YouGov’s latest voting intention figures in the Times this morning are CON 42%(+2), LAB 28%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 12%(-1), GRN 3%(-1). The changes since last week are not significant in themselves, but push the Conservatives to a fourteen point lead, the largest from YouGov since November 2009.

It looks very much as if Theresa May is still enjoying a honeymoon as Tory leader (though the Tories may also be being aided by the disarray in the Labour party – it is impossible to disentangle one potential cause from the other).

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984 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 42, LAB 28, LD 8, UKIP 12”

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  1. DAVID CARROD
    We should just tell the EU to go and take a long walk off a short pier, and make a direct approach of zero-tariff trade to each of the 27 countries separately.

    By all means blame Brown for refusing a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but rules is rules, as they say.

    It’s one thing to want to leave the EU but quite another to attempt to destroy it. Do you really want to destabilise the European continent given that it starts just over 33 Km from Dover?

  2. Anyway as one government minister suggested….we should be sending pensioners out to fruit pick, banana straightening and grape peel if we want to get immigration down…..gets my vote.

    Well I suppose I should be making tracks….no pun intended I’ve a choo choo to catch.

  3. Contextualising Union endorsement.

    Obviously, it is terribly important for legitimacy reasons (after all it’s the LP) and for funding of the campaign, and obviously for PR.

    But …

    GMB did not declare last year for any candidate.

    This year they conducted a ballot, and I put out the result earlier.

    Two things about it is important, if any projection is made towards support of Smith.

    1) The participation rate was about 8% of the membership (not to mention that Scottish GMB did not participate).
    2) it is union members, and not affiliate members!

    You see, the total number of affiliate members, if probably in the region of 150,000 (I estimated it from last year’s leadership election).

    It is also true that a third of the LP members are Union members (yes, only about that), or maybe even lower due to the members), but most of them are probably public sector union members, due to the disproportionate number of public sector employees in the LP.

    And @ Alec I said it well before you that Smith was going after the affiliate members. I don’t think it is a reliable strategy, due to the low number of affiliates in the election.

  4. “maybe even lower due to the NEW members”

    And the smiley is missing from the end of the first sentence of the last paragraph.

  5. The 150,000 (as I said, I estimated it, and with some generosity – the total number of affiliate vote last year was about 70,000, and the overall turnout about 72%) affiliate members include ALL unions, and ALL affiliated societies.

  6. Allan C.

    Surely you’ve got this all wrong? We send the pensioners on holiday to Greece in return for some young workers who’re willing to pick soft fruit.

  7. @David Carrod
    “I went to Sainsbury’s this morning to get some shopping, and I don’t remember entering into any obligation to allow any of their staff to come and live in my house.”

    Nice one. Perfect analogy.

  8. @ David

    I believe being in the EU means that you have to agree a trade deal with other countries on an EU wide basis as they are defined as an economic region or whatever the terminology is. So regardless of whether it is WTO rules or any other sort of trade deal it HAS to be the same for all EU states.

  9. Sorbus…the hard right in the Tory party will want hard Brexit. I have a feeling they may be disappointed. This is May’s honeymoon but come the New Year as winter sets in she is likely to come under severe pressure to invoke article 50.

    Tough times await May and her party. It is easy to forget how split the Tories were over the Referendum as Labour’s woes have taken centre stage. However the Tories are going to come under strain over the economy and the NHS in the months ahead.

  10. BARBAZENZERO

    “It’s one thing to want to leave the EU but quite another to attempt to destroy it. Do you really want to destabilise the European continent given that it starts just over 33 Km from Dover?”

    I don’t think the EU will need any more help from the UK to implode, it will do it all by itsef in time.

    As to Brexit, the opinions expressed by the other 27 EU countries confirm my view that we will go for “hard” Brexit. There will be a short term economic cost as is already apparent but we will be better off in the longer term IMO..

    I agree with Sorbus, the Tories have always been pragmatic and I do not see them having major splits now that the referendum has been decided in favour of Brexit.

  11. Colin

    Oddly i do sometimes have a life outside UKPR

  12. SORBUS

    Thanks for agreeing that there are other issues to discuss!

