Tonight’s YouGov poll has topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10% – full tabs here. This certainly suggests that the five point Labour lead yesterday was indeed an outlier, and that the underlying picture remains the same old neck-and-neck position between Labour and Conservatives.

372 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 40%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%”

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  1. SoCal

    I hate to tell you this but everyone looks at Trump and thinks he’s representative of all Americans. He’d only fit the stereotype better if he were wearing garish bermuda shorts all the time.

    But we do realise that most Americans aren’t like that. :)

  2. @ Roger Mexico

    “I think you’ve got to be careful here. After all if you accept the principle that minorities should be allowed to call themselves what they want, then you have to extend the right to those in the closet.”

    I do? I guess you’re right.

    “Actually what Martyn was referring to stems from something that was discovered in the early days of AIDS epidemiology. There were bisexual men who did not see themselves as gay or bisexual, but engaged in gay sex. Presumably they felt that, because most of the sex they had was with women, they were straight not gay. Hence the need for the use of the clumsy but unambiguous “men who have sex with men”. Incidentally they also found large numbers of self-identifying gay men who had occasional sex with women – another AIDS education issue.”

    Interesting. I think Roy Cohn used to define himself that way.

  3. @ Roger Mexico

    “I hate to tell you this but everyone looks at Trump and thinks he’s representative of all Americans. He’d only fit the stereotype better if he were wearing garish bermuda shorts all the time.

    But we do realise that most Americans aren’t like that. :)”

    By “we”, do you mean UKPR intellectuals or citizens of the Isle of Man or regular Brits?

    Who wears garish Bermuda shorts?

  4. JJB – I know you have been frequenting this site since at least 2 years before the last GE, more on constituency threads, so will recall that until 6 months or so before the last GE this was mainly a ‘righty’ chat-line but as lefties joined a number of righties moved over to PB.
    I think it is fine that as the thread gets longer those who wish to can have ‘interesting’ discussions but it does make cathcing up difficult for those of us who aren’t able to log in for several hours.

  5. Can’t help think Tim Montgomerie has just loaded the bullets into Labour’s gun on the NHS. He is arguing for the abandonment of the NHS bill, not because he doesn’t like it, but because he thinks the public won’t and it will focus discontent onto the Tories.

    While I think he is right, what he doesn’t appear to have appreciated is that this would be the end of trust in Cameron on the NHS. We now know what he wants to do with the NHS, and if the bill is abandoned, whatever he says at the next election won’t be believed. Cameron’s future credibility would end here.

    From where they are, probably the only realistic course is to press on and try to make the reforms work, but as I don’t think they will, Cameron has shafted his party. Walking away now would be to accept you’ll never be trusted on the NHS.

  6. I can’t see Cameron abandoning the NHS Bill, any more than I can see him delaying/reducing the rise the in public sector pension contributions.

    I think he should, but then he would lose the “veto boost” for being strong and his backbenchers would think they could bully him into anything.

    If he looks weak if and when the Coulson thing rears up again he could be dead in the water. I think he will attempt to do a “this toff is not for turning” thing.

  7. Rather than abandoning the NHS reforms, couldn’t Cameron get the bill to a point where it’s unacceptable to the Lords, then ping-pong it between houses of parliament until he ‘has to shelve it’ because ‘the house of Lords will not co-operate’ and then uses that to press on with Lords reform?

    Or delay it until the LibDem spring conference, then get the LibDems to pass a motion calling for it to be scrapped (a motion that has been proposed – assuming the leadership allow it), followed by a joint Clegg-Cameron press conference where Cameron has had to agree to the LibDem’s wishes to keep the coalition going, ‘for the good of the country’?

    I’d imagine that there are quite a few methods they could use to drop the bill without it being an obvious u-turn or damaging the PM.

  8. @NickP

    “If he looks weak if and when the Coulson thing rears up again he could be dead in the water. I think he will attempt to do a “this toff is not for turning” thing.”

