Tonight’s YouGov/Sun poll has topine figures of CON 37%, LAB 41%, LDEM 9%. The four point lead is well within the margin of error of the six point Labour lead YouGov have been showing of late, so it is far too early to suggest any sort of conference boost for the Tories. If there is any conference effect, we would expect it to show up after Cameron’s speech, so watch for the figures tomorrow night and in the Sunday Times.

532 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 37, LAB 41, LDEM 9”

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  1. 1st Again! Getting good at this. :)


    At what point is the margin considered the ‘norm’?

  2. Looks like it is going to be the proverbial “threepeat”- as in no discernibly clear conference bounce for any of the three major UK-wide parties.

    Quite interesting: perhaps attitudes really are getting pretty settled now.

    That might be unusual- but we live in very unusual times both politically and economically. Just as Dave was at pains to point out time and time and time again today…..

    If so- a poke in the eye for all those who regularly proclaim on here that there will be some kind of ‘massive bounce back’ by the Tories and Lib Dems in the final 12 months of this parliament (whenever those months are).

  3. Statgeek

    That’s cheating! You should have been watching Rab C Nesbitt, like the rest of us!

  4. 4% lead? How does this square with Sun/Yougov poll seen on Sky ( if I remember right ) of Con with DC beating Lab with EM hands down at next election.

    With 0.1% GDP growth the incoming tide may cover and sweep away the “rock of stability’.

    Nothing to do with us guv its all down to the Europeans, the U.S. the Chinese, the snow, the wedding, the extra bank holiday, the poor August weather etc. The UK econ is 12% of the European Union economy, any cuts in the U.K. will bounce back into Europe and vice versa. World is crying out for coordinated action. Our politicians are letting us down, on the other hand we elected them!

  5. @Rob Sheffield,

    I think it’s a bit too early to judge at the moment. You may well be right (I suspect you probably are), but as AW says in his summary the effects of DC’s speech (and the reactions to it in the media) will probably not filter properly through until tomorrow/Friday.

  6. Rob S.

    I’m not sure there has ever been such a stable 12 months of polling in my adult lifetime, and I’m entirely with your suggestion that opinions have settled.

    The ending of the Great Centre Left Schism has to be a big part of that, but so does the fact that we have Tory Govt doing pretty much what they said they would do, hence neither haemorrhaging their own support nor picking up the support of the “Well I didn’t like them but bugger me, it’s working” sort.

    Another 12 months of this, and as a Tory strategist, I’d be in serious panic mode as opinions harden. But what on earth can they do to attract the “Bugger me!” sort?

  7. well, perhaps with two of the three main parties in power and the other fairly recently ousted – where is the scope for bounces, popularity, etc?

    Nobody is worth getting excited about. Did UKIP/BNP etc get a bounce? I don’t remember.

  8. @Leftylampton – “But what on earth can they do to attract the “Bugger me!” sort?”

    Didn’t DC support gay marriage? What more do these people want?

  9. @LEFTY

    “But what on earth can they do to attract the “Bugger me!” sort?”

    Give them what they want? (no I don’t mean literally!)

    If this lot do manage to get the debt/deficit down a little while raising GDP (especially exports and manufacturing), things will simmer better (the pan lid is rattling at present).

  10. Rob Sheffiled

    If so- a poke in the eye for all those who regularly proclaim on here that there will be some kind of ‘massive bounce back’ by the Tories and Lib Dems in the final 12 months of this parliament (whenever those months are).

    A definite poke in the eye if an election is held within the next 12 months, which the bookmakers and I don’t; otherwise everything going well overall, although better for Tories than LDs.

  11. Stat.

    But to see ANY improvement in living standards, you need GDP growth of at least 2% per annum. We’ll have missed that by a country mile in the first calendar year of this Govt and Cameron’s speech today was classic expectation management for the forthcoming recession. In reality, we might, just, get to 2% growth by mid/late 2013. But that would just stabilise average living standards. The chances of getting the growth needed for anything remotely close to a feel good factor in time for 2015 are fading by the week.

    I can see the Tories going in to 2015 with, at best a re-hash of Major’s “Yes it hurt. Yes it worked” slogan. And the very best of luck to them if they do.