    We’ll get an idea of how good May is at party management from how much seeps into the public domain.
    I agree. We’ll start to get an idea once the Con conference kicks off.

    More interesting is whether other parties start making the argument that we’d better off as members.
    That’s why I think the LDs and perhaps even the Greens & PC could siphon off a significant proportion of the 46.6% English and 47.5% Welsh vote for remain if any of the downsides of Brexit are clear by GE 2020.

    (it’s hard to see how soft Brexit can be anything but poor value).
    Agreed.

    Doesn’t mean they’ll give up. My bet is that pro-EU Tories will be doing as much as they possibly can behind the scenes to make it clear to important European colleagues and stakeholders that they want a constructive relationship and are willing to find ways to undo the effects of Brexit.
    Agreed.

    Most unlikely. I don’t think they have the credibility to be a repository for an ‘Anything but Brexit’ vote after caving in on tuition fees and negotiating such an appallingly bad coalition deal.
    Time and polling will tell, but I suspect that remainers, particularly those who moved to Lab in LD seats in 2015, will forgive that 2010 error, provided Clegg does no campaigning. Who else would be more likely?

    There is also the question of how salient Brexit will be as an issue at the next GE.
    Unknowable now, certainly, but we’ll get to know more if/when A50 is triggered. The IFS report [see BBC’s EU single market membership ‘boosts UK’s GDP’] includes:
    The IFS report argued that the special advantage of being an EU member was that its single market reduced or eliminated barriers to trading in services, such as the need for licences or other regulations.

    The IFS said that the absence of trade barriers for services was far more important than removing tariffs on the trade in goods between EU members, such as customs checks and import taxes.

    They are far from my favourite think tank, but they do have the ear of HM Treasury. Whether Hammond & May believe them is of course a different matter.

    Don’t know enough about NI politics to comment, beyond saying that as things stand they won’t be able to choose the status quo.
    That’s why I am pretty sure May will have been briefed prior to her “borders” speech and made the non-commital borders of the past remark. By now, someone in the Northern Ireland Office will have briefed Brokenshire & May on what the Belfast Agreement stipulates.

    The $64,000 question is what is the alternative to accepting “hard” borders? It can’t be re-unification because that requires separate referendums in the republic & NI. It’s also an international treaty so difficult to fudge. Given that NI voted to remain and the DUP were the only major party in favour of leaving the EU, that’s a brand new can of worms for May to chew on.

    Re the BBC’s Brexit: The Battle for Britain?, I can’t say I recommend it, as unless I missed a word or two somewhere it doesn’t include a word about NI, Scotland or Wales. More importantly, it doesn’t mention why the BBC itself did nothing to establish the veracity of any of the claims.

    However, it does demonstrate how committed to the status quo the BBC has become, and is worth skimming through on the iPlayer. Alternatively, if you’re a night owl and/or have a record facility on your TV it lasts an hour and will be repeated on BBC2 at 00:20 BST tonight [=23:20 UTC today].

  13. Shevii: “I’m constantly struggling as to why freedom of movement is such a big issue for the EU in relation to the UK.”

    It isn’t. It’s just that if the UK wants to remain part of the Single Market, it has to continue accepting the rules, which include free movement.

    If we don’t want to be in the Single Market, fine: no need for free movement.

    No-one is trying to impose free movement on the UK. It’s the UK that wants Single Market membership without free movement. i.e. we want to leave the club, but expect it to change its rules to allow us to continue enjoying the benefits. You may think saying ‘no’ to that is trying to impose something on us. But it’s just, to coin a phrase, saying “leave means leave.”

  14. @Lizh & cmj
    “How can this be? Corbyn and his people are unelectable.”
    As in all elections, it depends on the electorate.

    When this site discussed polls (before the general election and the referendum) it used to analyse the make-up of different polling companies’ samples, the demographics, the turnout %s etc in minute detail.
    Now it discusses who has politically ‘won’ in actual elections, and conflates the electorates: numbers of MPs, numbers of members, numbers of members voting, general population ‘results’, polls etc with gay abandon and a considerable degree of confusion or obfuscation.
    It is now quite possible for lots of statements, counter statements and “rebuttals” all to be true (or false) all at once.
    One classic was the 42% UKIP Council win on a by-election turnout of about a quarter of the original election, which could have been achieved with no actual increase in UKIP votes at all.