    If Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home is right, and he is a political commentator I’ve come to respect over the years, there are 3 Tory Cabinet ministers with serious misgivings about Lansley’s bill who are coming perilously close to breaking ranks and going public with their disquiet. At the moment, they’re confiding in Montgomerie, knowing that he has his finger on the pulse of the Tory rank and file, but this could change with time, especially if they sense Lansley’s current vulnerability is slipping into “dead man walking” territory. At that stage, I suspect he’ll be thrown to the wolves as the party gets into serious damage limitation mode.

    I think, recognising that the party foot soldiers are getting restless and seeing the broad range of opposition to the Bill coming from a host of respected health professional bodies, as well as within his own Cabinet, Cameron will now look for a way out. What his escape route will be, who knows, but he’s too canny a politician to shoot both his political feet at the same time!

    However, as Alec has surmised, he’s in that place that no Prime Minister wants to be; damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. That’s not good politics, whichever way you look at it!

  9. Cameron will find a way out which will limit the damage. Can we play a guessing game on which 3 conservative cabinet ministers?
    Ken Clarke is the obvious one, Phillip Hammond maybe, I am stuck now as the rest are either right wing, close to Cameron or new?

  10. Having promised to protect the NHS before the election,an NHS reorganisation should waited for the second term says a Spectator blog and I competely agree…This episode is becoming a mirror image of the Liam Fox saga…It was very obvious when the story broke that Fox had to go and yet stayed on for more damaging revelations

    With the entire health fraternity,the opposition,some of his coalition and now senior members of his own party opposed,it is difficult to see what would be achieved by carrying on…It is not as if this government hasn`t done `U` turns

  11. JIM JM
    A Labour MP tweeted that George Young was one of them

  12. Moving across the Atlantic – is it curtains for Mittens? Read our analysis of Mit Romney’s travails in the GOP Caucuses – can he come back?
    Follow the link:

  13. h ttp://

    “Labour face ‘meltdown’ after Glasgow Council budget vote”

    “Amid angry exchanges and claims of backroom bullying, the ruling Labour group squeezed through its spending plans by 40 votes to 38.

    The vote came after a slew of Labour councillors who have been deselected prior to May’s council elections resigned prior to the vote yesterday in protest.”

    “However, one of those who has quit, Pollok councillor Tommy Morrison, said “it’s the start of the death throes” of the city council administration. Meanwhile, the SNP said Mr Matheson should resign.”

    “In total, seven former Labour councillors decided to oppose the budget yesterday. But with other councillors reportedly being brought in by taxi in as the scale of the rebellion became clear, Labour managed to get the votes in, narrowly beating the coalition of Labour rebels, SNP, Lib Dems and the sole Tory councillor.”

    I wonder how significant this is for the local elections ahead, and if Glasgow council changes to NoC or SNP, what happens to Scottish Labour in the next 2-3 years?

    I suppose to make a down south comparison, substitute Labour for Conservative, SNP for Labour, and Glasgow for Windsor, or similar.

  14. Statgeek – if posts have more than one link in them they get held for moderation.

    Pete B – the Carswell graph smells *extremely* dodgy and seems to be based on partial data. I didn’t have time to do it yesterday, but anyone has the time they may want to try and relate the data points on that graph to actual polls and try to work out the logic of which polls are included and which are not.

    For example, between the two black arrows all the polls on the Carswell graph apparently show a Conservative lead or neck and neck. During that time there were actually many polls that showed small Labour leads, but they don’t appear on the graph.

  15. @JimJam

    “Ken Clarke is the obvious one, Phillip Hammond maybe, I am stuck now as the rest are either right wing, close to Cameron or new?”

    I’m with you on Clarke, but less sure about Hammond. He was on Question Time last night and unless he’s a very good actor, he appeared to be genuinely supportive of Lansley’s reforms. I didn’t detect any obvious forked tongue but, then again, I’ve been fooled before! My guess would be that the Cabinet dissidents are Ken Clarke, George Young and Jeremy Hunt. Let’s put it another way, Osborne, Hague, Gove, Pickles and May won’t be in their number, that’s for sure!

    Last night’s QT was interesting. My favourite comedian (no, not Anne Leslie) was on, although I prefer his brilliant alter ego Alan Partridge, and he was quietly impressive, although not quite as articulate as I expected him to be. Alistair Campbell was as combative as usual and the perpetual spats between him and Leslie were hilarious. I ended up thinking that they deserved each other entirely (by the way, was I the only one who thought Anne Leslie looked, as Private Eye would say, just a little “tired and emotional”?)

