC
    Do not discomode your self regarding the Monarchy and Crystal Palace. The Duke of Wellington settled the late Queens concern about sparrows flying around and defercating all over “my darling Alberts lifes work”. “Sparrowhawks Mam”, said the Duke, and the job was a good un.

  39. @ EOIN

    “You give a bigot an inch they’ll take a mile. PC is a way of ensuring they don’t get that inch.”

    Bigots can be dealt with-by debate & logic & exposure-and if absolutely neccessary-the law.

    PC cannot-it becomes all pervasive, it becomes Newspeak, it spawns Doublethink. As Orwell so brilliantly explained-it eventually produces state censorship -and dicatorship.

    It produces what you decribe -” a conditioning of the mind”-everyone’s mind-except of course for the Pure Ones, The Inner Sanctum-the Self Appointed Great Arbiters of Taste & Behaviour .

    They can say what they want, because their lingua franca is always Doublethink.

    It is “received pronunciation” for the mind.

    I’d rather have Freedom of Speech-with which to denounce bigotry.

  40. @ Pete B – I think there are reasons for not wanting ‘gay’ MPs which are sensible, and not to do with prejudice. For instance, they will not understand the importance of family and children to both ordinary voters and the nation as a whole.

    I’m afraid your view is entirely down to prejudice and is a misunderstanding of what it means to be gay. Just as heterosexuals are not entirely judged on who they have sex with so for homosexuals who they have sex with is not the be all and end all of who we are as people.

    Every gay person is part of a family – as a son/daughter, uncle/aunt and yes, sometimes as a mother and father. To claim that gay people cannot understand the importance of family life is a complete failure to appreciate the fullness and variety of what it can mean to be a human being.

  41. @Colin,

    I appreciate best I can where you are coming from…

    As a Social Democrat/ Come Chirstian Socialist/ Come Chrisitan Brother edcuated Northern Irish Catholic….. I gave up on freedom a very long time ago. Come to think of it, I aint sure I ever had it. Hence my conditioning (wich perhaps through Stockholm syndrome I celebrate) has been with me from birth. I have always mused from afar people’s salivation at the word ‘freedom’. It certainly sounded good when Mel Gibson said it. Thus far, I accept an appetite for it has eluded me. Even my early political education was cut in a disciplined bolshevik vanguard of sorts. Thus, I expect I will alwasy celebrate PC and big state. In my DNA I suspect.

  42. @EOIN
    Blair should have slapped his wife not his first child.

  43. @Roland,

    I thought he did? If not, can you explain that face? :)

  44. Eoin

    I am tempted to say- I feel sad for you then.

    But I won’t because that would be patronising.

    I very much appreciated what you said though, and it’s honesty.

    …the need for rules, certainty… keep the big bad world at bay (?)….to surround oneself with the impregnable cloak of “rightness”(?)

    For Catholics-yes I have had that understanding for ages.

    For “Social Democrats” ?-a new insight for me .

  45. Colin,

    Y ou need not- I am working on it :)

    For “Social Democrats” ?-a new insight for me .

    No- we lik eour targets, our CCTV, our DNAs our Biometrics, our clipboards and dickie bows, our Oftsteds, STA, league tables…..

    In fact if truth be told- we love bureacracy :) paper shufflers rock and I aint even joking…

    The interventionist, corrective, conditioning, redistributive thing …. that is basically whats makes us tick. Hence I could not possibly let the anti-PC comments pass without a post.

    Rightly or wrongly we are fuelled by an unshakable belief that our work is necessary to rid society of inequality and it is also necessary to sow social justice in every corner of the land..

    The fact that we are periodically elected only then to be booted out of office suggests the nation is undecided.

  46. EOIN
    Your comments demonstrate how very different people can be. I find your lack of personal freedom stultifying and very sad. I react, indeed over react to PC because it takes away my freedom of speech and would take my freedom of thought if it could. If someone said to me “you big lump of Tory white ex army, bald headed rubbish” I can to choose to retaliate or not. The insult is not going to ruin my life and I dont need a […] law to protect me. You use the word that many like me find the most appaling of all. Appropriate, I am very inappropriate, its in my DNA.

  47. Eoin

    I could never understand why you said Simon Hughes was a “hero” of yours.( I dislike him -a lot)

    Now I do understand ;-)

    …..and you teach history?-to children?-“I gave up on freedom a very long time ago”

    If you were teaching a child of mine, I would want a ………….very long chat -over a few pints of the black stuff :-)

  48. Roland,

    Difference is a fact or life- not something to be rectified.

    I am very comfortable with the fact that your outlook is entirely different. It does not prohibit me in any way from warming to those of your persuasion. Except I did not know you were blad- that may well be the deal breaker :)

  49. @Colin,

    I would teach your child all about Watt Tyler, Fergus O’Connor nad Thomas Paine :)

    Us Irish had no choice but to give up on freedom… pursuit of it had a high mortality rate. Also fahterhood is more rewarding.

  50. Eoin
    “The interventionist, corrective, conditioning”

    I cant’ help but ask…………you don’t have spikes in your underpants…………do you? ;-)

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