Last night’s YouGov poll for the Sun showed the Conservatives at 39%, Labour at 40% and the Liberal Democrats on 10%. Two polls in a row with the lowest Labour lead from YouGov since early September suggest there has indeed been an impact on voting intention from the veto, though how long this lasts for is a different question. At minus 19, government approval is also at its most positive since May.

The rest of the poll with YouGov’s questions on the European summit are now up here. 58% of people think Cameron was right to use the veto, compared to 21% who think he was wrong. Tory voters overwhelmingly back him (87% to 3%), Lib Dem voters by 47% to 36%, Labour voters are evenly split (38% to 39%).

53% think the veto was a sign of strength, 17% think it was a sign of weakness – this is probably the most important area. Europe itself is an issue of relatively low salience, although taking a tougher stand will no doubt firm up traditional Tory votes and act against Tory votes drifting to UKIP (who are down to 4% in this latest poll), what would have a wider impact is any longer term difference it makes to perceptions of Cameron’s leadership. Does it result in him being perceived as stronger, more likely to stick to what he believes in, more trusted (or indeed, less competent or efficent or whatever)?

While the public back the veto, people are more pessimistic on whether the outcome of the summit is good or bad for Britain. 31% think it is bad for Britain, 24% good for Britain, 45% neither or don’t know. The apparent contradiction between supporting the veto but thinking it is bad for Britain is because while 38% think that the veto was a good outcome, 20% think it is bad but that Cameron had no choice given other countries wouldn’t compromise. 24% think Cameron should have signed the deal or been able to negotiate a better one.

51% of people think that using the veto has decreased British influence in Europe. 63% of people think that the outcome of the summit leaves Britain isolated from other EU countries… however, most of those saying this (35% to 28%) think that this is a *good* thing.

51% of people say they trust David Cameron to look after Britain’s interests in Europe, compared to 40% who do not. In comparison, 32% would trust Ed Miliband, 52% would not. 22% trust Nick Clegg, 67% would not. The perception is that Tory backbenchers have far more influence over the government’s European policy than Clegg does – 61% think that Eurosceptic backbench Tory MPs have influence over the government’s European policy, only 31% think that Nick Clegg has influence over it.

Looking forwards, 44% of people think the veto makes it more likely that Britain will leave the European Union (5% less likely, 33% no difference), however this is still not seen as likely. 61% think Britain will probably still be a member of the EU in 10 years time, 23% think Britain probably won’t. Asked how they would vote in a referendum on EU membership, 43% would vote to leave, 36% would vote to remain a member.

183 Responses to “YouGov polling on the veto”

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  1. frank g

    “My original discussion with NickP concerned a 40% of LD GE2010 going to Lab. My examples for the 7/8 was used to show NickP how he cannot take that assumption that 40% of LD GE2010 has gone to Lab in isolation without also taking into account that % of LD 2010 that has also gone to Con.”

    But what I’m arguing is that, all the other movements balancing each other out, what has happened is a chunk of LD votes have gone to Lab. Yes there are movements to and for elsewhere but essentially the change from 2010 adds up to a chunk from LD to Lab.

  2. @richard in norway

    “David was asking for decisions in certain areas to be made unanimously instead of by qualified majority voting, in effect a veto, that all countries would have this veto is besides the point, cos it was in areas that the UK felt they had special interests.”

    It most certainly is not besides the point! That DC wanted every country to have the veto in certain areas is extremely laudable. Barrosa tried to give the impression that DC wanted the power of veto only for the UK, that is very wrong and biassed.

    QMV is designed to allow a substantial number of EU member countries to over-ride the special interests and concerns of individual EU countries. In the context of the proposed ‘Treaty within a Treaty’ to have agreed would have effectively given away all our safeguards and yet more of our sovereignty. It had to be a ‘Treaty within a Treaty’ because the Germany/France bloc knew it would never get passed by all individual countries as a formal Treaty change. It was an attempt to yet again by-pass democratic procedures and the current built-in EU procedures.

    Other countries have used their special interests to prevent EU actions. For example Mertle has blocked the idea of using the ECB to sort out EZ financies, has blocked printing more Euros, because she does not think they are in Germany’s special interests. Why can some countries use their veto and we cannot.

