The Times have a YouGov poll tomorrow asking who people want to see as the next Conservative leader. Now, this is a question that I had got a bit bored of asking over the years: almost always Boris Johnson wins easily – he is the most recognisable of the Tory leadership contenders, obviously the most charismatic, and seems to have swung the trick of getting judged by the standards of a celebrity rather than the standards of a politician. However, in today’s poll he is pipped by Theresa May – 19% of the public think she would be the best candidate for the next leader of the Tories, 18% think Boris Johnson. To put this in context a similar question a week and a half ago had Johnson six points ahead of May, a fortnight ago Johnson was twelve points ahead of May.

This is, I hasten to add, polling of the general public, not of the people who decide. It is the votes of Conservative MPs and the party members that actually count, and they may very well have completely different views. However – part of Boris’s appeal to the Conservative party is his supposed ability to reach out to voters, his charisma and his public popularity are one of his primary selling points. If he isn’t the choice of the wider public… well.

Anyway, the really interesting thing will be if the increase in support for Theresa May among the general public is echoed among the Conservative electorate. For that, however, we will have to wait for some polling of Conservative party members…


1,010 Responses to “YouGov show May and Johnson neck-and-neck as public choice for next Tory leader”

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  1. @ Jim Jam

    Surely the chairman and the secretary of the Wallesey Labour Party are fully paid members of the party.

  2. Assiduosity

    “Which particular prominent (by which I do not mean present shadow cabinet) members of the Parliamentary Labour Party do you expect to be damaged by Chilcott?”

    If Corbyn comes out and says there’ll be a new leadership election after Chilcott – say August or something – then they’ll be the ones who are still on the telly screeching for him to leave.

  3. Just for a matter of clarity… I know the UK ain’t a one shoe fit all Union just like the EU. Scotland and NI have unique circumstances which have to be addressed and even Nicola Sturgeon has said that the democratic will of England and Wales should be upheld whilst Scotland and NI vote has to be upheld.

    It appears to me some are using the Scottish and NI result as a proxy to diminish the over all UK leave vote yet the Scottish and NI governments recognise the result in England and Wales and are looking for a solution for them.

  4. Marco Flynn

    After Chilcott, maybe.

  5. @ Allan Christie

    “Before the Lib/Dems and other silly people start trying to reverse the democratic EU referendum result it’s worthy of note that nearly 2 million more people voted leave in England than remain.
    There will be uproar if the political namby-pamby brigade with their bicycles and dated VW camper vans shuffling around London tried to tinker with the result. Provincial England will rise and revolt.”

    Now Allan, you’re getting carried away again with all this talk of revolt.

    As you well know not all of England, not even ‘Provincial England’ voted the same way.

    Good maps from the BBC here, showing that there were remain areas outside of London and the metropolitan centres. Southern England was much more of a patchwork than many would care to admit.

    The Midlands, North and East are a different matter outside the cities.

    Times change and views change, the LibDems are holding true to their long term extremely pro-European views and will hope that brings votes their way if the political climate changes.

  6. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    If you are worried about a few kids on bikes usurping the democratic process I don’t think you have much to worry about there. It sounded you were more concerned about a lot of voters switching to the LDs over this issue if you genuinely were talking about those few rude people then I got the wrong end of the stick as it seemed you were responding to the topic of the LDs.

    If you are worried about Boris being called a few rude names, I’m sure he’s heard worse.

    I’m probably more concerned right now about the divisions in the country and the yelling “You lost, so shut up” which seems to be very prevalent isn’t actually going to heal the divide (nor is blaming the other side for not having the same views as the cause of the divide). I know stuff goes the other way as well which doesn’t exactly make things better. We could well find ourselves in a situation where half the population actively hate the other half.

    I’m hedging my bets financially as I have no idea which way things will go. I’m making plans that if things go sour, I’ll move to where things are less sour. So if it’s a complete disaster I won’t actually care that much.

  7. @ Jim Jam

    Garston was purged but there are a hell of a lot angry Labour members who met last night – so I heard (well, it’s 2 miles from here :-)). But in any case, I only mentioned Wallesey.

    But I agree that at the moment full scale deselection is not on the cards for various reasons.

    I actually think everybody is hoping that Corbyn thinks of his health and gives in, because if not, there has to be a whole scale rewriting of the party constitution which is probably a bigger threat to the MPs than Corbyn.