    As always, I thought Shirley Williams was superb and the star of the show. Warm, genuine, gently funny, self-deprecating, almost whimsical at times, what a tragic loss she has been to the Labour Party. I heard her not long ago talking at length about her mother, the famous pacifist Vera Brittain, on Radio 4 and, as I always do when listening to her, I detected a genuine social democratic heart still beating away. I think she left Labour with a great and enduring sadness and I urge Miliband to at least try and beckon her back to her spiritual and emotional home. She remains to this day one of my favourite politicians of all time, despite her current party affiliations. If she hadn’t left Labour along with the Gang of Four in the early 80s, she might just have pipped Barbara Castle in my pantheon of political heroes.

  16. Sir George, yes forgot about him and makes sense.

  17. Prediction. The NHS bill will not be dropped, but the government will agree to major changes to be made in the HOL.

    Andrew Lansley will be forced to reach out to those that are against the bill to negotiate the changes they want to see,

    I cannot see the government dropping the bill, for the simple reason that many of the changes to the NHS are already being implemented. They also have already assumed £20bn of savings to keep spending on NHS increasing in real terms. It is very unlikely that the government has any chance of making these savings, unless they have the support of people that work within the NHS.

  18. ALEC

    I assume that PFI payments do include maintenance-hence to stories about £200 light bulb replacement.

    I agree therefore, that comparing cost of build with total PFI cost is meaningless.

    Without access to compararisons for all the services included in PFI, not to mention the key issue of cost of funding, it is all a bit opaque.

  19. I have to admit, I’ve never really bothered to investigate the NHS changes. I’m not averse to a wider range of providers being in the market to provide services, but I understand that healthcare is a bit of a fragile ecosystem and that meddling with it can have negative consequences. Ultimately so long as I am able to access decent healthcare that is either free or at a small, capped cost, then I don’t really mind how they organise it.

    I don’t think the health service, and healthcare staff, are quite the choir of angels that some people like to think, but I am not convinced that the bill will make any real difference to performance.

    If it’s dropped, it won’t bother me. I suspect the real motivation for the bill was to try and squeeze more productivity out of a system that faces a freeze on spending. The alternatives are either a big budget increase (not really feasible) or a significant reduction in the amount of care provided. WIth health care inflation what it is, the status quo is not the level of care provided in 2009. “Killing the Bill” will not make everything alright. But I am sanguine about that. If I have to pay extra prescription charges or whatever is necessary, it will just be another bit of belt tightening to put with my extra pension payments and my frozen salary.

    I agree with TingedFringe and JimJam. If the Bill is dropped then Cameron will find a way to choreograph it so that it doesn’t look like a straight U-Turn. It would be very useful for Clegg if it was done in a way that made it look like a subtle victory for the LibDems, even if the final straw was actually Tory opposition.

    Most likely, I believe, would be a “postponement” of the reforms pending a large, long-term review “designed to resolve the concerns that have been expressed”. Basically, what happened last time, but a review so deep and wide that it won’t report back until after the next election. You know, like Labour’s higher education funding review.


    @”ouldn’t resist sharing this article, especially when captcha was SNP2 …….Trump’s quotes are priceless…….and the photos of the two protagonists are brilliant…..”

    Sublime-thank you very much .

    :-) :-) :-)

  21. A good reason why private companies shouldn’t be involved in providing state services – they seem to siphon off all the money into their own pockets. Example is the government’s families tsar, Emma Harrison, who is reported to have given herself a £8.6 million dividend (her firm A4e’s UK income is from state contracts) which is 300% up on last year and this is inspite of dismal record of the company’s performance on jobs.

  22. NEILA

    @”I suspect the real motivation for the bill was to try and squeeze more productivity out of a system that faces a freeze on spending.”

    Indeed-by dint of pressure from customer choice & more competition.

    TM is arguing that these very constraints -what he calls the “empty Treasury” will escalate problems for the NHS-but will not be blamed for them.

