Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun (£) has some fresh Syria questions, just tweeted out by Tom Newton Dunn and reported on Sky News. The public remain overwhelmingly opposed to British troops being sent into Syria, but more importantly the poll also asked specifically about whether people would support a missile attack on Syria. 50% of people would oppose this course of action, 25% would support it. Even Tories are against missile strikes by 45-33% (Labour voters are against by 54% to 26%, Lib Dems by 47% to 27%)

UPDATE: Tabs are now on the YouGov website here. Regular voting tabs are here – today’s topline figures are CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%.

684 Responses to “YouGov finds public 2 to 1 against missiles strikes on Syria”

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  1. How will all this play out with VI.Surely Clegg has caused the LibDems great

  2. Surprised that Cameron allowed the government to lose such a vote. Polling may show a change to leadership ratings in the coming weeks.

    When Syria is next debated, unless more information is available or more work in done diplomatically, I cannot see the HOC backing UK forces being involved. It will get to a point, where I expect that the UK will be asked to takes sides in a civil war. Choosing between Assad and some of the nutty rebel groups is not really any choice. Unless overwhelming force is applied which would need boots on the ground, after days of bombing air defences and command centres, then I cannot see outside intervention being of any worth.

  3. I am so pleased but very surprised. EM seems far from ‘crap’ now instead he seems very effective at getting his own way. What effect on VI? Probably see over the next few days.

  4. If it wasn’t already, it’s going to acrimonious between DC and EM now…to put it mildly!

    and Clegg, he is the biggest loser. Apparently the meeting with his Lib Dem MPs was a shocker for disunity!

  5. Miliband asked for an assurance that Cameron would not use the royal prerogative to launch an attack on Syria (ie, without consulting parliament) and that instead he would only launch an attack following a Commons vote.

    “I can give that assurance. Let me say, the House has not voted for either motion tonight. I strongly believe in the need for a tough response to the use of chemical weapons, but I also believe in respecting the will of this House of Commons. It is very clear tonight that, while the House has not passed a motion, it is clear to me that the British parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that and the government will act accordingly.”


  6. r huckle “The governments motion will pass by a good 20-30 votes.”

    “The government has lost by 285 votes to 272 – a majority of 13.”

    Nearly as good as my claim that Ken beat Boris.

  7. The system works?

  8. Right now it’s a big win for EM, as he is on the side of public opinion, and bizarrely, from the position of UK opposition he has managed to impact international foreign policy, possibly even US policy. The only real risk for EM is if Assad quickly does something absolutely brazen and even worse that is indisputable. Even then, I still think it would have been wrong to pile in with an attack before the weekend before fully engaging the UN and waiting for the inspectors report. Big wars start with things like that.

    DC does deserve credit for his acceptance though. You couldn’t see Blair accepting this.

  9. This is unprecedented. First parliamentary rejection of US foreign policy for decades. Well done to all those MPs from all parties who stood up for their constituents.

  10. I think this is great news for the UK, that we won’t be expending blood and treasure on another unwinnable illegal war.

    In terms of VI, I think it won’t have much impact. If the motion had passed and Cameron was taking us to war, I suspect this would have harmed him and Ed would get a boost as being opposed, however, as it didn’t actually happen, I think this vote will be forgotten by the general public in a week or two.

    Someone actually doing something unpopular, is always going to have a bigger impact than someone trying to do something unpopular but failing/backing out

  11. Quite a surprising result, but in a way it is probably the best outcome for Cameron, given that he had no chance whatever of winning the second vote whenever it came.

    At least this way he can shrug his shoulders and say “not my problem”, and it draws a line under the issue for him.

    I agree with Rich that Ed M will be hoping and praying that the Syrian regime doesn’t now do something awful.

  12. “It’s clear to me that the British parliament and the British people do not wish to see military action; I get that, and I will act accordingly.”

    It’s as if we’ve acquired a sort of foreign policy that is separate from that of NATO and the US in particular… A sort of foreign policy that is determined by a mix of British goals and domestic political debate… What we might call a “British foreign policy”.

  13. @ Neil A, Rich

    I agree with Rich that Ed M will be hoping and praying that the Syrian regime doesn’t now do something awful.
    I’d like to think that Ed M would be hoping & praying for that anyway!

  14. Neil A,

    If they were a team, Miliband would now have done his job (provided cover for Cameron to stay out of this morass, though he may yet be insufficiently wise to use it) and now Cameron has the difficult job of explaining the last few days to the hawk in the Oval Office.

  15. Anyway, seriously, how exciting was tonight in politics? Don’t get many nights like this. Hammond looks in shock on newsnight.