  12. In theory, I don’t doubt that the Tories could hit the 40s again. It wasn’t too long ago, remember, that they were regularly scoring 42/43% (i.e. in mid-2010). With a current polling average of 37/38%, it would take just a relatively small (but significant) shift to the Tories to reach 40. Given that times are very tough at the moment, and the economy is currently in a dire state and public confidence in the economic situation and the government is so low, I think 37/38% is a more than respectable polling result at this stage.

    But these are desperate economic times. The world economy is in such a poor state. With this in mind, I don’t think the Tories will be able to gather as much public support as is theoretically, and would otherwise, be possible. Therefore, I think the Tories will struggle to improve on their current polling, especially as, like many, I believe a double dip recession is imminent.

  13. I didn’t see all of Cameron’s speech, but I’ve seen some of the reports and read a few online comments, as well as caught up with the overnight briefings that didn’t make the actual speech.

    My assessment is that it really seems to demonstrate that the Tory party is seriously lightweight and living in some alternative reality. It’s deeply worrying.

    Cameron seems to have a fundamental lack of understanding of his own economic strategy, which relies on a big increase in total UK indebtedness in order to keep the money markets happy with the projected growth rate. We need to remember that this government is banking on increasing overall debt, so to try and pretend they are seeking anything else is a lie, to be blunt.

    The other area where they are just floundering is on growth – the essential need at present. A series of ministers have said they’ve got big plans for growth, the most pro growth government ever etc etc. Yet in 18 months we haven’t seen a single coherent initiative for growth and despite the economy being in crisis mode there is no sign of any clear signals coming forward. It is – and I’m trying not be partisan here, and would say the same if the government was another colour – a complete shambles. Continuing the non partisan approach, I have to say that while Ed’s speech was much the more interesting philosophically, when the deck is burning you need clear emergency plans over what to do in the crisis. None of the leaders showed any clear leadership.

    And the Tory tree symbol behind Cameron looked like a deflating balloon. Every time I saw it I heard a slow, rasping farting noise.

  14. Put some money under your mattresses, as the banks could collapse within the next few weeks. Well in Europe they might, but apparently the UK will be ok. Trouble is do you believe them. Who would have thought back in 2006/07 that the government would have owned 80% of RBS.

    Good luck Mr Osborne as boy George you will need it.

  15. @LEFTY

    But if people and businesses (and the gov especially) reduce their debt, a reduction in interest payments will mean more money for other things. With that, people spend, the economy grows etc. There’s just too much debt (of all sorts) right now.

    Given the current world situation, anything better than a contraction for the calendar year will be ok for this year. The winter may or may not knock this about. People and councils are more prepared this year than last.

  16. John McTiernan has just referred to the No 10 ‘pay off your credit cards’ briefing as ‘Keystone Cops’ stuff. Couldn’t agree more. It shows a fundamental failure of the media operation at No 10.

    Taken together with the completely baffling party political broadcast tonight on overseas aid and Ethiopia, it shows a media operation completely out of kilter with reality. My guess is that they desperately miss Andy Coulson and don’t seem to have anyone from a remotely ‘normal’ background to bring them back to the real world.

  17. @R Huckle – “Well in Europe they might, but apparently the UK will be ok.”

    We won’t be. Irish banks won’t survive the carnage if it comes, and that will take down the UK banks.

  18. @ ALEC

    According to Lord Myners the UK banks are well capitalised to deal with any problems that arise in Europe. That is what he said on Newsnight. But what does he know.

  19. Stat

    Aye, well, but people, like countries, struggle to pay back their debt when their income is stagnating and other costs are increasing.

  20. @Rob Sheffield

    “Quite interesting: perhaps attitudes really are getting pretty settled now.”

    Apart from some small-scale fluctuations in response to the events of the day, the polls have moved not one jot in the last 6 months or more. Since 1 Mar, weekly running averages have the parties in the following ranges.

    Con: 34.5-37.5
    Lab: 40.5-44
    LD: 8.5-10.5

    No matter what the news, not even after the bounces from the local elections or Libya, Con support doesn’t get above 38 and Labour doesn’t drop below 40. The LDs are dead in the water. The mid-points of the above ranges are precisely where we are now, and every single weekly average is within 2 points of the mid points.

    IMHO the only movement we will see in the polls in the next couple of years will be in reaction to events that damage the government’s credibility in a serious way (e.g. the inevitable spate of stories about rampant privatisation of the NHS). In other words, there is no up-side for the Tories.

    The only question is whether the Tories will manage to slash and burn everything before the coalition falls apart. Because make no mistake, that’s the plan. Always has been.

