We don’t normally get any polls on Friday nights (it’s my night off, dammit, hence this will be a very short post!), but there is a new ComRes online poll in tomorrow’s Independent. Topline figures are CON 34%(nc), LAB 39%(-1), LDEM 10%(-1), Others 17%(+2) – changes are from their poll last weekend in the Independent on Sunday. The poll was conducted between Wednesday and today, so will be after the revelations about Jeremy Hunt and the news that the country in back in recession.

On the specifics of Jeremy Hunt, 63% agreed with a statement that Mr Hunt should resign in the light of revelations that his office was secretly passing information to News Corporation during its bid to take over BSkyB, 12% disagreed.

154 Responses to “ComRes/Indy – CON 34, LAB 39, LDEM 10”

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  1. Robert – “Hmmm. I’ve noticed that. It’s called being partisan; one’s side can do no wrong.”

    Indeed, it’s why I strongly discourage people expressing their own opinion on these things. It’s predictable and dull to find the people you’d expect crying out how indescribably awful it is and how the government will all have to immediately resign and commit ritual suicide, and the people on the otherside claiming it is the most unserious and puffed up issue ever invented by the media.

    Of course one can’t blame the politicians on the other side – it is their job – but this is a venue to talk about polling and politics as non-partisan observers, not a venue for people to take part in politics. People should take that elsewhere

  2. I’m not sure there is any comparison between Ken setting up a company to receive his public speaking earnings (he will be freelance, not employed, after all) and Hunt (allegedly) providing acces to NI to grease the passage of the bSkyb bid.

    Sure we are partisan, many of us, and I would enjoy Boris’s discomfort more even if it was unfair. But let’s make some attempt to compare like with like.

  3. AW

    Does the fact that 2/3rds of those polled think Hunt should go carry any weight? Will the Government look at those figures and quail?

    Does the public ever think an accused politician should NOT resign?

  4. So far DC has been reluctant to do anything that might expose evidence of DC securing support of NI for the 2010 GE by agreeing to look favourably on the sale of BSkyB.

    I think the game is up for DC and this Gov.

    What are the odds on a GE this year?

  5. AW

    Oops, my last post was before I saw your most recent comment.

  6. Nick

    If I thought that you would happily substitute Boris for Ken in your post & a Labour politician of your choice in place of Hunt, if the boots were on the other feet, then I would happily believe you to be non-partisan. I suspect I might be the only one though. :)

  7. It is worthwhile to reflect on the London mayor election and see if there is anything there that might have relevance to a GE.

    Despite Lab being ahead of Con VI across London, BoJo is likely to win the mayoral election. This might partly be due to his personality (I like him, too) and also partly due to negativity surrounding KL (eg tax affairs). Both these things favour BoJo.

    So, in a straight GE contest featuring DC and EM, we might have DC damaged by links to NI, but EM hindered by his personality/looks.

    Of course…were the Cons to replace DC, their prospects of victory would surely be enhanced. It’s a shame BoJo will be mayor…

  8. robert

    My colours are displayed. My point was one of proportionality. Ken may or may not have avoided tax but it was certainly legal. Hunt’s alleged offence is of another order altogether.

    [Arguing over whose side is worse can never lead to anything other than silly partisan whatabouterry, please desist – AW]

  9. I’ll try to keep this non-partisan – I don’t think anything will happen with Jeremy Hunt until after the local elections.
    The Conservatives don’t want ‘minister resigns’ headlines just days before the elections, so any action will probably be delayed until after that point.

    Lots of talk of ‘elections that never were’ with the Lib-Lab split – threw together some quick figures –
    % of the electorate –
    1979 –
    Con – 33.3%, Lab – 28.1%, Lib – 10.5%
    1983 –
    Con – 30.8%, Lab+SDP – 28.5%, Lib – 11.2%
    1987 –
    Con – 31.9%, Lab+SDP – 30.6%, Lib – 11.3%
    1992 –
    Con – 32.6%, Lab+SDP – 32.4%, Lib – 10.5%

    Lab+SDP for 1992 derived using the ‘rough guess’ method –
    45.5% of Alliance voters were SDP in 1983, 43% in 1987, so a rough guess of 41% (as more SDP return to Labour) for 1992.

    Seems like a reasonable recovery rate for an opposition party – but obviously these are ‘quick and rough’ figures – and if SDP+Lab hadn’t split (by modernising earlier), it would have been a different set of elections with a different set of political assumptions, etc

  10. Is it 49% of tory voters that say Hunt should resign? Not looking good!

  11. mmmm….