    My posts simply declared the facts of the vote in Liverpool.

    As far as I’m concerned, you can’t draw a conclusion on how the vote of Liverpool Labour Party members might indicate the vote among any other group.

    Any perceptions that someone reading the posts might have extrapolated is entirely their own work.

    :-)

  15. THE OTHER HOWARD

    I don’t think the EU will need any more help from the UK to implode, it will do it all by itsef in time.

    I sincerely hope you’re wrong, for the sake of your children & grandchildren as well as mine. Would you really wish a European powder keg like 1914 or 1939 on any of them?

    As to Brexit, the opinions expressed by the other 27 EU countries confirm my view that we will go for “hard” Brexit.

    Fair enough, though I have yet to read of how NI will either be driven out of the union or will be persuaded to permit a hard border with the republic.

    Until that happens, everything is conjectural.

  16. @Laszlo – “Two things about it is important, if any projection is made towards support of Smith.”

    No. I think there is a third, far more important point in many ways, which is that the GMB is the only union to have balloted it’s membership. Given the commonly held assumption that the Corbyn supporters are more committed (only an assumption) the result may well have significance in terms of the wider electorate, if not those qualified to vote in the leadership election.

    If Labour continues to refuse to listen to actually polling data from actual elections, then it will be in big trouble. This, I would have thought, is something of a wake up call.

  17. MIKE PEARCE
    This is May’s honeymoon but come the New Year as winter sets in she is likely to come under severe pressure to invoke article 50.

    I agree, but SORBUS is correct in that Cons tend to be more pragmatic than idealistic. In that context, my own opinion is that May will be hoping [realistically] that the Chevening Three will have fallen flat on their faces by then, giving her a pretty free rein in defining what Brexit means Brexit actually means.

  18. Mike Smithson on PB has an interesting post looking at the linl between membership and performance. He makes the point that despite the surge in members over the last year, Labour has actually lost elected representatives overall.

    He compares this with what he seems to think are signs of rebuilding among the Lib Dems, who membership is also climbing, albeit less dramatically, and who are also making net gains in elected representation.

    He ends with this; – “One of the reasons PB monitors local by-elections so closely every week is that they are a great barometer of party organisation and morale. Labour’s new members should be giving it an edge that we can see every week. That hasn’t happened yet.”

  19. Liverpool vote (note the voting rules mentioned earlier).

    Three candidates.
    The mayor – quite divisive and a lot of spin about him on both sides (pro and con). The reality is that he actually did what his predecessors had done, but did it more efficiently, and with a clear strategy. However, the city’s finances are pretty dire, so the path cannot be continued.
    Berger – she is the MP for Wavertree (where the LibDems thought they could win in 2010), a very diverse constituency (some of the most deprived areas of the city, and some quite affluent, and some up and coming). While she was parachuted, she is generally liked, but she actually doesn’t have the basic infrastructure to carry on a campaign without the support of the councillors and alike (it is actually true even for Ellman. So her result is quite respectable in these circumstances.
    The winner – even if he is from Knowsley, he is considered local, he was a councillor for 8 years, he has the safest seat in the country, and campaigned on q kind of Corbyn ticket (he was one of the speakers in Corbyn’s rally a couple of weeks ago) with more emphasis of fighting the cuts to the city. Hillsborough obviously also helped him.

    So, it was a mixture. Liverpool is, in general, receptive to Corbyn’s stance (although Smith is barely different), which helped Rotheram. Localism was another factor. Past another one. And that many people do not want Anderson to continue also played a role (kind of interesting as the local paper was for Anderson).

  20. @ Alec

    I agree with that point.

    However, the endorsement is in the contexts of the leadership election. I think it is quite important, to discern what it means for the leadership election – not much really (part from funds and PR).

    Also, let’s not go around it, supporting Trident is an official GMB policy.