  8. They may be influential but there will be alternative views in Wallasey where Angela Eagle has been an MP for almost 25 years; and, as I state above even if she is in trouble there will few others (imo)

  9. HIRETON
    @Allan Christie
    “Presumably, given your view about not reversing the EU referendum result, you have given up on Scottish independence as that would entail reversing the Independence referendum result?”
    ______

    Not at all…As I have said on an umber of occasions we were told there would be no going back in the event of Brexit and in the case of Scotland bolting from the UK.

    It would cause some upheaval if we were half way through A50 only to hold another vote to rejoin the EU.

    Back to Scotland… I still believe in Scottish independence and it will happen but I’m just not convinced dumping the UK for the EU is the in the best interests. I think a full federal parliament should be offered to Scotland and if that’s not enough then the Scots should choose to bolt or not from the UK.

    Lets just all take a chill pill and see what happens.

  10. Just a question

    If it comes to it, is they any process where Corbyn could be expelled from the Labour Party?

    It’s beginning to seem that might be the only way Labour could be rid of him.

  11. What are labour doing. Able would be a disastrous choice.

    Why not Starmer or Jarvis.

    The Labour Party have gone mad.

  12. ^ sorry Eagle.

  13. Assiduosity,
    “Times change and views change”

    …and demographics too. Age was the best predictor of voting intention, young people overwhelmingly voted to stay and the percentage for Remain steadily increased as you looked down the ages of voting groups.

    Euroscepticism seems to be going the way of homophobia and (sorry to put it like this but it will affect future votes) literally dying off as different-minded generations take over.

    So many people seemed to be voting Leave on instinct, as instincts change so it is likely that voting intention will too. It’s another reason why having simple majorities on constitutional referendums is a bad idea, otherwise you may take decisions that most voters see as a mistake 10 or 20 years down the line.

  14. If he is clever, Corbyn will announce he will step down once his chosen supporter’s name is confirmed on the ballot of the leadership election – and not before.

    The PLP want to have a a single candidate election, so that the members of the party are bypassed. The Corbyn supporters want one of their number on the ballot.

  15. @ Allan Christie

    ” I hope not because millions voted to leave .. ”

    That is undoubtedly so, but when barely 3 days later the leader of the out campaign says he doesn’t think immigration was an issue, that sounds to me like someone who thinks the 17 million have served their purpose and no longer need to be listened to since they have no vote in the conservative leadership contest

  16. @Edge of Seat

    However, the result for the Euro referendum in 2016 was much more eurosceptic than the one in 1975. That suggests that it is not just age that is the factor, otherwise you would expect to see them growing further apart.

  17. Edge of Seat

    Or at least dying off faster than young people become old people.

  18. ASSIDUOSITY

    I agree things do change but I always thought in the case of referendums a vote away from the status quo was irreversible.

    Yes good maps as you say on how people voted and the remain utopia of London so many are shouting about does have quite a few leave areas. 4 out of 10 voted to bolt from the EU.

  19. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    What’s to stop having another vote away from the new status quo and back to something similar to the old status quo. It’s one of the conventions of parliament that the current parliament is sovereign and can’t be beholden to a previous parliaments decision.

    You can’t write a law “… and forever more”

    With all this status quo flying around shares in denim must be going through the roof!

  20. @ MrJones

    “If Corbyn comes out and says there’ll be a new leadership election after Chilcott – say August or something – then they’ll be the ones who are still on the telly screeching for him to leave.”

    Which ones?

    I really don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

    Members of the cabinet at the time of Second Gulf War were the following:

    Tony Blair – Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service:
    John Prescott – Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State
    Gordon Brown – Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury
    The Lord Irvine of Lairg – Lord Chancellor
    Robin Cook – Lord President of the Council & Leader of the House of Commons
    The Lord Williams of Mostyn – Lord Privy Seal & Leader of the House of Lords
    Andrew Smith – Chief Secretary to the Treasury
    Jack Straw – Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
    David Blunkett – Secretary of State for the Home Department
    Margaret Beckett – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
    Stephen Byers – Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions
    Alan Milburn – Secretary of State for Health
    Geoff Hoon – Secretary of State for Defence
    Alistair Darling – Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
    Patricia Hewitt – Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Minister for Women and Equality
    Tessa Jowell – Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
    Clare Short – Secretary of State for International Development
    John Reid – Minister without Portfolio, Chair Labour Party
    Helen Liddell – Secretary of State for Scotland
    Paul Murphy – Secretary of Northern Ireland
    Peter Hain – Secretary of State for Wales
    Charles Clarke – Secretary of State for Education and Skills

    Hilary Armstrong and Lord Goldsmith also attended cabinet.