  16. Gibbon doesn’t mention Douglas Alexander or anyone else (though some have suggested Ed would have a hard time persuading Jack Straw to back an attack), but I wonder who else takes some of the credit:

  17. Rich,I do seem to remember Blair saying that if he lost the vote he would resign.

  18. I’ll take a VI polling punt here.

    Con down a little.
    Lab up a little.

    Cameron up.
    Miliband up.

    Lib down.
    Clegg down.

    Smaller parties down.

    @Spearmint, RE: Auditory etc…I had the volume up, as I was doing something else while listening, since 2.30 I’ll add. Best dose of politics I’ve had since Holyrood 2011.

  19. Gosh what a day! I was naughty stepped early on,deservedly so,BUT l did get the flavour of things,with the Govt losing control of events,Cammo will probly come out of this quite well,Clegg is dead(er) meat and Ed M must surely benefit.

  20. @Amber,

    I thought it was none of our business what Assad does?

  21. The result of the vote is being broadcast on all major US networks. Fox, CNN, MSNBC.

    Good ol Blighty still knows how to throw a spanner in the works ;)

    Proud that we’ve learnt from Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan and won’t be getting involved this time.

    Sorry Obama

  22. Stunning scenes. Michael Gove overheard shouting at Tory rebels outside Commons chamber: “You’re a disgrace, you’re a disgrace”.
    (The Sun’s political editor via twitter)

  23. Bill P

    According to Philip Hammond on NN, its not about the development of an independent British foreign policy. It’s all about the dodgy dossier.

  24. tee hee

    Good thing he recalled Parliament early. Obviously the MPs don’t like losing holidays.

    Personally I think any vote that stops us dropping bombs on people even for “humanitarian” reasons is pretty f*cking sane.

  25. Billy Bob,I found Jack Straws speech very persuasive as he had voted for war
    With Iraq.What an evening!

  26. @Lefty

    Hammond also seems to be confusing his Assads and his Husseins.

  27. @Rich – “and well done for Cameron for accepting defeat. No Royal prerogative…”

    No credit there at all.

    Lets all be honest and celebrate something we should all be able to join together on. Whether or not we like the decision, this vote has, more than any vote I can personally recall, elevated the role of Parliament over the executive. Even if it is the wrong vote, this is a welcome blossoming of democracy, with all it’s joys and faults.

    Were Cameron to use Royal Prerogative on this issue, it would his end, and quite possibly the end of Royal Prerogative. This is designed to allow the executive to act in a timely manner where Parliament can’t operate – it cannot be allowed to over rule the will of the people.

    On the outcome; Cameron now looks very poor – to recall Parliament and lose, is just embarrassing. as I posted before, he has misjudged his party, and no amount of childish insults of Ed can hide that simple fact.

    I didn’t hear his speech, but Clegg sounds like he had a shocker – reaction all round seems to be universally dreadful.

    Ed? Another chemical attack tomorrow puts him in a difficult position, but for now, he’s probably bolstered among his own troops, and on the right side of the public.

    Wider polling? Probably not much change, but it’s a week when the attention came off an improving economy and a struggling opposition leader, so Labour should be most happy.

    What about Assad? I suspect he will be rather happy – not because of what Ed said, but because of what Dave said.
    I have some sympathy for the PM here, as he probably couldn’t really do anything else, but ideally he shouldn’t have explicitly ruled out regime change.

    Legally, he couldn’t state this as the objective, but had Assad seen that this might be the hidden consequence, he would be worried. As it stands, Cameron made it explicit that this wouldn’t happen, so Assad can let his people take a few big hits, and stay in place, with help from the Russians.

    Whichever way you cut this, it’s a complete mess. The complete illogicality of the government position has been exposed, the vote has been lost, and the PM is left thrashing around, untrusted and ineffectual. And Syrians still die.

  28. ^ I noticed Hammond’s slip too, he simply looked in shock.

  29. Lefty Lampton,

    Indirectly and unintentionally, I think Labour did a lot ot revive British foreign policy via the Iraq War.

  30. Alec.
    “Whether or not we like the decision, this vote has, more than any vote I can personally recall, elevated the role of Parliament over the executive. Even if it is the wrong vote, this is a welcome blossoming of democracy, with all it’s joys and faults.”

    Amen. Perhaps we’re starting to put the era of the overmighty executive that repeated landslides gave us, firmly behind us. If tonight means that our Parliament has re-awakened, it would be a historic moment.