  21. @ Somerjohn

    Sure I understand what you are saying but my nuanced question is why is it so important to the EU that freedom of movement is not up for negotiation in return for a free trade deal? It seems like a lot of stuff is up for negotiation but not this one.

    The odds are that no freedom of movement (from a trading perspective) puts us at a disadvantage as we can’t keep our prices down with cheaper Eastern European Labour or perhaps get the skilled Labour we need. So the question is, is this just rules for rules sake or is there some economic reason?

    If I was the EU (and no reason to suppose it won’t be included in their negotiations) I’d be far worried about the UK becoming a free trade area with the rest of the world and then being able to undercut any EU sources on price. I’ll take an example that may or may not be true (but I’m sure it applies to something). Let’s say the iphone attracts a 5% import tariff and we have a free trade agreement with America such that it doesn’t attract any tariff to us. We’d then be 5% more competitive flogging it to the whole of the EU and potentially take the whole of the market.

    It seems to me there are a lot of things already going on, like Ireland or Luxembourg or wherever where they are doing deals with multinationals or using unrealistically low Corporation Tax rates to get market share. This is far more of a threat to the level playing field with EU trade than freedom of movement but it doesn’t seem to have anything like the importance placed on it by the EU that freedom of movement has.

  22. SOMERJOHN
    But it’s just, to coin a phrase, saying “leave means leave.”

    Beautifully put.

  23. Mike Pearce

    The majority of Con MPs declared for Remain, although I’m not sure how many could be counted as EU enthusiasts. The membership – and Tory voters – were more pro-Brexit. Does that mean we’ll see deselections of Remainer Tory MPs or pressure applied by local parties who want to see hard Brexit? I think that for as long as the Tories think they’re in a position to win the next election they’ll manage to keep a lid on divisions over Europe – it’s worth remembering that the worst of Major’s problems occurred in the context of an expected defeat at the next GE, even if that was years away.

    Completely agree that the government will come under pressure on NHS and economy (amongst other issues), but find it difficult to see how this will strengthen the hand of the hard Brexiteers unless they come up with a more coherent vision than they’ve managed thus far. The Minford position isn’t likely to find favour with voters.

  24. BZ

    Re possible LD revival.
    Time and polling will indeed tell. Voters have proved rather less forgiving than I would have anticipated in other instances. The other factor I neglected to note was that even if it weren’t for that piece of history (and as Clegg is now LD spokeperson on EU affairs it seems a bit optimistic to expect him to keep schtum) they’re not going to win a majority, which is why their track record of negotiating in hung parliaments is important.

    A vehemently pro-EU LP might stand more chance, but I still wouldn’t put money on it. After all no-one has managed to put together a progressive coalition to keep the Tories out or implement electoral reform. Maybe the prospect of Brexit will prompt the kind of discipline and willingness to compromise that would be required, but it doesn’t look likely, yet. And even if the politicians were to do a deal the voters might scupper it. For all we talk about the decline of tribal loyalties there are still a lot of people who won’t contemplate voting for the ‘other’ non-Tory/ non-Labour party and I think that’s as much to do with trust as political identity. There would inevitably be splinter parties and local parties and candidates who refused to tow the nationally agreed line, which would make it easier for voters to do likewise.

    It is entirely possible that Brexit will become a faultline in UK politics in much the same way that independence is in Scottish politics. I sincerely hope that if that’s the case the opposition parties will get their acts together and start talking about what it will mean and what the options will mean for domestic policy. I can’t help feeling that a lot of heads are buried firmly in the sand this summer.

  25. ALEC
    Mike Smithson on PB … makes the point that despite the surge in members over the last year, Labour has actually lost elected representatives overall.

    Fair comment by Smithson. It does, of course, include the losses of Scottish Lab, who are led by a pro-PLP leader with a pro-Corbyn deputy. Which of them was most responsible for them dropping to 3rd place at Holyrood is, of course, moot.

  26. Shevii: “why is it so important to the EU that freedom of movement is not up for negotiation in return for a free trade deal?”

    Again, it isn’t. We could have a free trade deal without freedom of movement. The proposed TTIP doesn’t include free movement.

