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. EOIN
    I have several nice wigs big boy.

  2. Nick Clegg & David Cameron are saying Laws was incredibly talented & will be invited back. IMO, this is basically to justify having picked a ‘wrong ‘un’ for a cabinet position in the first place.

    Re: Danny Alexander, the point of having a Dem in the treasury is to ensure that GO is not alone in wielding the axe. Dems are equally tarred with the political effect of the cuts.

    Laws enthusiasm for the cuts was what made him valuable. As ALEC said, the actual proposals for cuts are made by the civil servants; the ministers assess & deal with the political impact.

    I am in agreement with the 34%, Laws should resign as an MP.

  3. Colin,

    Lol. No….. but I am/was very susceptible to the Jesuit method of education…. I’ll take it to my grave, pragmatism is most certainly not my forte.

  4. @AMBER STAR
    I dont remember you having a similar opinion regarding this kind of thing in the past.

  5. @ ROLAND

    Well remembered, my dear :-)

    My attitude to expenses was (& is): If there has been no actual wrong-doing, merely public disgust at the claim e.g. Wisteria, kit-kat, bath-plug ;-) then the MP should simply endure the embarassment & let his constituents decide.

    Why do I feel differently about Laws?
    1. There was actual wrong-doing; he may be cleared by the Standards Commission due to ‘mitigating circumstances’ but all know this would be for political reasons, not because he didn’t ‘do the crime’.
    2. Laws made much hay of being clean on expenses during his campaign. His leader ran an entire GE campaign based on how the Dems were the good guys on expenses.

  6. @Roland – “…am I being lied to?”

    Was in the middle of posting a reply last night when my internet crashed, so fwiw: There was an interesting discussion on BBC’s Feedback following the Iranian President’s now infamous and much quoted speech. A UK academic commented on the nuances of Farsi and offered “It would have been better if the entity (created in 1948, and which subsequently extended its borders) had not existed”. To go from this to the more inflammatory interpretation/translation given currency by the BBC World Service could be characterised as poetic licence.
    I am giving this not to be partisan, just for your information

  7. @Roland

    “Homesexuality ? I dont need a sexy house Matt. I am quite sexy enough.”

    LOL.

    Excuse the qaulity if my posts this afternoon.

  8. BILLY BOB
    There have been so many examples of Arab leaders as well as the current nutter in Iran wishing the Jews of off the face of the earth, I really dont think a potential misinterpritation changes much. Like it or lump it (for all of us) the issue seems to come down to party lines in the UK. Most Tories support Israel, most Labourites support the Arab stand point.

  9. @Roland

    I support neither. I support the right of a people to self determination in their own land. I support life and justice. I support peace. ATM Israel, along with Iran and the other nutters are enemies of all the above, hence my anger.

    Whatever the case nothing justifies killing people on an aid ship. Or journalists on the field, or UN aid workers, or people holding a white flag, or children, or hospital workers. Israel has done all of the above.

  10. @Roland
    Don’t agree with you there, I think that oversimplifies the issue. For the sake of balance earstwhile Israeli Presidents have spoken about driving Palestinians into the sea. But then giving credence to the mouthings of bigots does not serve the interests of peace. We need some de-escalation here.

  11. Roland – look on page 5 of this poll for hwther people are generally more sympathetic to Israel or Palestine, broken by party support.

    http://www.yougov.co.uk/archives/pdf/TEL060101012_4.pdf

    It is not as clear cut as you would think, most people aren’t particularly sympathetic to one side over the other. Conservatives are more likely to favour Israel, Labour supporters are pretty evenly split between the two sides. Lib Dem supporters are more likely to be sympathetic towards the Palestinians.

  12. @ Amber

    I’m sorry but your denunciation of Laws’ “wrong-doing” shows how confused everyone has got over the expenses fiasco. Presumably all those who have re-paid money are also admitting “wrong-doing” – so shouldn’t you feel the same about them?

    I wouldn’t be having a go at you, if your mistaken argument wasn’t the same as that being used by a lot of people (some of whom get paid for saying it :) ).

    The real problem is that we need to set out the principles on which we should pay our parliamentary representatives and reimburse the expenses they incur in their roles. From that we could derive sensible and coherent rules to cover expenses, pay upgrades etc.

    Instead parliament has thrown together a jerry-built and ever-changing set of regulations based on a mass of reactions to past “scandals” and whatever irrational prejudices they believe the public to hold.

    So we get the rule that you shouldn’t pay rent to a partner; people saying that expenses shouldn’t be claimed by Laws because he is a millionaire (still no proof of that by the way); the Cabinet taking a token 5% pay cut; and so on. You also get Laws parading his virtue because of low expenses claims (I don’t think he said he was clean, just cheap!).