    IMO this country’s refusal to sign up for this squalid and deceitful attempt to change the treaty by stealth will be fully vindicated and appreciated, once the current leaders of Germany and France have lost their Presidential re-elections.

  3. @ Old Nat

    “As you will realise, the UK doesn’t have a constitution and many issues are governed by conventions or protocols. Of course, Westminster only follows these when it suits them!

    Hence the conflict I referred to earlier that there is a protocol governing Westminster’s policies on Europe, which are supposed to involve discussions with the devolved administrations. On the “veto”, 10 downing St simply said “It’s a reserved matter” (so sod off).

    Legislation can be challenged in the courts. For example, the tobacco companies have been challenging Scottish legislation that they can’t display tobacco products in stores. They lose every time, but continue to appeal so that they can continue to profit by killing people and making others ill and a charge on the public purse.”

    Well I knew about your unwritten constitution but I thought perhaps there might be certain procedures specified in the 1999 Devolution Act or perhaps there were longstanding constitutional understandings.

    The tobacco companies have been far more successful at challening regulatory restrictions against them here (unfortunately). But on what grounds do these tobacco companies challenge the Scottish legislation? I was not aware that legislation could be challenged in a UK court but thought Devolution might create a new loophole.

    So if let’s say, Westminster decides to enact a law forbidding the teaching of any “Scottish Studies” history courses in school (David Cameron decides that these classes are pushing Scots to favor independence). You, the historian and educator, decide to go ahead and teach the Scottish Studies course anyway. You’re promptly arrested. During your trial, can you raise the defense that you are not guilty because the law under which you were arrested is unconstitutional? Can you argue that the law pertains to education and that is an area of legislation that is solely reserved to the Scottish Parliament and that as a result, Westminster had no authority to enact the law?

    The veto situation you bring up is pretty interesting. But I would imagine there being other peices of legislation that have passed out of either Holyrood or Westminster over the last dozen years that have created some kind of conflict where one body turns to the other and says “no, you cant do that! That’s our job!” Or do these things generally get resolved in friendly chats at afternoon tea?

    I could go on ad nauseum about all the tobacco legislation and litigation here. I’m curious to know the bases for their challenges in Scotland.

  4. CRAIG

    “We might if we were gifted a proportional voting system which enables it like Scotland were!”

    Poor wee souls. You think we were “gifted” something by Westminster? If you lie back and allow yourselves to be governed by London rules, then you perhaps need to get some backbone before some self-government would be appropriate.

    The restoration of self-government in Scotland occurred because lots of us worked hard and voted tactically for it over many years.

  5. @NickP

    ” Yes there are movements to and for elsewhere but essentially the change from 2010 adds up to a chunk from LD to Lab.”

    That is definitely something I agree with also. You have used the 40% of GE2010 figure. I would put it much lower.

    Firstly that 40% is with DKs not counted. If you take the 7/8 YouGov poll, as an example, 39% going to Lab is slightly misleading. It is 39% of those giving a VI this time, not 39% of the whole GE2010 LD vote. The true figure is 39 out of 100+9 WNV + 21DKs = 130. Which works out at 28% of the actual GE2010 vote. By ignoring the DKs and WNV the YouGov figures can be misleading and overstate the various subset %s.

  6. SoCalLiberal

    Tobacco litigation

    As far as your fictional case is concerned, Westminster reserves the right to legislate on anything at all, despite devolution. I would need to appeal that my human rights had been violated – not the legitimacy of Westminster to insist that the moon is made of blue cheese.

  7. @ Nick P

    “Blimey. Nelatedly the IMF has realised what Ed Balls said all along. Austerity doesn’t work.”

    Economists finally figured that out here too after seemingly years of screaming about the deficit.

  8. If Labour hadn’t given you devolution/PR you wouldn’t have got it, simple as. There is no chance of Labour or the Tories offering that same chance to England because with that goes their power – something they were never risking by giving you that.

    But ignore the FPTP spoiler effect, the substantial support given to a PR-supporting party, who consequently dropped it when in power, and continue patting yourself on the back as if you’re the only one to try tactical voting and voting elsewhere.