  21. @Alec

    “completely baffling party political broadcast tonight on overseas aid and Ethiopia”

    Quite. Save the Children ran a conference event in Manchester yesterday. Six delegates showed up. About another 20 eventually attended after being stopped in the street outside.

    Says pretty much all you need to know about the Tories’ commitment to overseas aid.

  22. @Alec
    “We need to remember that this government is banking on increasing overall debt, so to try and pretend they are seeking anything else is a lie, to be blunt. ”

    Surely their whole economic policy is to reduce the deficit, and hence eventually, the debt?

    They may not have been very successful so far, but why do you think the exact opposite?

  23. I can’t see how the present financial system can survive this. Paper money will be worthless I fear and all major banks will fall as will the entire foreign exchange system. No-one is prepared for that reality.

    If we get through the next year with a less than 5% contraction I will be very surprised. We need to recognise that the banks cannot be recapitalised ( there is literally not enough money in the world to do this) and so they must collapse – bank by bank, country by country day by day – unless some unthinkable action is taken soon. Mass nationalisation of allbanks – suspension of currency trading recalibrating actual cash so that over 100 grand in assets you get a percentage of value and over an upper limit you get nothing. Without such draconian action I fear that the game is up.

    The numbers are just so huge – when you start exploring bank liabilities and sovereign debts then a mass bankruptcy of all of western Europe looks almost inevitable. What is clear is that the present political leadership of Europe is utterly clueless – we are cursed with Merkel, Sarkozy, Berlusconi and Cameron – none of whom have either the leadership skills or economic nous to do anything meaningful.

  24. It’s a bit early to be writing off DC, the Cons and the coalition. Things may be bad – even very bad, but if a week is a long time in politics, what about 3¹/² years?

    The truth is that no-one has any idea what the economic landscape will look like in 3 years time.

  25. Robin,

    “Says pretty much all you need to know about the Tories’ commitment to overseas aid.”

    IIRC the protection of overseas aid as a % of GDP was a Tory election pledge, followed through in subsequent budgets and CSR, despite contrary views from all sides. Darling’s “plan” did not ringfence it. So whose commitment is in question ?

  26. @Iceman

    “I can’t see how the present financial system can survive this. Paper money will be worthless I fear and all major banks will fall as will the entire foreign exchange system. No-one is prepared for that reality.”

    Paper money has NEVER had any instrinsic value. And how whole econmies have rested on the lunacy of fractional reserve banking will cause great mirth to those who succeed us. And don’t forget interest/usary.

    But we are where we are…

  27. @ PETE B

    I will leave it to Alec to give you a better answer, but my thoughts are this. It is entirely natural for consumer and government debts to increase particularly during a downturn. You just don’t have the revenues coming in and you have all the various costs going up by atleast inflation. If you start to cut the deficit quickly, you are spending more on the automatic stabilisers e.g benefits, plus public sector redundancies, change costs and therefore in the short term could actually rack up more debt. The government were hoping for growth based on the OBR’s predictions, which included debt going up by £600bn by 2015. But consumers have reacted to the austerity measures and increased household bills, by cutting their spending. So you have seen retailers struggling with the affect on growth.

    The government might have got away with their plans to reduce the deficit to nil by 2015, but not with the state of the world economy, particularly EU, Japan hit by earthquake, change in US economic plans. Had they followed Labours plan to only halve the deficit by 2015, they might actually be in a better position. The bit I can’t however answer is whether the UK would be paying more interest on out debts, with a less robust deficit plan. If the UK economy goes into recession we might end up having to pay higher interest anyway.

  28. @Iceman

    Although I’m not sure your comment about “not enough money in the world” is correct, you may be interested to know that your country-by-country collapse scenario has already been outlined. See this 15 September 2011 blog entry by The Godlike Paul Mason

    Regards, Martyn

  29. If the UK banks are so well capitalized why did the BoE have to supply unlimited dollar liquidity. At least one British bank has to roll over 68% of it debt in the next 12 months. Also look at the stock price which in most cases is about 50% of book value which means that the market thinks the banks are lying, if they aren’t then there is a fantastic opportunity to make a sh*tload of money in a leveraged buyout. That is someone buys the bank with borrowed money, breaks it up and sells the assets and pockets the profits after paying back the loans. The fact that no one is doing this almost proves that the market is right and the banks are not well capitalised

    The mattress idea is not a bad idea when the interest being paid is next to nothing, only problem is that if enough folk do it the banks collapse

  30. It has been a pretty weak round of conferences from Labour and the Tories – perhaps reflecting the fact that there is little either can do about their current predicaments, and that the public is not particularly interested in either of them.