    It’s all just muddled thinking, designed to look good in the next day’s papers. And because nothing is thought through and there’s no guiding principles, these “scandals” happen again and again.

    Sorry to have a go at you but typing this I’ve been trying to work out why the whole situation irritates me so much. It’s partly the disproportionate and misused power of the press, but mainly it’s something else.

    If the UK’s governors can’t even get something so close to home and uninfluenced by external factors right; what hope have they got with larger topics which really do affect ordinary people’s lives. The least we can do is try to think clearly even if they cant. :)

  13. Practitioners of captchamancy (captchomancy?, CAPTCHAmancy?) might like to know the code for my last comment was ENV7. Not quite envy but nearly there.

    Anthony

    The interesting thing is how there’s not much difference between the parties in the poll you quoted – only the Lib Dems seem much out of line and that when their support was lower.

    What does seem extraordinary is that the last poll on such an important topic was nearly four years ago, during the attack on Lebanon.

  14. @ Roger Mexico

    “I’m sorry but your denunciation of Laws’ “wrong-doing” shows how confused everyone has got over the expenses fiasco.”
    ————————————————–
    I’d say that my general opinion of MPs’ expenses doesn’t reflect the majority of the public’s opinion. Most were angry, if I remember the polling correctly.

    Many of the pre-GE repayments were due to:
    Genuine administrative errors; or
    New maximums for specific expense categories being applied retrospectively.

    Laws knew what the rules were & chose to interpret them as he saw fit. His is a different situation.

    Furthermore, he & his party chose to make MP’s expenses a GE campaign issue, therefore they had a duty to ensure there no skeletons in their cupboards, IMO.
    —————————————————————
    “If the UK’s governors can’t even get something so close to home and uninfluenced by external factors right; what hope have they got with larger topics which really do affect ordinary people’s lives.”
    —————————————————————
    Unfortunately, governing is not simple. Uk constitution, laws, tax & welfare system have all been developed over time without a clear & unambiguous framework. I think we must learn to live with complexity. 8-)

  15. Roger Mexico
    With regard to captchmancy…the best captcha code I have had so far is UK2L. This occurred just at the time hen L and LD were opening discussions about coalition!

    A few days later when the C and LD coalition formed I realised the code meant the UK was going to hell.

  16. Re attitudes to Israeli aggression and the lack of polls

    First rule of politics (and tabloid press) is simple – a cat stuck up a tree is far more important than anything overseas (unless a sports team is OS). One injured in a car crash at home is more important than a foreign people thrown off their land.

    And certainly far more important than a country such as Israel which sits on other people’s land (it is well outside its legal 1948 borders) which it has conquered by violence and which then ignores international law and tries the moral high ground. Israel has no moral high ground now; it is up there with apartheid Sth Africa.Blockading Gaza is, for example, against international law…

    Will Israel now support the Somali pirates who invade boats in international water? I see no difference between that and what Israel did.

    It’s such an own goal. Now Turkey hates Israel- and that used to be one country Israelis went to on holiday. Not now. And when Egypt gets a new ruler and the Muslim Brotherhood is behind the throne… Even the USA does not quite give its blanket support… And much of the West no longer gives Israel total support. In the 1960s I was fully behind Israel, now I can not stand the Government.

    But it’ll be important for a day or two till the headlines go elsewhere. But the hatred which it stokes around Israel gets stronger and deeper.

    Israel needs a new policy. Rather than illegal collective punishment try making a Palestinian middle class; people who have consumerist ideals. As well, Israel needs to get inside its legal borders if it wants the world’s support. Israel has no right to exist outsdie its legal borders.

  17. @ Amber

    Oh I can live with complexity – it’s complication that irritates me! Expenses is a classic case where more effort than necessary has been expended to make something that doesn’t work. I know government isn’t simple – but why can’t they treat simple things simply?

    Alternatively of course we get politicians promising to “simplify” benefits – forgetting that other people have complex lives. Sigh.

    To get back to expenses I agree with you on the retrospective stuff (the belief that cleaners should be paid about £2 an hour was particularly appalling). And a lot of the small stuff just illustrated how the attention the Press gives to anything is inversely proportional to its importance.

    I wouldn’t have minded either if those paying back large sums (in all parties) had either admitted guilt or contested the spending as valid. But throwing money at a problem to make it go away isn’t good enough.

    That’s why I don’t think what they did is any different from Laws – rules were broken in both cases. It’s the way some MPs have been picked on and others escaped that I find wrong and arbitrary; I’m not calling for mass executions. :)

    God knows the British people have enough to get annoyed about with how they’re governed. Somehow all this stuff shouldn’t be at the top of our agendas.