    The NHS Act -if it becomes law-will be blamed, & thus the Conservative Party.

    He appears to feel, as do a number of commentators I have read, that the mangled , emasculated & fearfully complex Bill which now exists will not in fact address the problems of productivity in the NHS.

    So Cons are on a hiding to nothing-that seems to be TM’s point.

  23. LIZH

    @”dismal record of the company’s performance on jobs.”

    The Commons Public Accounts Committee criticised A4E’s performance on it’s contracts under the Pathways to Work programme.

    That scheme commenced in April 2008, and was scrapped by the current Government in March 2011.

    It has been replaced by The Work Programme.

  24. This is TM’s central point :-

    “The NHS has always gobbled up resources and creaked. The creaking was severe when spending was increasing by 3% or 4% in real terms every year. What do you think it’s going to be like when spending is increasing by 0.1% year-after-year-after-year in this longest ever period of UK-wide austerity? The creaking could have been blamed on the empty Treasury and Labour’s over-borrowing. Not now. It will now be unfairly blamed on the Bill and a Bill that is not only mangled and bureaucratic, but also unnecessary.

    Most observers think that meeting “The Nicholson challenge” – £20 billion of essential efficiency savings – was always going to be nightmarishly difficult but that it didn’t require new legislation. Nearly all of the necessary efficiencies could have been delivered with existing powers. That has certainly been the consistent argument of Stephen Dorrell MP, the influential Chairman of the Commons Health Select Committee.”


  25. @Colin
    If they couldn’t deliver on their last contract what guarantee is there that they can deliver on this contract. The job is basically the same getting people off benefits into work.

  26. LIZH

    I don’t know the terms of the Work Programme contracts.

    We are told that contractors are paid per person who finds a job, with constraints on length of time in that job.

    I don’t know whether A4E’s income under Pathways to Work was based on the 9% outcome alleged by the Select Committee-or the 30% target set by Labour.

    If it was the latter Harrison must have laughed all the way to the Bank.

    If it was the former-and I assume it was-then the criticism is purely about under performance, not over payment…………though of course, unless we know if A4E was remunerated on lax performance criteria, we cannot be certain that “over payment” did not occur.

    I don’t think there is any “guarantee” of outcome-which is why payment by results is of the essence.

    Remember that these contractors fund all up front costs, and the costs of abortive job search.

  27. @Colin/Neil A

    “He appears to feel, as do a number of commentators I have read, that the mangled , emasculated & fearfully complex Bill which now exists will not in fact address the problems of productivity in the NHS.”

    Apparently, the basis of the Bill was drawn up as a blueprint some six years when Lansley was in opposition; in other words a set of policy solutions devised to address problems that existed then and in economic circumstances that were entirely different. My question is this; who allowed this gargantuan and convoluted mess (three times the length of the Bill that created the NHS in 1946) to ever see the light of day. It can’t have been just be to assuage Lansley’s political ego, can it?

  28. This certainly makes you think.

    If over the next 20 years, we start to have people retiring in their late 60’s or early 70’s, what will the consequences of this be ?

    Less opportunities for young people to gain a foot on the jobs ladder ?

    More debt, as young people continue in education doing course, after course and not entering employment ?

    Increased NHS costs, as people struggle to keep working to pay bills including mortgages ?

    Increased costs of benefits, as young people not in employment claim out of work benefits ?

    Increased cost to government of paying for public sector workers while off work sick ? ( If you are expecting some to work into their late 60’s, 70’s, I should imagine there will be an increase in sickness absence levels)

    I am not sure that the government are looking at this issue in the round. It cannot simply be a case, that due to increased life expectancy, that people need to work longer, to pay more into the system. I think that is far too simplistic.

  29. Re the NHS…

    Arguably, DC cannot do a u-turn on this as he has tied himself to the reforms over a long period. Indeed, he ‘listened’ and apparently acted last year.

    And, we should not forget the potential anger within his own party if he abandons the reforms now.

    I’ve also suggested in the past that DC may well ‘see’ himself as the Tory who gets rid of the NHS. He would have a place in Tory history for this act.

    Can DC afford to say “I got it wrong”? That would be hugely damaging for him.