    Given that the Tories are the ones playing catch-up I would say that the dull 0-0 draw we have witnessed represents a wasted opportunity for them, and a result for Labour.

    Before conference season kicked off I predicted poll parity by the coming weekend – like the ONS I am now revising my estimate downwards.

  31. @Bluejock

    “So whose commitment is in question ?”

    Tory rank and file. And it’s far from clear that government policy is any more than a useful political figleaf – especially since the terms of aid were redrawn, presumably to better suit Tory priorities (e.g. arms sales).

  32. Osborne looked a little bit panic stricken when Cameron was talking about uncertain times for the economy.

    No lack of self-confidence from Gordon Brown in this pronouncement of Sept 16th as reported in The Telegraph:

    Mr Brown said Europe’s austerity drive reflects same misguided views that prevailed during the Great Depression when Keynesian proposals were dismissed as “inflation, extravagance, and bankruptcy”.

    Mr Brown admitted that he was hardly a pin-up politician for stimulus and global action, having lost last year’s election on such a manifesto, saying: “People preferred a more parochial solution, seeing debt as the bigger problem. But I have been proved right.”

  33. Robin,

    “Tory rank and file…..”

    ….who are irrelevant to the Tory party/Coalition govt commitment to overseas aid.

    Unless you are suggesting that “rank and file” are the yardstick? In which case there’s a few things I could raise about Labour “rank and file”……..

  34. @Bluejock

    “In which case there’s a few things I could raise about Labour “rank and file””

    Please do, since I’ve no idea what you are talking about.

  35. I rarely if ever defend Tory party policy – but I will commend Cameron’s commitment to overseas aid. That very few tories turned up at a fringe meeting on the topic is largely irrelevant – so this once I will support a Tory poster on here. now that’s a rare thing indeed.

    Brown has been proved right – the deficit was a product of recession and the only method of cutting it was to establish growth and sustain recovery – with the exception of Obama, no other world leader understood the nature of the debt and its consequent solution and Obama proved horribly weak when placed under any stress and showed no effective economic leadership.

    I will confidently predict that we will not eradicate the deficit in 5 years – it will in fact rise over the next twelve to eighteen months (gdp and revenues will fall – no-one can reduce deficit in those conditions no matter how severely you cut – just look at Greece) before beginning to reduce by 2014 – the debt was a symptom of the real problem – a lack of growth – and by tackling the deficit and ignoring growth you gain the classic keynesian paradox of reducing spending and increasing deficits – not clever economics at all.

  36. Iceman,

    The comparison of Greece (a country which is experiencing the full costs of giving up monetary sovereignty) and the UK (a country with monetary sovereignty) is a bit dubious, isn’t it? It’s a bit like comparing a country on the gold standard with a country not on the gold standard.

    The UK’s problems right now are mostly structural (as detailed in the Project Armageddon report) but if demand ever does become a big problem again (as it soon might, given the state of asset prices right now) there is always the option of monetary stimulus to compensate for fiscal tightening.

  37. We do indeed have more latitude than Greece – but to me the principle remains the same – austerity and cutting deficits cannot work in shrinking economies – and our economy seems inevitably to be shrinking. I don’t think any monetary stimulus will be politically acceptable in terms of fiscal tightening – it seems and indeed is counter intuitive – we cut spending reduce demand cause shrinkage then release cash into the system to deal with reduced demand that fiscal tightening has created – bonkers frankly!

    I cerainly do not think our major problems are structural ( possibly up to 2 – 3% of gdp in deficit is structural so we do have significant structural problems )but the majority of our deficit remains demand induced and demand driven. We cannot tackle structural deficits whilst demand remians static or in decline – the likelihood of such action is in fact to reduce the capacity of the economy rather than tackle structural deficit – essentiallywe reduce the cash deficit but also reduce the size of the economy thereby simply stabilising the structural deficit in a decreasing spiral – very dangerous indeed – though all paths have dangers at present – as I reckon the entire system is broken beyond repair. I think not cutting at present is worth a gamble – if we continue as we are then recession is now unavoidable.