  18. Roger – it probably isn’t the most recent poll on the subject, I just happened to know that it included that broad question who who people were more sympathetic too!

  19. ‘No one cares about sexual preference these days’

    The evidence shows otherwise

    Look at the success or otherwise of gay candidates running for Parliament in the last two elections

    Nick Boles was unable to win back Hove for the Tories in 2005 – one of their easiest targets

    Ian Dale who ran in Norfolk North – a seat the Tories narrowly lost in 2001 – was victim of a 8.5% swing against him (the highest Tory to Lib Dem swing in that election, except maybe Solihull) and this year Greg Barker and Alan Duncan – two openly gay candidates – witnessed swings of 4.0% and 3.7% respectively against them in regions where the average swing to the Tories was well over the average

    And David Gold was unable to take back working class Eltham, although the Tories missed out on quite a few seemingly straightforward gains in the capital

    The evidence thus shows being gay still has a major impact at the ballot box

  20. Roland,

    The chart Anthony provided us with showed that 43% of the lower classes did not have a baldies notion about the Israel-Lebanon/Palestine conflict.

    I think your point that, on the whole, edumacated reds favour pal/leb probably still stands….

  21. @ AW
    I see it is not as clear cut as I suggested but its certainly along the lines I imagined, particularly the LDs attitudes. Also, if I am anything to go by the Israeli sympathy is getting thinner and thinner among non Jewish Tories.

  22. Roland,

    To further add to that point, young people and northerners had less of an opinion on the matter as did women. All of these categories favour reds more than say men, odler people and southerners

  23. Roland,

    Also that poll was taken at the height of the Hezbollah rocket bombardment…. I think one Israeli actually died in that episode…

    A more recent poll would in all likeliehood show a hardening against ISrael given that even the USA is lukewarm and Netanyahu is not the most popular of leader.

  24. What seems to be getting lost in the ‘fog’, is that many Israelis do not support everything their army & government do.

    By all means, condemn Israeli policies on Palestine or even their foreign policy in general – but that is no reason to condemn Israel or all the Israeli people.

  25. Jack,

    The most stark feature of this episode is that it showed just how unlikely we ever are to see sanctions against ISrael. The EU, NATO and the USA were united in turning a blind eye.

    Thus, no matter how much it is played in the media over the enxt two days, it is one of those examples were nobody in power Merkel, Berlusconi, Cameron, Sarkozy gives an absolute and utter pooh about it.

    It is ironic that we used to poke fun and the detachment between Arab heads of states foreign policies and the ordinary arab population.

    I wonder in Arab outlets are they now pointing out that gap in the western world.

    Is it not ironic that Greece and Denmark with a long history of islamophobia went further almost than anyone in their condemnation.

  26. @TIM JONES
    It was I who asserted that folks dont care about that old thing these days. The number of leading politicians who are openly homosexual seems to me evidence enough it is no longer an issue, however you have obviously done your homework.
    Eoin Clarke has just posted me regarding attitudes in the UK regarding the Middle East. As you may have read, it seems the less educated could not care less and the more educated have a viewpoint. It seems from what you say the same sort of divide applies to voting for a gay candidate.

  27. Laszlo,

    If you are about, the Raffah border has been opened. I thought that might cheer you.

  28. @ Woodsman
    “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.”

    Hear, hear. Glad someone eventually got round to addressing Pete B on this.

  29. @ OWAIN

    I agree – I was about to write a very similar comment to Woodsman’s then I saw he had already made ‘my’ points in a direct & eloquent way.

  30. Jack

    “Will Israel now support the Somali pirates who invade boats in international water?”

    I doubt it: but it will support the military vessels- of many different countries- who stop and board those pirate ships in International waters as other ships are stopped moist days around the world…

    No easy answers to this one. On the one hand massive military incompetence and diplomatic tactical error. A naval blockade would have been the obvious answer until the ships were searched for weapons. On the other hand blatant provocations by people allied with Hamas (the Islamist/ Homophobic/ Misogynist and Xenophobic terror group) who had an utter ruthless disregard for the lives of their passengers.

    Israel will now have to let imports in and – obviously- amongst the food and other goods there will be the materials to kill their civilians. That is the cost to them of this.

  31. Thanks Owain, Amber ;-)

  32. I posted yesterday on the Middle East putting myself in the position of an Israeli man of my own age whose mother and father had escaped the Holocaust in Europe and got him to Israel and the promised land. Would I with my own background have fought the Arabs who wished to destroy my country and my people, you bettcha. Would I believe that Jew blood was once the cheapest most valueless thing in the world, and now it is the most expensive and valuable, you bet I would. As Amber has posted not all Jews, Sabres or otherwise feel like that, but I can so easily understand the ones who do.