  31. @alec,

    Whilst I agree with EMs position,I think your reading of this is wrong. Cameron will come out fine as he has almost fallen on his sword and accepted it, which people will like,he has accepted democracy, which after the almost presidential Blair looks good. EM is the winner still, but I think Cameron will be fine. Clegg is a massive loser. I can almost see his position at stake now.

  32. Bill P.

    Aye, that may well be a fair appraisal. And Hammond’s angle may well be inadvertently reflecting that.

  33. @ Neil A

    I thought it was none of our business what Assad does?
    We can still hope & pray for the people of Syria – that the entire conflict ends soon & they can return to having a ‘normal’ life.

  34. @Alec,

    I know you don’t like Cameron, but I think you’re being grossly unfair. You make it sound like it’s his fault that Syrians are being murdered by their own government.

    Parliament has made it quite clear that they don’t think it’s any concern of ours whether Syrians are murdered by their own government. At least Cameron proposed to do something about it, whether or not it was a worthwhile or effective proposal.

  35. @Maninthemiddle

    I’d love to hear the call when Cameron calls Obama….

    “So David, you promised….”

    “It’s not my fault…but according to Philip it’s all Tony Blair’s fault..”

    “I’d better go, I’ve got a better offer from France…”

  36. @Amber,

    A few dozen more chemical attacks and I’d say they’ll be able to to get back to “normal”. Or at the least half of Syrians that are still in the country and haven’t been poisoned will be.

  37. How many libdem mps rebelled? Does anyone know

  38. “at least the” not “at the least”

  39. While people on here seem to be overjoyed at tonight’s vote and I have a certain sympathy with that POV, I am concerned that contributors to this site and, it seems from the Sun poll, the general public wish to see a total withdrawal from concern re situations in the Middle East and also by other dictators.

    I have not seen any suggestions in the absence of military action how we (the international community) should endeavour to prevent dictators killing their own people.

    Having watched the BBC News at Ten and seen the aftermath of the Napalm? bombing of a school playground in Syria I just can’t accept that we can sit on the sidelines and watch this happen.

  40. @All

    I’m shocked. Never expected Government to.lose the vote. Why did they not just back the Labour motion.

  41. @Alec

    “On the outcome; Cameron now looks very poor – to recall Parliament and lose, is just embarrassing.”

    Alec. Cameron didn’t have to recall parliament. He took the democratic decision, and the system is the winner. He’s probably going to get some flak, but it shouldn’t be from those who vilified him today as some sort of Blair clone.

  42. RiN –

    Labour Whips tweet that 11 LDs rebelled as did 30 Tories.

  43. @Neil A – apologies – my comment about Syrians dying was not intended to be anything to do with Cameron – merely a reflection on the global mess that we currently call Syria. I should have written in in a much clearer manner.

  44. @Peter Bell
    The solution is for those supplying weapons to botg.sides to ease off, and put pressure on their sides to get around the table witg no preconditions

  45. @Rich

    Clegg is a massive loser. I can almost see his position at stake now.

    His position has been at stake for months. However, he will not go until close the next election.

    Who would want the leadership now (before 2015)? It would be like grasping the wheel of the Titanic from Captain Smith after the iceberg was struck.

    Nick will stay, and remain the focus for the venom the Liberal Democrats will face up to 2015.

  46. @Alec,

    Very gracious, thank you.

  47. Obama’s position is much more difficult now, he’s left pursuing a military option which is really unpopular at home and aboard without his major ally and a congress which will be emboldened by events in parliament. I doubt that he would dare go to congress on this now, a lot of the democrats will swing over to the anti position I would expect

  48. I thought rich said “at the stake”

  49. Neil A

    Lots of Syrians have been killed by different groups – we are not talking of benign ‘freedom fighters’ here.

    Cameron misjudged terribly – he brought Parliament back to vote for war and he couldn’t get that through his own party so had this watered down version that he still managed to lose.

    The substantive decision whether to attack or not was on a timetable, just as Iraq was, that lad to massive errors of judgement.

    Don’t blame those who are not persuaded by the sparse evidence at the moment – what harm would waiting a few days do and at least see what the weapon’s inspectors said?

    Your desire for military intervention would have achieved nothing, the army said so and Obama admitted as such. If you really want to see an improvement in Iraq that will mean negotiation and compromise from all. It would also need the destruction of the jihadiists who have been massacring people all over the place.

    What a mess and failure of diplomacy this has been

  50. Good Evening All.
    I had not intended t come back here to comment after a personal attack on me here over the state of State Education provision.
    However it is clear that Ed Miliband will now be seen in a different light, as will Nick and Dave.

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