    A interesting new analysis of those much discussed Thirties-and of Chamberlain when he was CoE.



  12. @Colin

    I see the report you’ve provided the link to in your earlier post was produced by the Centre for Policy Studies and authored by the former Economics editor of the Daily Telegraph. Now, I know you wouldn’t want any of your readers to be misled into thinking that this was a wholly objective report provided by independently minded economists, so it may be helpful to remind people about who the Centre for Policy Studies are. The studiously non political Wikipedia defines them as follows: –

    “The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is a British right wing policy think tank whose goal is to promote coherent and practical public policy, to roll back the state, reform public services, support communities, and challenge threats to Britain’s independence. Although identified as non-partisan, the Centre has strong historical links to the Conservative Party.”

    I will shortly enlighten all the people on this fine, non-partisan website dedicated to opinion polling with the Fabian Society’s thoughts about Thatcherism!! lol

  13. I think people are missing the trick with the Hunt scandal. Cameron has shown almost Alex Salmond levels of politrickery here. What has been dominating the headlines? Hunt. What hasn’t? The double-dip recession.

    I think in the long term, a story about “a rogue minister” (which is what he’ll be branded as), who will be made to resign soon (not partisan – I would expect both parties to order him to resign on principle), is a whole lot better than losing their credibility on the economy.

    If they can hold off with Hunt until after the locals, then the story will be about the local election and London mayor, not the economy, then they can turf Hunt out when it’ll cause less of a fuss.

  14. Amber,

    Thank you, you are (as ever) very sweet.

    I am far too hungover to talk about polling today, you may be pleased to know.

  15. COLIN.
    Thanks for the link.
    Despite the fact that the CPS has produced this document, the picture of the 1930’s here is a corrective to the 1930’s immiseration analysis.
    Chris Cook and Alan Sked wrote a very good History of the 1930’s many years ago on a similar theme.

    The 1945 Election result, however, was in part, I think, caused by memories of the 1930.s since the Old Industrial areas went to Labour, but also the more peoples prosperous areas who took in the evacuee children during the War were shocked by the poverty and diseases suffered by our people. Under Chamberlain all this happened.
    Harold Macmillan and Ted Heath and Ian Mcleod were all critical of Toryism in the 1930.s.

    Chamberlain was the architect of Munich also. The clip of the English Soccer Team giving the Nazi Salute under the orders of the FA, who were under the orders of the GB Government is also shocking. Stanley Matthews is in that team.

  16. That should have readL ‘peoples in more prosperous areas’
    who took in evacuees.

    Wimbledon went Labour in 1945, for example.

    Is there a facility on UKPR for switching off very partisan adverts please? I am sure there is, but I am a bit techno-slow.
    The adverts always seem to be pro Boris.
    Many thanks for this

  17. ChrisLane – in the same sense that, is there a way of getting goods from shops without paying? I’m sure there is, but it is effectively stealing from me, so I’d hardly recommend it.

  18. “@Anthony Wells

    ChrisLane – in the same sense that, is there a way of getting goods from shops without paying? I’m sure there is, but it is effectively stealing from me, so I’d hardly recommend it.”

    Does that mean that as ‘customers’ of UKPR, as the customer is always right, they would be entitled to be as partisan as they liked ?

    Perhaps Boris has a much larger budget for his campaign than Ken, leaving Ken unable to afford the reasonable rates charged by UKPR ?
    Only joking. I am sure that as the shopkeeper, you would entitled to choose who you served.

  19. The more I reflect on the whole Hunt situation, the more I think he should stay, IF he believes that he has made all of his decisions related to BskyB completely properly and didn’t know the full nature of his aides briefings. It’s perfectly legitimate for briefings on procedure to take place and even expected in such a large case, it’s the whole image that the constant message was more a “we’re on your side Murdoch” which raises concerns, even if he wasn’t.

    The man is willing to testify and disclose all the evidence, I think he should be heard instead of certain sections of the media controlling his fate. Isn’t this the whole problem with the media having too much power?

    The accusations so far that Murdoch’s bid was going to be a slamdunk thanks to Hunt, when as far as I can see 4 decisions made, 4 decisions he took and followed independent advice and were those that Murdoch didn’t want.