    THere is certainly some suggestion that EZ members were not properly briefed in advance-and didn’t fully understand the UK position.

    I don’t think there is any evidence that DC “villified” EU leaders.

    I think your last para is just the partisan line of the opposition. DC would presumably have agreed to an ammendment to the Lisbon Treaty if Sarkozy & Merkel had accepted his proposed protocol on Majority Voting. That would have clearly triggered a call for a Referendum here -something D has manifestly been trying to avoid.
    As it turned out, Sarkozy;s intransigence allowed DC to avoid an EU Treaty change , whilst ensuring that anything Sarzozy wanted to pull out of the hat would be in an intergovernmental agreement, outwith the Lisbon Treaty.

    I note that you omit any reference to the attitudes of Sarkozy & Merkel or their domestic political objectives

  10. Frank

    Dc didn’t ask for unanimity in agricultural matters, or in engineering matters. Only in financial services matters or was aiming to get rid of QMV altogether? But the real issue is the euro denominated financial products, Dave wanted a guarantee that the lions share of that trade would stay in the city and that it would be regulated by the BoE. This was the whole basis of the pro euro campaign, that the city would lose this trade if we didn’t join the euro and so it has turned out, the ECB wants to have strict control over their currency, THEIR CURRENCY NOT OURS, and frankly I’m not surprised, we knew it was going to happen that one day the issue couldn’t be fudged anymore and they would move to full fiscal union and that means having control over THEIR currency.

  11. @ Old Nat

    “Tobacco litigation

    As far as your fictional case is concerned, Westminster reserves the right to legislate on anything at all, despite devolution. I would need to appeal that my human rights had been violated – not the legitimacy of Westminster to insist that the moon is made of blue cheese.”

    1. Thank you for the link. I’ll have a look at it.

    2. Don’t laugh but these kinds of cases arise all the time here. Despite what you and others may hear (and some right wing Americans may beleive), the challenges to Obamacare aren’t about whether the law violates the tenets of Christianity, individual liberty, and the capitalist spirit and the Court won’t be deciding on whether such legislation is in fact truly Communist. Instead (and the Rachel Maddow show actually explained this well last night), the case centers around whether Congress has the constitutional authority to enact certain provisions of the Obamacare legislation.

    A gangmember was once convicted for carrying a gun near a school in Texas. He was set free by the Supreme Court. Why? Because the federal law he was convicted under was a law that Congress had no authority to enact.

    3. If that fictional case I mentioned happenned here, I would of course add in a First Amendment defense and probably a Due Process defense (they’d probably be more prominent than a Commerce Clause defense). But I brought it up because of course, in Scotland, there is no First Amendment. So in terms of free speech protections, you guys kinda figure it out as you go and that’s a decision really made by Parliament. The Devolution Act, on the other hand, seems to be something you might be able to point to as actual paper in a constitutional challenge.

  12. FRANK G

    @ 8.59 pm.

    Excellent post.

  13. @ NickP and FrankG

    A Chunk of LD to Lab. Yes, there currently is that, but given that it is a net result after much toing and froing.

    However, the methodoloy of taking a proportion of each LD vote in each seat and reallocating it to Labour I think is spurious. It might be fun, because it shows Labour in with a chance in all sorts of unlikely places like Berwick etc. However, the reality is likely to be a very different disrtibution, even if the current haemorrage from LD to Lab holds through to polling day. As I say number crunching like this is fun – but it is a bit like the hyperventilated fun of extrapolating a massive By-election swing in to HoC seats in a GE. It just won’t happen that way. If this transfer holds, what I suspect will happen is that the LD vote will crash to lost deposit level in Labour held seats, and possibly in some Labour/Conservative marginals which will be very useful indeed. However, I suspect in largely rural seats the Labour uplift will be far less than elsewhere, because there is no solid ex-industrial tradition of stacking up behind Labour in those areas to achieve Labour victories. Also, the LDs will narrow any firepower they have to the narrow number of seats they think they can hold, and this will outgun Labour in those sorts of areas since Labour HQ will want to win marginals – not rank outsiders who on paper might win if the chunk were uniform nationally – they know it won’t be, and so the LDs will be free to squeeze like mad as usual in these sorts of seats – it might not be enough for them to hang on – but my guess is there will be almost no seats where Labour come from third to first.