    I’ll grant you that Margaret Beckett was on today calling for Corbyn to go – but really as a last ditch attempt to save the party. None of the others could be described as active plotters. Why?

    Because I think Dame Margaret Beckett is the only one of that cabinet still to be a member of the Parliamentary Labour Party – are you suggesting that she has inflamed her fellow MPs to revolt to protect her reputation?

    Get a grip.

  21. ALAN

    Yeah i didn’t explain myself too well in the case of the Lib/Dems. They are the masters of political opportunism and say anything to grab a few extra votes.

    As I hope, the next GE is 4 years away then A50 will be almost complete which would leave the Lib/Dem idea dead in the water.

    ….

    ” I’m probably more concerned right now about the divisions in the country and the yelling “You lost, so shut up” which seems to be very prevalent isn’t actually going to heal the divide (nor is blaming the other side for not having the same views as the cause of the divide). I know stuff goes the other way as well which doesn’t exactly make things better. We could well find ourselves in a situation where half the population actively hate the other half”
    ____

    Yes that’s a problem and hopefully it will be stamped out. I certainly didn’t vote leave to fuel the likes of the BNP and EDF.

    The EU leave/remain vote in England almost mirrored the Yes/No outcome of the Scottish indy vote and we were told Scotland was a divided nation..not so, they seem to be getting on fine with each other and if anything should be given credit for that. I’m sure England will come together. If not then I might leave with you..anywhere in mind? ;-)

  22. LidDems dead in the water after A50? Lol
    Mark my words, there will be a growing movement to rejoin the EU that will make UKIP and the Brexiters look like a teddy bear’s picnic.

  23. ALAN

    I think we are going round in circles . What you have proposed has already been put to some MP’s and even they had trouble answering the legality of it.

    All I will say is..if parliament want’s to tinker with the EU Brexit vote then they will be either rewarded by the voters or dumped by the voters.

  24. Assiduosity

    “Which ones? I really don’t think you know what you’re talking about.”

    In that case a week won’t make any difference.

  25. Does anyone know if it is possible to suddenly join the Tory party, in order to influence the leadership battle there?

  26. @ Allan Christie

    “Yes good maps as you say on how people voted and the remain utopia of London so many are shouting about does have quite a few leave areas. 4 out of 10 voted to bolt from the EU.”

    Indeed.

    And by the same token, Gwynedd, one of the most rural places in the UK voted nearly 58% for remain. Middle Southern England in the shape of Cheltenham 56% remain, Winchester and the surrounding countryside 59% and so on.

    The fact is it was a close run thing 48.1% to 51.9% in a binary referendum is a country split.

    There’s no denying the democratic result, but asserting too aggressively belies the truth.

    Anyway, I’m much more interested in the future.

  27. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    I think this campaign was a lot nastier in nature than the Scottish campaign, which was fought fiercely, it was largely fought with respect. I got the feeling that the politicians on both sides of this campaign hated each other and that has spread to the way the general population has debated the campaign.

    I suspect a majority of the population will be unhappy once this has all been resolved, whichever solution is arrived at, which makes me really worried.

    Out but in single market, lots of leavers will feel unhappy as that’s not out enough.
    Out and out of single market, lots of leavers who wanted good trade relations unhappy.

    Someone has to look at the cumulative unhappiness of the nation and find a solution that minimises that.

  28. David J

    I believe you have to be a member for 3 months or something in order to have a vote.

  29. @ AC

    ” As I hope, the next GE is 4 years away then A50 will be almost complete which would leave the Lib/Dem idea dead in the water. ”

    I wouldn’t be too hopeful about that .

    It is a matter of some debate at the very least as to whether there is a majority in the current Parliament to support the triggering of A50. Michael Hesletine seemed very certain of this at the weekend though ive no way of knowing if he is right or wrong.