    The accusations that he was simply going through the motions with the full intent of giving Murdoch everything on a silver platter regardless of the decision he should have made are baseless, mostly partisan ravings (or from the tinfoil hat wearing “everything is a conspiracy” brigade, with a generous union of those two sets)

    On the other hand, IF Jeremy Hunt made decisions that favoured Murdoch that he wouldn’t have made towards another media company, or knew his aide was acting improperly with his dealings with Fred Michel (how far those actually went, has to be determined. Fred’s messages to his master could be highly exaggerated) he should come clean and resign now. It might be easier for him to resign now in any case but if the man chooses to take on the court of the media and public opinion with his side of the story, I can’t fault him for not buckling.

    I suspect there is a strong element of fabrication here as if Frederic lied 54 times about meeting Hunt he probably “embellished” other “facts”. How far things went has yet to be determined, although they certainly SHOULD be determined.

    If Hunt resigns now the media will have a field day and everyone will assume the worst and Hunt was entirely corrupt, kicked cats on the weekends and stole sweets from little children. If he can show the worst of his crimes was that he failed to keep proper control over his aides (which could still full well be a resigning situation if it was due to ignorance rather than his aide not disclosing the nature of the interactions when asked)

    The truth is likely somewhere in between (it usually is) and he shares some blame in the matter. The charges against him are so grim that I can understand why he wants to clear his name of those, even if he is guilty of not keeping track of his aide properly. To resign now it tantamount to pleading guilty to anything and everything anyone wishes to throw onto the pile of charges.

    As stated above, if there are concerns about the power of the media in this country then one thing that needs to stop is the media’s ability to force a resignation before all sides are heard and a considered deliberation is made. It’s not ok because it’s “your Media and not Murdoch” giving Hunt a kicking, as long as the media have the ability to force a resignation through simple prejudice and exerting constant pressure, politicians will always seek to keep “onside” of as much of the media as possible, Murdoch included.

    I guess it’s easier for people to read the headlines and make up their decision from those rather than wait for the facts which is why the media have such power in the first place.

  20. So why not refer it to the independent adviser as is supposed to happen?

  21. ANTHONY.
    Many thanks for that advice.

  22. @AW

    Is there anywhere on this site that holds older polling data? Going back to 1979 say.

    Or any other site that might hold that information?

  23. Good post Alan

    I agree very much with your 3rd & 4th paras.

    Michel self-admittedly used”Hunt” as a catchall to refer to Hunt’s Department, rather than the Minister himself.

    But, given the sheer volume of alleged email exchanges between Hunt’s dept & Michel, accepting the propositions that they were conducted via Hunt’s adviser, rather than Hunt himself , AND that Hunt was unaware of them , either indicates a MInister who was so obsessed with being impartial that he only made decisions Murdoch wouldn’t like , and refused to communicate directly with NI ( Hunt’s defence) -or a MInister who used his aide as a proxy by stealth -or a Minister who wasn’t in control of his Department.

    Someone , somewhere has to find out which it was.

    Either way, if Hunt is responsible under the Ministerial Code for his adviser-then he must account for what appears to have been a running commentary on progress for NI-even if he didn’t provide it personally.

    I am willing to believe that Hunt was conscious ( unlike Cable) of his own preferences, when he was landed with this responsibility & has tried to act at arms length through third party advice.

    But no one is convinced-so it has to be examined.

  24. “Only joking. I am sure that as the shopkeeper, you would entitled to choose who you served.”

    I don’t pick or choose the advertisers at all (or indeed, deal with them at all, it’s all done by the ad agency and by google)

  25. Gary – for historical voting intention, look at the links down the right hand side of the site.

    For other historical polls, sadly there is no good online source.

  26. what adds?

    dont see any

  27. I agree with some posters that EM focusing exclusively on the Hunt story , rather than the economy may hurt EM somewhat in next week’s elections. Or at least stymie their momentum.

    The economy is where elections are won and lost, and that is hardly a suprise when it is the aspect of policy that affects the most people. While the Hunt story is a big one, it doesn’t really affect the lived of the general public.

    Also, most recent polling has tended to see the Tories as being closer to the rich. But most polling on the Tories always shows this. Just as Labour polling shows them as being closer to the unions. This was even so under Tony Blair. I therefore don’t think a story where the main allegation is that a government minister favoured a very rich lobbyist in approving the lobbyist’s company’s takeover/merger of a very large plc (which,in any,event was not approved) is likely to dissuade Tory voters fron voting Conservative.