  14. Frank

    Merkel could only block The idea of ECB printing because she had backing from Holland and Finland and some others I think and because it is already a part of the law which set up the euro that printing is not allowed, we helped Germany get that into the setup treaty because we didn’t believe in printing either

  15. Richard in Norway

    I orefer the FTs report on the spat with ECB over euro clearing. :-

    h ttp://

    Not that Frankfurt or Paris have any vested interest of course :-)

  16. @Colin

    I wondered why there was no link to your Open Europe piece… but it does seem to be an exclusively UK eurosceptic think-tank, offering an interpretation as close as possible to the spin we have been offered so far from the government.

    I notice Open Europe are still plugging the line that : “It will be very legally complex for the new group to use EU institutions to enforce the new treaty without the consent of the UK”

    So a bit behind the curve there; the government abandonned this position as untenable today.

  17. Craig

    ” if you’re the only one to try tactical voting and voting elsewhere.”

    As with others – Basques, Catalans, or in Südtirol, it can actually work.

    Of course, you may be so insular as to ignore what happens outwith these islands?

  18. Richard in Norway.

    Its just a trade spat so , since I live in UK , I prefer the jobs to be in London , rather than Paris or Frankfurt .

    h ttp://


    I think Open Europe probably is keen on a variety of reforms to the current EU.

    Which is your prefered EU think tank?-Closed Europe?..NIcolas Sakozy?

  20. tony dean

    “my guess is there will be almost no seats where Labour come from third to first.”

    Your guess is at least as good as mine, probably better.

    But if I’m honest, I believe when this Government goes, I believe Labour are going to get at least a 1997 level landslide with possible added bonus of Lib Dem decline.

    If it happens before the boundary changes the new Labour PM will be able to do what he likes.

    Let chou tremble.


    Here’s your link :-

    h ttp://

    All seems eminently sensible to me -where do you think they have it wrong?

  22. Why would the Catalans, Baques etc need to tactically vote, given they’ve a PR system? See, those might be comparable to where the Scots find themselves today, but that has nothing to do with my contention you quoted – it just seems like an excuse for more of your insufferable conceitedness.

  23. @FrankG – “DC wanted every country to have the veto in certain areas is extremely laudable.”

    You did ask me for links to non-partisan accounts last night (which I provided)… This from the Economist:

    “… this amounted to a big winding-back of the clock for many EU leaders, setting a “horrendous precedent” that could unravel the single market. As they see it, common rules for the common market have been adopted (with few exceptions, such as tax) by QMV ever since the Single European Act approved by Margaret Thatcher in 1986.

    The much-discussed Financial Transactions Tax issue already requires unanimity and therefore could never be imposed on the City of London without Britain’s agreement.

    In simple terms, that means that Britain’s request to move to unanimity was taken as a huge ask that had nothing to do with the subject at hand (saving the euro) or was a sign of bad faith (because it is driven by mistrust regarding future legislation).”


  24. Billy bob

    I read that article and I thought it was quite eurosceptic.

  25. @Colin (9.21)

    Perhaps villified is a bit strong re DC although it is certainly true re the UK press. Having said that, his whole attitude to Merkel and Sarkozy has not helped build relationships in recent months.

    Re your reference to “partisan line of the opposition” Perhaps this shows what the Tories really think of the Lib Dems, I thought we were in coalition!!

    Re Merkozy – I have little time for either but it was DC who came back to the UK crowing about what he had achieved and I am more interested in the UK than Germany or France.

  26. @Richard in norway

    “DC didn’t ask for unanimity in agricultural matters, or in engineering matters.”

    Silly of me – I didn’t realise that the EZ’s financial problems were an agricultural or engineering matter. This ‘Treaty within the Treaty” was meant to deal with the Euro’s financial problems, not the whole of the EU’s plethora of biassed, inefficient and unwieldy regulations and institutions.

    “The ECB wants to have strict control over their currency, THEIR CURRENCY NOT OURS.’