    It’s the difference between free trade and membership of the Single Market that’s crucial. The Single Market is defined by the four freedoms, including freedom of movement. It’s much more than just a free trade area: it’s aiming to replicate the economic and trading freedom that exists within the USA. If a US state proposed imposing entry restrictions on citizens from other US states, the proposal would be greeted with outrage and ridicule. That’s why it’s non-negotiable for the EU.

  27. @BZ

    Interesting letter from Foster and McGuiness to May ‘re Brexit and NI has been released ( or leaked not sure which!). It looks like a significant shift away from Foster ‘s pro-Brexit position now that the practical reality of Brexit is becoming apparent.

  28. SHEVII @ Somerjohn
    We’d then be 5% more competitive flogging it to the whole of the EU and potentially take the whole of the market.

    Only if the tariff for UK to sell into the EU market is less than 5%.

  29. SORBUS @ Mike Pearce

    Good post.

    SORBUS @ BZ
    Re possible LD revival.

    I agree that the LDs are not going to win a majority and that a vehemently pro-EU LP might stand more chance but like you I wouldn’t put money on either.

    After all no-one has managed to put together a progressive coalition to keep the Tories out or implement electoral reform. Maybe the prospect of Brexit will prompt the kind of discipline and willingness to compromise that would be required, but it doesn’t look likely, yet.

    I agree with that, mores the pity. Some sort of ‘progressive’ alliance might be possible if the 2 streams of Lab manage to kiss and make up, but that seems unlikely just now.

    It is entirely possible that Brexit will become a faultline in UK politics in much the same way that independence is in Scottish politics.

    I agree with that entirely. Whether the boundary changes go through or not, there will likely still be a block of about 50 MPs from Scotland staunchly in favour of the EU [if they’re not already out of the UK, of course].

    I can’t help feeling that a lot of heads are buried firmly in the sand this summer.
    Snap!

  30. HIRETON @BZ
    Interesting letter from Foster and McGuiness to May
    Thanks for the heads-up.

    Even the BBC manage to report it this evening [see Foster and McGuinness in Brexit talks call] including:
    The letter also refers to the “many thousands of people who commute each way across the border to work on a daily basis”.

    The first and deputy first ministers also registered their concerns about Northern Ireland’s access to energy, EU funds and agricultural support.

    They stated in the letter that Northern Ireland receives approximately 10% of the UK’s cash from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and acknowledged that the agri-food sector is “uniquely vulnerable both to the loss of EU funding” or to other barriers to trade.

    Odd that it doesn’t mention the Belfast Agreement, though. Perhaps both the FM & DFM just assume that May & co know about it and will have read it.

    Prior to the letter, but another interesting commentary on the NI issue, is the Washington Post’s Brexit vote stirs fears of return to Ireland’s Troubles: ‘We’ve opened up a can of worms’ which includes the apposite:
    Nobody knows what’s going to happen to our border, and people who know the least are the politicians.

  31. Interesting to see so many wide, important, expert, and diverse groups – from the IFS to Scotland – all lining up in support of a soft Brexit.

  32. @Hirerton

    Thanks for the ‘heads up’ on the Northern Ireland letter to the PM.(available on the NI Executive site). I think it gives a very fair picture of the problems Brexiteers (including the DUP) are getting themselves into regarding borders and free movement of people and business opportunitiies.This is a definite ‘watch this space’ moment!

  33. Exciting to see the GMB lining up in support of Smith.

  34. The Northern Ireland letter suggests NI is pressing for membership of the Single Market. Scotland is too. Theresa May has made clear that she takes the position of NI and Scotland very, very seriously.

    Today the IFS – one of the most highly regarded and independent organizations in our country – has made clear that membership of the Single Market is incredibly important.

    All of this points to continued membership of the Single Market as best for our United Kingdom and its economy.

  35. JOHN B @Hirerton

    Thanks. The full letter [PDF] is Letter to PM from FM & dFM – 10 August 2016

  36. Those interested in the BBC’s summary of the NI Executive’s letter can find it here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-37039683

  37. Thank you Barbazenzero for linking to that letter. Very worthwhile.

  38. Profh
    “Today the IFS – one of the most highly regarded and independent organizations in our country – has made clear that membership of the Single Market is incredibly important.
    All of this points to continued membership of the Single Market as best for our United Kingdom and its economy.”