  28. @AW

    Google do make it quite easy to exclude sites you do not wish to take advertising for. Go to the “Allow & Block Ads” tab. Incidentally, the more ad boxes you have on a single page, the more they reduce the income you receive from each one. This is done deliberately. The advertisers have no interest in being lost amidst an overwhelming array of ignored advertising, or sharing space with other advertising networks. You would probably gain more from a single ad-box from a single ad network.

  29. Smukesh

    Male fide, not malafide, surely?

  30. I think EM is calling it right this time…As the polls show, a majority have decided that Hunt should go…Having the Hunt news day after day on the news will depress the Tory vote in this week`s elections…EM will probably turn to the economy after that as he`s hardly going to convince the country in one week that he`s got the goods.

    Cameron is on Andrew Marr this week and am pretty sure that there will be an announcement on Hunt before that

  31. @HAL
    `Male fide, not malafide, surely?`

    Must be my dyslexia

  32. I am not sure about the effect on polling,but what better stick than Murdoch that Milliband could use to beat his opponents both North and South of the border?

  33. Cameron will buy time by announcing that he will (finally) refer the matter to Sir Alex Allen – this will let him delay any decision until the local elections have taken place.

    As someone upthread pointed out – the Hunt affair is hiding the economic mess Osborne has created from attention & whilst I agree that Labour highlighting the Hunt business on account of it being a short-term opportunity, they should also keep talking about Osbornes economy.

  34. According to the BBC, Downing Street is sticking to their line that Hunt should give evidence to the Levenson enquiry before anything else.

    Just adds to the fishy smell, I’m afraid. This should be looked at to see if the code has been breached as soon as possible…by somebody who can look at ALL the evidence. That’s what the post is for.

  35. @NICKP
    `Just adds to the fishy smell, I’m afraid. `

    Already one Tory MP and 3 MP`s have called for Sir Alex Allan to be involved…Why would someone want the smell of sleaze to linger longer?Beats me

  36. *3 Lib Dem MP`s*

  37. NickP,
    I think it’s probably really more simple than that – Hunt may be in technical breach of the code (responsible for his special advisor), but guilty of no actual wrong doing.
    Cameron doesn’t want a scandal before the local/mayoral elections and probably doesn’t want to lose another minister and find someone to replace him.

    There are obviously two big problems with replacing him – firstly you risk picking someone who isn’t up to the job and the other is that due to internal party politics you have to appoint someone that you don’t really want but have to give a position to, to appease a certain wing of the party.
    Not something unique to the Cons – as we saw with the Brownite/Blairite thing in office and now out of office, a lot of appointments are down to internal politics rather than necessarily picking the right person for the job.

    `Hunt may be in technical breach of the code (responsible for his special advisor), but guilty of no actual wrong doing.`

    Actually Hunt has been accused of two other breaches-

    failing to give “accurate and truthful information” to Parliament when he claimed last year to have published all documents and details of all exchanges between the Department of Culture Media and Sport and News Corp.
    -advance details of a parliamentary statement having been passed to News Corp before the Commons had been informed

    The second one of knowingly lying in Parliament is pretty serious…And if Hunt knew that his SPAD had been in contact with Newscorp,even if approved by civil servants then his statement in Parliament that all communications had been published cannot be correct

  39. There were anti-Boris ads a few months ago, but they were much more entertaining.

  40. Smukesh,
    I feel like this is going to go round and round in circles – I was offering a simple and likely scenario for how he could be technically guilty but not an active participant in what went on to counterbalance the idea that conspiracy is the only option.
    He could have fixed the deal for Murdoch – he might not have.

    And as much as I’m quite happy with another Tory minister mired in scandal, this isn’t actually going to go anywhere until someone investigates – so I’m just going to end by saying that I’m not going to discuss this any longer.

    And hopefully to shunt the topic elsewhere…

    YouGov prediction
    Lab 43, Con 31, Lib 9

    Just to point out that someone passively allowing something inappropriate to occur may be equally guilty

    And having been moderated,I shall restrict myself to polling…And to warm the hearts of Tory friends,C-43,L-31,LD-11

  42. NickP

    “According to the BBC, Downing Street is sticking to their line that Hunt should give evidence to the Levenson enquiry before anything else.”

    I’m no apologist for the coalition and I’m as likely to make an excitable party point as any but looking at this in the round two things strike me.