    Any PM who triggered A50 without parliamentary approval could potentially find themselves being dragged all the ay to the Supreme Court.

    https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2016/06/27/nick-barber-tom-hickman-and-jeff-king-pulling-the-article-50-trigger-parliaments-indispensable-role/

    Of course new PM who didnt really want to leave could try and shelter behind all this, but I would expect a new PM who wanted to go ahead to would think it wise seek a mandate from the country first

  30. @ Allan Christie

    “Yeah i didn’t explain myself too well in the case of the Lib/Dems. They are the masters of political opportunism and say anything to grab a few extra votes.”

    The political opportunism of holding the same pro-European integrationist views as a party since the mid 1950s whilst the two major parties have changed their positions, squabbled, divided and changed vies back again?

    Be fair. The Liberals have always been Europhiles through and through, this is simply a restatement of faith for them.

  31. @Alan

    Expel Corbyn for what? Sticking to the agreed party rules?

    Getting rid of him on trumped up charges (what they would be) would be counter-productive in the extreme.

  32. @ David J

    Yes. It will cost you £25 though…

    https://www.conservatives.com/join

  33. @David J

    I think you need to be a member of the Conservative party for three months before a leadership contest is called, to be able to vote.

  34. @ Sorrell

    “However, the result for the Euro referendum in 2016 was much more eurosceptic than the one in 1975. That suggests that it is not just age that is the factor, otherwise you would expect to see them growing further apart.”

    Might that not just indicate that one pro-European cooperation set cohort (those who had lived through wars) died out to be replaced by another (who lived through decades of being told that Brussels was to blame for everything) that turned out not to be very pro-EU?

    It could just be that the present younger generations may feel somewhat differently – especially if the UK doesn’t make a good fist of its ‘independence’.

  35. @ Alan & @ Candy

    It’s actually after you’ve been a member for 3 months… which might just explain why the time frame has been contracted to just under three months :-)

    At least the Conservatives know how to run a cocktail party at a golf club unlike certain other parties one might mention.

  36. ASSIDUOSITY

    “The fact is it was a close run thing 48.1% to 51.9% in a binary referendum is a country split”
    ______

    Tut tut but I’m o about the vote in England and Wales. Scotland and NI are discussing the vote in their own context and I’m doing the same mainly for England where leave won by a whopping 7%.

    Of course the county is split, it’s split at every election but that said the leave vote in England was nearly 2 million more than for remain. That’s a full Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and at least 4 Gibraltars. Maybe even a wee Falmouth as well? Maybe I’m pushing it.. ;-)

  37. ALAN

    Well we pay the politicians to run the country so they had better deliver the goods or they might find themselves oot and filling in a P45.

    Tea time….

  38. So, Angela Eagle … Wow …

  39. And in other news .. looking like Farage may be next casualty as Arron Banks ” .. criticised the party’s growth and proposed harnessing Brexit support in a new party. When asked if Farage would be in charge, he said the Ukip leader “may have had enough”.

  40. @ ASSIDUOSITY

    You may well be right. I don’t fit in the “youth” bracket and my children are definitely pro-EU, so anecdotal evidence is on track with your argument.

    However, I do think the younger voters tend to go for the more idealistic option without worrying about the details. As you get older and approach more tax returns the practical details of things start to matter more than the big slogans – for most people, I think. To my mind that’s why the fairly constant preferment of the young towards left-wing parties doesn’t tend to last as people get older and the Conservatives still can get elected. People may get less enamoured of the EU as they get older rather than having an inbuilt dislike of it.

  41. Ms Eagle may have a tiny problem when saying on the 13th of June that Corbyn worked so hard on the campaign that it would exhaust a 25 years old. Either she lied then, or she lied in her resignation letter, or she has a very bad opinion of the endurance of the 25-year olds.

  42. Something I’ve been meaning to post all day.

    Those who would like to understand the differences between the various permutations of different trade deals, EEA access, EFTA membership etc might like to dig out an interview that Glenn Vaughan, the British Chamber of Commerce man in Brussels gave to the World Service.