    But weren’t they one of the proponents of Remain? It’s no surprise that they’ll go for the nearest thing to it that they can. Any government that does a deal that does not include the ability to control our borders will suffer at the polls, as will any opposition party proposing that. If all the main parties pursue this kind of line there could still be an unlikely surge for UKIP. They’re not dead yet. They won a council by-election last week.

  39. PS to my previous post.

    Note that the letter does NOT include any reference to the Belfast Agreement. Obviously both FM & DFM assumed that the Westminster government would be aware of it. I’m beginning to wonder…….

  40. Pete B: the IFS made clear the costs of Brexit, but their analysis is impartial and very rigorous.

  41. @ Somerjohn

    “We could have a free trade deal without freedom of movement”

    That’s not really my impression of what the EU are prepared to accept so it’s news to me if they are. I thought when they talked about “access to the single market” they just meant tariff free not to still be part of the single market rules and regulations. That would seem to make Brexit totally meaningless as far as I can see.

    @ Barbazenzero

    Yes true but I was just talking about scenarios where there was a free trade deal and what ought to be EU negotiating priorities.

  42. PETE B
    Any government that does a deal that does not include the ability to control our borders will suffer at the polls, as will any opposition party proposing that.

    You’re probably right, but the real question is: What can/does the Westminster Government do about the Belfast [aka Good Friday] Agreement?

    To be fair to May, she did mention, in one of her first broadcasts, how important the UK is to her. That should have been at least a fairly obvious clue.

    If Ireland re-unites, you’ll get your wishes.

  43. Solution to the Irish problem:

    1) Unite the two parts
    2) Offer free resettlement into Scotland for any Unionists not happy (that’s where they came from to start with)
    3) Stop all preferential treatment of Irish citizens in UK, such as right to vote etc.

    It would save loads of money and hassle. The Irish could then nag the EU for their subsidies from a much reduced budget.

  44. Barbie
    “If Ireland re-unites, you’ll get your wishes.”

    I didn’t mention my wishes. I was discussing my view of likely electoral consequences of particular actions. I (nearly) always try to keep my personal wishes out of my posts.

  45. SHEVII @ Barbazenzero

    Fair enough, and please use BZ if you don’t have copy and paste.

  46. BZ (quicker than copy/paste)
    Can you explain your moniker?

    I’m guessing:
    Barba – beard (as in Barbarossa)
    Zen – variation of buddhism
    Zero – nothing

    So what would that make? Beardless philosopher? Bearded nihilist?

  47. PETE B @ Barbie

    I am not a female impersonator and to the best of my knowledge Mattel offer no bearded Barbie.

    If you cannot manage Italian, please refer to me as Ginger Beard.

    The description is accurate, BTW.

  48. PETE B
    Barba – beard (as in Barbarossa)
    Zen – variation of buddhism
    Zero

    Barba in Italian = beard
    Zenzero in Italian = ginger

    I have Scottish ancestry and a ginger beard to prove it!

  49. BZ
    Thank you. That explains a lot. I also had a ginger beard until it went white, and there is a family legend that a very long time ago we were Scots, until one of my ancestors saw sens.

  50. @Shevii & Somerjohn
    I’m old enough to remember when we went in, when what was actually intended to be a road to political union was sold (in UK) as a ‘common market’.
    The ‘single market’ is the same – unworkable without eventual political union – and many want Brexit because they don’t want to continue down that route.
    Separation of tariff-free trade or low tariff trading from free movement of people is quite possible – in fact the norm worldwide. But the EU is bent on using customs union, four freedoms etc to aid the move to a political EU. Those promoting it on the continent do want it. The UK has always sought exceptions – better in my view to accept that we don’t actually want to be in such a political union and negotiate accordingly, letting the EU states get on with their project.
    [IIRC the USA in its early days put many of its inhabitants into reservations, with greatly restricted movement.]

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