    The first which I’ve mentioned before is the lamentable lack of ministers’ sense of political responsibility for the actions of those for whom they’re directly responsible.

    Mr Hunt is not a bad person. He may be a good secretary of state for all I know. But he repeats the errors of the past and is merely the latest, neither last not first to do so. I guess because part of all politicians’ necessary vanity to believe things will be different for them they never see it’s really the same.

    It seems to me that ministers since the Wilson governments have wanted political advisers. That being the case ministers alone – not civil servants – can alone be responsible for them and for their actions.

    If ministers’ political advisers are so poorly managed that they act without due judgement or diligence or speak beyond their brief, then that is the ministers’ direct responsibility.

    However, our modern politicians of all parties are trained by PR advisers to say they take responsibility as if it’s some magic spell and that nothing further is required of them.

    Then they all end looking mendacious or foolish or both.

    Good advice is wasted upon them and upon Prime Ministers who always after a little time in power come to see these struggles as a proxy for a trial of strength between them and the Media. That we should find Mr Cameron in this place should come to us as no surprise.

    However, my second point would be that Mr Cameron is beginning to show a lack of touch on these matters that blow up quickly. He brilliant when he’s scripted and certain, but as with Leveson to begin with; since with Fox; and over pasties and other hot sundries he doesn’t always grasp the detail behind the story and therefore doesn’t see where its going. He should never have placed himself in the situation where Leveson would be forced to publicly contradict him over Hunt.

    I think if I were I running No. 10 I’d say he is missing Andy Coulson and needs to find someone who can play that part for him….it’s now making him very vulnerable to his opponents and that is never good and especially so when the going is going to get tough…

    All this reinforces the impression that the government has something to hide or is in the pocket of vested interests. Both may be false and wholly untrue but public impressions are usually defining in politics – as even Mr Salmond is finding out as billionaires like Murdoch & Trump tarnish his integrity.

  43. Because Tory VI always improves at the weekend, I predict:

    Lab 46 Con 30 Lib 9 UKIP 10

  44. Oh shucks I am in moderation on LDV again for pointing out that Boris Johnson is not the all-round great guy the LD membership seem to think he is. The LD candidate, who is the best of the bunch, seems to be second favorite with them!

    The LD are now Tories is all but name so I think anyone who suggests that there will be a Coalition between LD and Labour after the next election are wrong.

    I look forward to seeing a rump break off that I can vote for

  45. Has anyone read Clarkson in The Sun this morning about Leveson?

    I laughed out loud in the barbers this morning.

  46. Colin

    “The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is a British right wing policy think tank whose goal is to promote coherent and practical public policy, to roll back the state, reform public services, support communities, and challenge threats to Britain’s independence.”

    Perhaps the government isn’t listening to them, but otherwise they assume responsiblity for the government’s policy mistakes.

    Either way they have failed.

    I see no evidence of a preponderence of Coherent and Practical policies in practice.

  47. BAZSC
    `The LD candidate, who is the best of the bunch`

    I agree

  48. @Alan – “The accusations that he was simply going through the motions with the full intent of giving Murdoch everything on a silver platter regardless of the decision he should have made are baseless, mostly partisan ravings (or from the tinfoil hat wearing “everything is a conspiracy” brigade, with a generous union of those two sets)”

    I think a central point is being missed here. It’s worth recalling that Vince Cable was relieved of his duties in this case, because he said something about his attitude to NI that was recorded by journalists. Note that there was absolutely no evidence that Cable had actually done anything relating to the bid in any way appropriate – he merely stated a personal view over Murdoch. This was sufficient to bar him from the role.

    Cameron then calls in Hunt, and frankly, this was where the mistake was made. Hunt had previously made it abundantly clear, in public as well as private, what his thoughts regarding Murdoch and NI were. As plainly biased as Cable was, there is no way he should have been given the case.

    Osborne lobbied DC to hand the case to Hunt, as he lobbied for Coulson, and Tory backbenchers are again laying into Osborne for this.

    If Hunt was as intelligent and squeaky clean as his supporters make out, he would have immediately told DC that he was not in a position to adjudicate the bid. Everything else that followed points to a complete failure of due process in his department at best, something that in the old days would have sufficient alone for a minister to resign over.

  49. JBD

    @”I see no evidence of a preponderence of Coherent and Practical policies in practice.”

    I know you don’t.

    You really don’t need to tell me.

    Your view is your view-it isn’t one I share.

    End of. :-)

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