    Perhaps the NHS will bring about the demise of the coalition Gov and hence a GE? Is this what DC wants?

  30. R Huckle

    Totally agree with your comments “It cannot simply be a case, that due to increased life expectancy, that people need to work longer, to pay more into the system. I think that is far too simplistic.”

    We need to give people the chance to retire on state pension at age 60 so that the youngsters in our society can find employment.

    Such a policy is not contrary to the relevant EU Directive (IMO).

  31. @R Huckle,

    Whilst I think there are certainly “offset costs” to people retiring later, I very much doubt that they outweigh the benefits to the public purse.

    Young people may choose to borrow money to do course after course, but they might be better off simply going for a lower paid job than they might have originally anticipated. After all, they will have a few extra years to “get to the top” as they work up to 70.

    And whilst older workers probably do take more sick leave (although I have never seen any statistics – the fact they they seldom go drinking and clubbing to 4am might mean that they don’t), they also generally have more knowledge and experience, and better work habits, than the 20 something workers that would otherwise have replaced them.

    As for whether the health costs of caring for a 68 year old in work are greater than those for a 68 year old retiree? Well, I suppose there may be more opportunity to injure oneself, but I would have thought that overall getting up and going to work, interacting socially, feeling useful etc probably all combine to enhance rather than detract from the health of older workers.

    Clearly, some people will not be able to work later in life, due to illness and disability. They will presumably be entitled to the same disability payments as those under 65 who are unable to work currently get. The increase in the pension age is aimed at those who are fit and well in their 60s.

  32. @Mike N,

    Why don’t we introduce retirement at 40. Huge new opportunities for the young, zero unemployment and a massive boost to the wealth of the country, surely?

  33. Neil A
    I’d not vote for that policy as I’m over 60.

  34. @Mike N,

    There’s no doubt that a climbdown would be very embarrassing for Cameron and for the government, and would probably hit their VI pretty hard.

    But I think what Tingedfringe, JimJam and I are anticipating, if the climbdown happens (very big if) is not that Cameron will say “I was wrong”, but that he will say “It has proved impossible to introduce the reforms in the way we were trying to do”. In the long run I think the NHS will continue to be reformed, even if the next government is Labour.

  35. @Mike,

    Personally, I’m in favour of retirement at 43 (to be brought in at the beginning of April).

  36. @Neil A

    Your job is far too exciting. You will get bored in retirement.

  37. @ Neil A

    Yes there may be some positives for people working to an older age. But on balance, I wonder whether it is beneficial to society.

    The average age for buying a first home is now 38 and is expected to rise to 43 within the next 10 years. This will be partly due to people starting work later in their lives and the ability to save for a deposit. This can mean children living with their parents for a much longer period.

    People are now having children later, with the many issues that apply to older mothers. Younger people out of work, may see having a baby, as a way to obtain additional benefits including a council flat.

    Some professionals may decide to emigrate to countries such as Australia where they can obtain a higher salary and better pension arrangements.

    I could go on, but the point is that at some stage, there is needs to be a review of this whole issue, so that we don’t end up in situation, where the costs are higher and not lower. Costs actual and human.

  38. The idea used to be that shared wealth would lead to more leisure time and comfortable retirement for us all. Twenty years of neo-liberalism and 95% of us have to work till we drop for a pittance while the wealth has been hoovered up by the few. Exactly like those beloved Victorian times that Maggie hankered after.

    Not fair and not what we signed up for.

    I wonder if the Greeks will stand for it? I wonder if we will?

    The thing I find so annoying is the way it is presented: old people get lonely so it is best they go back to work (and sell their houses). I don’t care if old people want to work…but I don’t think they should be forced to so they don’t starve/freeze/can’t afford medicine etc.

  39. Landsley started enacting the changes provided for in the bill over a year ago, and pressed on with them throughout the “pause” during local election season… to pacify LD conference/public opinion etc.

    This was the major wake-up call for Cameron to get a proper policy unit in No 10 last year and establish what was being pushed through by the barons in his cabinet.

    March/April 2011 was Cameron’s opportunity to kill the bill – no doubt he thinks it too late to go back, now that so much expenditure has been commited to the break-up and reinstatement of new structures.