  33. @ROLAND HAINES

    I wouldn’t disagree with the thrust of that although as Pete B says there are some reasons other than prejudice as to why people wouldn’t vote for a gay candidate – religious reasons being one of them

    I agree that the large amount of gay politicians does show that like race, homosexuality is less and less of an issue – although it still is a factor for some voters, especially in seats with an elderly population – which might explain the lacklustere Tory result in Bexhill & Battle – which back in 1987 was the Tories safest seat in the UK

  34. We Labour voters do not seem to have much sympathy for Mr Laws.

    Was right to resign: C 71% L 84% D 63%
    Should never return to cabinet: C 23% L 48% D 21%
    Also resign as MP: C 30% L 46% D 28%

  35. @WOODSMAN
    As a married father and grandfather, I get very peed of with politicians and journos constantly invoking “families”, hard working, low income, high income, middle income, in negative equity blah blah blah. What about other people who dont live with someone else and have a brace of brats running about. Its a bloody liberty.

  36. Amber,

    What is remarkable is that Blueys and Yellows opinions are so matched. They are becomming indistinguishable.

  37. @AMBER STAR
    Now there is a nasty shock before my Tuna & Pasta salad.

  38. @EOIN
    Why should a man in a double breasted blazer and cavalry twill trousers, and a girl in a bobble hat and anorak not fall in love ?

  39. @ ROLAND

    Agree – many israelis I know are either very good at disguising their feelings or have a much more forgiving nature than I do.

    I am a softy who would like everybody to share & get along but I would shed blood to protect my people, if I had suffered as they have.

    Most of my friends in Israel believe they must never forget the past but it cannot be used as a reason to justify actions that are against international law. They wish to be a respected people living in a respected country.

  40. Roland,

    Because she is that whimsical she is sure to leave you. Before you know it she’d be shacked up with the coal man.

  41. @ Tim Jones
    “as Pete B says there are some reasons other than prejudice as to why people wouldn’t vote for a gay candidate – religious reasons being one of them”

    Prejudice is still the reason there, it’s the religion being prejudiced and the believers buying into it. I’d go so far as to say it’s still down to personal prejudice in the vast majority of cases – people pick and choose from their chosen holy texts all the time. How many do you think of those who quote Leviticus to claim homosexuality is an abomination have eaten shellfish at some point?

  42. @ Éoin & Roland

    Why should a man in a double breasted blazer and cavalry twill trousers, and a girl in a bobble hat and anorak not fall in love ?
    ———————————————————
    Fall in love by all means – but remember: Marry in haste, repent at leisure. The divorce may be acrimonious, as you both fight for custody of your center right baby. ;-)

  43. Amber,

    I have not conversed with you on the Arab conflict thus far because our opinions are some distance apart. My powers of deduction tell me that you are married to someone of the Judaic faith, would that be correct? Star is quite a well know Jewish name.

  44. h ttp://www.paltelegraph.com/

    I reccomend this link for anyone interested in the Palestinian conflcit in general. Robert Fisk on occasion writes an article for the paper. I find it most useful, since I am currently researching a book on the topic but from a gendered perspective.

  45. Just came in. Why did YouGov not do a VI I wonder?

  46. @Eoin
    Regardless of how Amber responds, I feel there is a general point on comments expressed and it chiefly applies to the financial arena. Do you remember we had a bunch of people talking down the pound during the election and my view is that such views are worthless unless I can see a full breakdown of the personal affairs of the person concerened.

    Since that is not on I disregard the views of all financial commentators regardless of how many degrees they hold or otherwise. That applies to the Governor of the BOE as much as anyone else.

  47. AMBER
    Think how happy such a couple could be during the long winter evenings, he with is vintage wine collection, she with her vintage bus ticket collection – made in heaven.

  48. Well I guess Mr Laws was right to resign. A pity, but he was right. By resigning, he sets an example and might I add that any Labour Minister in his situation would have clung on by the skin of their nails.Sorry but It is true. They only resigned because they thought it might bring down Mr Brown. The joke was on them though. (I never doubted for a second that Mr Brown would survive. They serverly underestimated him.)

    The only question in my mind now, is why didn’t the Telegraph publish the Whigs expenses when they published the other main parties? I hope now that all three main parties will have equal billing.

  49. @ Éoin,

    I am not married anymore ;-) But I have friends & colleagues in Israel; I feel very much at home when I am there with them.

  50. Kyle
    Are you really telling me you can’t remember the trouser press?

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