    The ECB does NOT have a currency. The Euro is the currency of the countries that have signed up to it. The ECB is meant for all the EU countries not just the EZ ones. Those Europeans, who want to do away with national countries and form a single sovereign state of the United States of Europe, have longed for the chance to get rid of all individual countries having their own currency. Once you lose your currency, then you effectively lose your sovereignty as Greece has found out. You no longer have full sovereignty.

    The EZ has full control and sovereignty over its currency, the Euro. That is why I do not think that DC should have even been at the Euro saving conference, it is actually not our responsibility or jurisdiction. Yes, we have a strong interest that the Euro should become stable, but it is not part of our currency sovereignty.

    The problems arose because Sarkozy and Mertel tried to make it an EU Treaty matter, not just an EZ matter. They tried to get EU institutions to run and enforce it on all EU wide basis. All countries signing that agreement would lose their financial independence. That is why DC wanted assurances within the proposed agreement, touted under the guise of a Euro financial matter, that the EU institutions would not apply the conditions as an EU financial controlling matter. Hence he wanted the power of veto for all countries if they tried that on. Yes, the areas DC asked particularly about were those DC considered to be of UK’s primary special national interest. But other countries (if they dared stand up to the Sarkozy/Merkel bulldozer), could have asked for exemptions for their own special national interests.

    Try it on is precisely what the EU and its institutions would have done, if they had got DC to sign the UK’s financial independence away.

  27. NICKP…………Read YouGov and weep. :-)

  28. The ECB is meant for all European countries?

  29. The eurozone can not have full control over it currency unless it controls the quantity. You can’t control the quantity without being able to impose limits on the fractional creation of money by financial institutions

  30. I spoke to a lifeling friend who is also a senior SPD member at regional level on the phone last night and I share his view of matters with you….

    “The situation with Great Britain is ridiculous, don’t you think? How can it be that you British are at one moment so angry with your bankers that in your opinion polls you want to punish them, and yet as soon as your Prime Minister wraps them in a Union Jack and says they must be absolutely protected everybody in Britain shouts Hurrah! I now undertsand why you British so love Gilbert & Sullivan farces, it is like the real life of your politics in your country”

    Needless to say I didn’t quite see it his way………..but what did disconcert me was the level of feeling in his voice. The Germans are bemused and angry with us, and clearly think we are inconsistent!

  31. oldnat @ CRAIG

    “We might if we were gifted a proportional voting system which enables it like Scotland were!”

    “Poor wee souls. You think we were “gifted” something by Westminster? ”

    You missed a trick there. The official SNP answer is that in Scotland soverignty comes from the people Declaration of Arbroath etc., etc.

  32. Craig

    “If Labour hadn’t given you devolution/PR you wouldn’t have got it, simple as. There is no chance of Labour or the Tories offering that same chance to England because with that goes their power – something they were never risking by giving you that.”

    The Westminster culture will deliver a functional English parliament, but only when it is too late.

    Too litle to late is the nature of the beast. It is embedded in the culture of the thing. It is rooted in self-congratuatory justification of the irrational but seemingly effective compromises of the 1688
    settlement and comparison of that with the horrors of the violent revolution of these disgusting foreigners the French, who should be more like us as we keep telling them but they won’t listen.

    19thC politicians and historians were as sure of this as they were of the literal truth of Genesis.

    Marxist revolution therefore is not the British way so everything else Socialists propose must be wrong too, mustn’t it?.

    Everything British is superior and that’s why we beat Napoleon and why we should never have given up groats and guineas and mustn’t even consider driving on the right.

    In the real world, Donald Dewars vision that the Home Rule parliament should be the model for the reform of Westminster may yet come to fruition, but not till two generations after Scottish independence.

  33. oldnat @ SoCalLiberal

    “38% want “Devo-Max/Indy-Lite”, but not independence”

    Which would include me, but I want a functional modern, unicameral federal parliament with the same Founding Principles, procedures and standards as the Scottish Parliament.

    I’ll take independence as second best if it is on offer.

    We can annex r-UK a generation after it leaves the EU and becomes a failed state with a disfranchised impoverished and uneducated underclass living in overpriced and overcrowded accommodation unfit for our climate who exist only to service a mega-rich elite with upward social mobility only possible through pop music, reality TV and exceptional prowess in certain sports.

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