  38. Sad news – Steve Jobs has died aged 56

  39. @ Billy Bob

    “Mr Brown admitted that he was hardly a pin-up politician for stimulus and global action, having lost last year’s election on such a manifesto, saying: “People preferred a more parochial solution, seeing debt as the bigger problem. But I have been proved right.””

    Isn’t it “proven right”? Anyway, I agree with him. And just because he’s a lousy politician doesn’t mean he’s not a brilliant man. As anyone who has ever followed politics for any period of time can tell you, being a great politician and brilliance are not traits that always go together. In fact, while not mutually exclusive, it’s rare to see them combine together.

  40. Yeah that’s right. Debt’s not a problem. Sheesh..

  41. @ Peter Bell

    “Sad news – Steve Jobs has died aged 56”

    It is sad news. It’s weird, I just was reading about him yesterday in a book (this interview of Apple’s cofounder).

  42. @ Iceman

    “Brown has been proved right – the deficit was a product of recession and the only method of cutting it was to establish growth and sustain recovery – with the exception of Obama, no other world leader understood the nature of the debt and its consequent solution and Obama proved horribly weak when placed under any stress and showed no effective economic leadership.”

    I wouldn’t say he’s showed no effective economic leadership. I think the problem with him is that a lot of economic policies have been half-measures and patches. They’ve been symptom relief for a bacterial infection. What’s problematic also is that many of the measures put into place are temporary. Whether they’re tax credits or loan programs or whatever, they all have expiration dates. No one can place any longterm reliance on them.

  43. @ Neil A

    “Yeah that’s right. Debt’s not a problem. Sheesh..”

    Have you ever heard of the state action doctrine?

    More importantly, being a man of the law, do you even have such a principle in the UK?

    Anyway, the individual citizen and the state are different entities and have different responsibilities and different needs and priorities and restrictions. Having a lot of personal debt for an individual is a bad thing (though sometimes it can be good or at least neccessary) while having a lot of debt for the government can be a good and positive thing (though not always). You can’t judge both by the same standards.

  44. Following what was reportedly a hostile reception for Murdo Fraser at the Tory Conference, his main opponent Ruth Davidson has just gone FAV for the first time with the bookies.

    William Hill are not publishing prices at the moment (hopefully back during office hours today), but here are the best available prices:

    Ruth Davidson (Cameron’s pick) 8/11 (from 11/10) Stan James
    Murdo Fraser (Rifkind’s pick) 6/4 (from 6/5) Stan James
    Jackson Carlaw 10/1 Paddy Power
    Margaret Mitchell 25/1 Paddy Power

    Mitchell would not be value even at 500/1. She has got precisely zero chance. Carlaw’s price could come in, but I’m not going to be putting a penny on him.

    I have a nice sum on Davidson at a good price, but I am intending on placing a very modest hedge on Fraser when the price is right.

    I have very little knowledge of the candidates. The only one I have ever spoken to is Fraser, and that was many moons ago (we were canvassing the same street in Forfar). However, based on my limited knowledge, I would summarise the candidates thus:

    Mitchell – Scottish assembly abolitionist (an opinion shared by less than 10% of the electorate)
    Davidson – a true Cameron Conservative, distrusted by “Proper Tories”
    Carlaw – a “Proper Tory”
    Fraser – a dreamer

    Davidson might win this by a country mile by the time the votes of the 8,500 members are counted.

  45. @ John B Dick

    “There is unostentatious wealt in Edinburgh and long term unemployment in Glasgow. Rural poverty is less obvious because it is not seen but high transport costs and available public transport are important factorss.

    “I watched this interesting documentary segment on the Clyde River shipbuilders …”

    Jimmy Reid, who died recently, lived on this island and ended hisdays as a member of the SNP.”

    I noticed that (and liked that) about Edinburgh.

    There was a speech by a leader of this work-in who instructed union members that there would be no violence, no slacking off, and “no bevying” (which apparently means no drinking). It kinda reminds me of the scene in the film Milk where Harvey Milk (who’s dropped his early 70’s hippie look and is now clean shaven and in a suit and tie) explains to Scott Smith that as part of his new campaign, there will be “no more pot, no more bathhouses.”

  46. There has also been movement at the Next Labour Leader market, with Baillie drifting (she has not even announced whether or not she is standing), and Harris shortening a tad (anyone putting their beer tokens on Harris needs their head felt IMHO).