    Given the problems this has caused, and the almighty log-jam of amendments, perhaps there should be some attention paid to where the bill came from in the first place – and who was behind it.

  40. R HUCKLE

    @”I am not sure that the government are looking at this issue in the round. It cannot simply be a case, that due to increased life expectancy, that people need to work longer, to pay more into the system. I think that is far too simplistic.”

    DC has apparently been attracted to the Norwegian system , where retirement is linked to changes in longevity.

    Do you know what outcomes have been in Norway-has it been found too simplistic there?

    Not a trick question-I don’t know the answer.

  41. SoCalLiberal

    By “we”, do you mean UKPR intellectuals or citizens of the Isle of Man or regular Brits?

    Who wears garish Bermuda shorts?

    Well of course us UKPR intellectuals are omniscient, but I actually think that most people (Manx, British or just terrestrial) can distinguish between the the stereotype of the ‘loud American’ tourist, dating back at least to the Fifties, and the real diversity of real US citizens[1]. Our delight in Trump is because nonetheless he fits the stereotype perfectly and apparently unselfconsciously and things such as his less than stellar business record and whatever it is that inhabits his scalp just make it better.

    As to who wears garish bermuda shorts? Well Donald Trump presumably (I value my eyesight too much to do an image search)

    [1] As opposed to Real Americans who are expected to be all the same and not too distant from the stereotype.

  42. CROSSBAT11

    @”gargantuan and convoluted mess”

    Do you happen to know what proportion of the size of this Bill has resulted from amendments following passage through the Lords/

  43. @ Colin

    Pass. As with all pension matters, I suspect it is far more complicated, as there may be other reforms necessary. It is not just a case of looking at the retirement age system of another country, but how their pension system works. Would employers and employees have to pay in a minimum percentage of salary amount ? What protections would be applied to the pension scheme ? Etc etc.

  44. I think going to the public with the argument that “We can’t reverse our position on this bill… We’ve spent lots of your money on implementing it before it was passed!” is a bad idea. It sounds far too much like “Democratic law making costs too much money”.

    Landsley has seriously over-stepped here, and should have been roped back in ages ago. He used enabling legislation that allowed for trial implementation of reorganisation ideas, and used them to start national roll out of a bill still being debated. I’m very sure that there was civil service advice given to him on this, and I can’t imagine it was positive.

    Even should Cameron clean up this mess, the pressure for Landsley to go is high.

  45. R HUCKLE

    Yes-of course those sort of details are important.

    But the principle is even more important.

    I think the Norwegian policy of increasing compulsory retirement age -automatically-with changes in longevity must make sense.

    Indeed they have a law which allows workers to stay in post to age 70 if they wish-three years beyond current state pension age.

    The other factor which is driving this is the age profile of total population .

    For UK , the following forecast for 2033 compares with 2008:-

    Age 0-14 10.8m 12.0m
    Age 15-59 37.0m 39.1m
    Age 60 plus 13.6m 20.5m

    Total 61.4m 71.6m

    Mean age 39.3 42.5

    Those oldies in 2033 will not be able to sustain the retirement arrangements we have today-there won’t be enough working people to pay for them.

  46. @AW

    Cheers for the info.

  47. “… quickly encountered opposition from various interest groups including the Royal College of Physicians. Many Conservative backbench MPs had misgivings about what was being proposed.”

    That was John (Baron) Moore aka Mr Privatisation. Maggie took the health portfolio away from him after 13 months.

  48. @Colin

    Why not start to reduce state pension entitlements for some of those currently receiving or due shortly to receive pensions ? The people I am talking about, are those lucky enough to retire at 60 or 65 who don’t really need the state pension. Yes I am talking about a means test and if you have income above certain levels, then you would actually receive a reduced state pension amount.

    We are talking about fairness in the system between different generations of tax payers and the sustainability of the current system. This being the case, the government should start to make changes asap. If they were brave enough to do this, watch their poll ratings in the 60+ age group drop like a stone.

  49. Perhaps take the state pension away from higher rate tax payers, just as they are planning to take child benefit away from the same group?

  50. So the more you pay in the less you get, thats fair isnt it

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