    In very clear and comprehensible terms he debunks some of the notions that are flying around namely that:

    + a ‘free trade deal’ is as good as single market access, more or less – it isn’t
    + that being able to sell to the single market and ‘access to the single market’ mean the same thing – they don’t
    + that tariffs are the big issue – they’re not

    He explains, as I’ve been trying to, but much more clearly that:

    + free trade deals secure you agreed tariffs on goods but don’t actually mean you can sell your goods in a market in the first place
    + free trade deals don’t cover services presently
    + to get access to a market you have to satisfy the ‘access conditions’, which are normally regulatory – there’s nothing under the WTO that can prevent a country or trading bloc putting up rafts of regulations that have to be satisfied on every individual product to prevent competition (which is why, in part, he points out so few US car models ever make it to Europe)
    + in effect that means every product sold in the EU has to meet its regulations – and demonstrate this prior to sale – regardless of whether you’re in the Union or not

    So, a free trade deal is nothing like access to the single market, at all, in any way.

    This is important in the light of today’s extremely clear communique from the 27 that free market access is only available to countries who sign up to the ‘four freedoms’ – i.e. including labour / people.

    I think the difficulty for many here in the UK is in trying to comprehend that this inflexibility over ‘immigration’ is not illogical from an EU perspective.

    The bulk of anti-immigration parties that have sprung up in the EU are explicitly anti immigration from people outside the EU into Europe – they are, generally, much more ‘liberal’ on the movement of people between European countries (the movement of Roma people excepted).

    When many mainland Europeans – even on the right – talk about ‘immigration – they are more likely to mean North Africans and South Asians entering the EU than Poles moving to Belgium or Portuguese to Austria.

    This dissonance between the UK and EU perspective could cause huge problems going forward.

  43. @ Sorrell

    ” To my mind that’s why the fairly constant preferment of the young towards left-wing parties doesn’t tend to last as people get older and the Conservatives still can get elected. People may get less enamoured of the EU as they get older rather than having an inbuilt dislike of it.”

    I think @ Roger Mexico is more your man on this – but I’m fairly sure that this often quote psephological ‘fact’ is at least in part not as robust as it first appears.

    I’m pretty sure that there’s data to show that people are far more wedded throughout life to the voting patterns and attitudes they adopt in early adulthood than was previously thought.

  44. Laszlo

    “Angela Eagle” ? We’ll find out at 3 pm tomorrow, I gather.

    Older posters will understand why , when i hear her name, I think of Anna Neagle (who I much prefer).

  45. As regards the EU settlement – I think it is in the interests of both the UK government (whoever will be in charge) and the EU to do a deal that includes the single market and free-movement but is nominally outside the EU.

    I would guess some form of words could be found to suggest that free-movement is limited in some sense, while actually continuing generally. Equally, I think the EU would much prefer a post-UK union as the idea of the UK continuing to pay in but not bother people in meetings would be a win-win for them.

    With that in mind I think a deal could be easily done. The Conservatives are going to disappoint some people: either the home counties supports who prefer the single market and free movement to continue, or the UKIP tendency people including the northern Labour voters who want an end to free movement. I think I can already guess which side of the divide they will come down on.

    Then there only remains the question of what party those who wanted an end to free movement would support in the future: not the Liberals, not the SNP, not the Conservatives and almost certainly not Labour. So maybe UKIP – or something similar – has got a future yet.

  46. Question to the Labour people here:

    If Labour split into a Corbyn party and a Not Corbyn party, which would you join?

    And if the Corbyn party retained the Labour name, but the Not Corbyn one was called something different, would that make a difference (in other words is sentiment to the Labour brand influencing you).

  47. @ ASSIDUOSITY

    It’s possible I’m reading my own journey rather too much into it: I was a Labour member, a Green party member and now I’m a (I think) moderate Tory. I may be projecting that onto others incorrectly…

  48. @ sorrel

    The Graun reporting Arron Banks pulling the plug on Farage and setting up a new party so possibly not all plain sailing for UKIP either

  49. @ OldNat

    Surely you don’t think she is a spy for any of the sides, do you?

  50. @ Sorrel

    It appears you can take your pick.

    This paper and research agrees we do become more Conservative as we age:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/03/do-we-become-more-conservative-with-age-young-old-politics

    While this – much more snapshot piece – from YouGov says differently.

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/03/04/they-get-older-tory-voters-move-right-and-labour-v/

    I’ve also read that the reason more older people vote Conservative is because Labour and nationalist voters, put bluntly, die younger as they are more prone to the premature causes of death.

    The other factor is that parties shift their views to match an electorate who moves politically in one direction or another. So all our political parties are much more socially Liberal than they were in 1956, and all much more economically neo-liberal than they were then.

    Complex, non?

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