    Ken Mackintosh (Murphy’s pick) 5/4 Stan James
    Johann Lamont (current Deputy Leader) 2/1 SJ
    Jackie Baillie (not yet declared) 5/2 Paddy Power
    Sarah Boyack (not yet declared) 6/1 Paddy Power
    Tom Harris (London media’s favourite) 8/1 PP and SJ
    John Park 10/1 PP
    Richard Baker 16/1 SJ
    Malcolm Chisholm 16/1 PP and SJ
    Jim Murphy 16/1 SJ

    If the number of declared candidates remains at 3 (Mackintosh, Lamont and Harris) then I expect Mackintosh’s price to shorten dramatically. If Baillie enters the race then it is all up in the air.

    I just cannot see them picking Lamont. She looks like a car crash waiting to happen. Mind you, in their current state of distress and duress, the Scottish Labourites could be highly irrational and thus unpredictable.

    If they do pick Lamont then we could have the fascinating scenario of FM Salmond vs 2 Glaswegian women (Lamont and Davidson) at FMQ’s. It would have to be an improvement on the dire fayre provided by the man from East Lothian, although the Renfrewshire lass was often value for money.

  47. @ Stuart Dickson

    “Ken Mackintosh (Murphy’s pick) 5/4 Stan James”

    Is he Murphy’s pick? If JM were to ever lead the Labour Party, it might be a strategic mistake to have Mackintosh leading Scottish Labour.

    “Davidson – a true Cameron Conservative, distrusted by “Proper Tories”
    Carlaw – a “Proper Tory””

    I assume that those who can vote on this are members of the party who are “proper Tories.” Won’t they pick one of their own over a Cameron favorite?

  48. I forgot to mention the reason that Harris is a no-hoper: it is because Anas Sarwar (the son of multi-millionaire former MP Mohammad Sarwar) is a shoo-in for the Deputy Leader election.

    So, if MP Sarwar is Deputy, and MP Harris was Leader, who on earth would be posing questions every week to Salmond at FMQs? It is a complete no-brainer: Harris hasn’t got the faintest, because Scottish Labour need an MSP up there battling with Salmond.

  49. Social Liberal,

    It is behind their paywall, but Lorraine Davidson (the former John Smith House press supremo) wrote in The Times a few days ago: “… some on the left of the party believe that Jim Murphy, the Shadow Defence Secretary, is trying to control the Scottish party by ensuring that his allies — Ken Macintosh, who is running for the leadership, and Mr Sarwar — land the key roles.”

    Now, I am no fan of La Davidson, but I will concede that her knowledge of internal Scottish Labour politics is ten thousand times better than mine (and dare I say, yours ;)

    On your second point, it is a very interesting question just how many “Proper Tories” there are in the Scottish Conservative Party. Like the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the party base – the ordinary membership – has become more and more anglicised as the Scottish members have slowly died off and drifted away (especially acute in the case of the SLDs). Therefore, a huge percentage of the remaining SCP and SLD membership base are people who have moved up to Scotland from England.

    According to the Registrar General, only about 7% of the general population in Scotland are English, but I would wager that at least 50% of the SLD membership, and at least a third of the SCP membership are English. This has an immense effect on their internal political strife.

    I just feel that there are too few “Scottish” Tories left in the party to allow Murdo Fraser’s “Bavaria” plan to work. He could well finish in 3rd place, behind both Davidson and Carlaw,

    The old Unionist MP and Governor General of Canada, John Buchan (of “I believe every Scotsman should be a Scottish nationalist” and “The Thirty-Nine Steps” fame), must be turning in his grave.

  50. Talking of The Times and its paywall, they have a cracker of a story today too:

    ‘Spin-doctor suspended as bias claim rocks Tories’

    – “The Scottish Tories’ head of media was suspended last night amid allegations of “systematic party bias” in favour of one of the candidates in the party leadership contest.
    Ramsay Jones, who speaks for the party at Holyrood, was temporarily relieved of his duties, pending a full investigation by Andrew Fulton, the Conservative Party chairman in Scotland.
    The dramatic devlopment added a new twist to an increasingly bitter contest and came after reports that Mr Jones had been advising Ruth Davidson, the youngest of four candidates seeking to become party leader north of the Border in succession to Annabel Goldie, who is standing down. Senior Tory sources claimed that the suspension of Mr Jones had thrown the entire contest into turmoil and one senior MSP even speculated that it could lead to the race, the outcome of which is due to be known on November 4, being put on hold.”

    “Put on hold” !?!

    Ouch! :D

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