Tomorrow’s Times has a new YouGov poll of the Labour leadership electorate (party members from before the cut-off date, trade union affiliates and £25 registered supporters) showing Jeremy Corbyn with a robust lead over Owen Smith. Topline voting intentions excluding don’t knows are Corbyn 62%, Smith 38%. 8% of voters say don’t know.

Jeremy Corbyn leads convincingly in all three parts of the electorate: among party members he is ahead by 57% to 43%, among trade union affiliates he is ahead 62% to 38%, among registered supporters he is ahead by a daunting 74% to 26%. If the numbers are broken down by length of membership Owen Smith actually leads among those who were members before the last general election, but they are swamped by the influx of newer members who overwhelmingly back Jeremy Corbyn.

The poll was conducted over the weekend, so after Labour members will have started to vote. The actual contest still has three weeks to go, but with people already voting and that sort of lead to make up Owen Smith’s chances do not look good.

Looking to the future, 39% of the selectorate (and 35% of full party members) think it is likely the party will split after the election. 45% of party members who support Owen Smith say that if some MPs opposed to Corbyn were to leave and form a new party they would follow them (29% of Smith supporters say they are likely to leave the party if Corbyn wins anyway… though I’m always a little wary of questions like that, it’s easier to threaten to leave than to actually do it)

YouGov also asked about mandatory re-selection. Party members are divided right down the middle – 46% of full members think MPs should normally have the right to stand again without a full selection, 45% of members think that MPs should face a full reselection before every election. The split is very much along the Smith-Corbyn divide – 69% of Corbyn supporters are in favour of reselections, 77% of Smith supporters are opposed.

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1,056 Responses to “YouGov/Times poll of Labour leadership race”

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  1. @LASZLO Perhaps they can put up this Churchill quote after Brexit!

    “If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea”.

    Or ‘Every time I have to choose between you and Roosevelt, I will always choose Roosevelt” – said to DeGaulle

  2. ProfHoward

    The quotation is wee bit selective … But not unfair … Even if out of contexts. But yes it was from 1939, from “The Ending of Armageddon”.

  3. Sea Change


    In Russian the “emphasis” is “accent”, so when Stalin quoted from Lenin, and emphasised something in it (put it in italics), then he wrote at the end of the quoted paragraph “my accent” …

    (It is actually a good joke …)

  4. Sea Change

    While you are correct about the political union and the lack of authorisation of the political executive, there are two things that (may) create a nuance.

    One is the consensus decision making (majority in general, but not always) which is extremely documented in some aspects (and not at all in others, particularly the council of ministers).

    The second is that the German Constitutional Court ruled a decade ago that the EU law was not superior to German law (and the French have never really been bothered by EU law if it went against them). It was very significant as it led to the overriding of the liberal (not political) interpretation of laws.


    “The appointed European Commission drafts laws and these are passed onto the statute book over the head of Parliament with no right of redress as EU Law is supreme. That is imposition.”

    Of course EU law is supreme, otherwise there would be no point in having the EU!! Imagine if any state decided to willy nilly change any law it didn’t like that also affected all other EU members? It would make the whole thing non-workable. EU has to be supreme in order for the organisation to work properly. Anyway, EU law is only 13% of the law on the UK statute book, and it does not control key areas such as taxation or defence.

  6. Tancred

    Your 7.00 post.

    Reading your latest childish bilge I have to say you certainly do not live in the World I live in and it seems from the latest polls that 2/3 of the British people agree with me. I am sad for you I really am, wishing your own country ill because you cannot have your own way. If the referendum had gone the other way I for one would not have spent my time wishing my fellow citizens ill. You called me arrogant earlier but I am certainly not as arrogant as you clearly are.


    “Just because we have some minor opt outs doesn’t mask the fact that we were part of a project that’s final conclusion was complete political union and the de facto end of the UK.
    This was never communicated to the British people in the 1972 Act and it was only partially alluded to during the 1975 referendum but almost completely suppressed.”

    Not true. We were never hoodwinked. We actually left a free trade zone (EFTA) to join the EU, specifically because we felt free trade was not enough. The Wilson government, setting out its reasons for applying in 1967, stressed that “Europe is now faced with the opportunity of a great move forward in political unity and we can — and indeed we must — play our full part in it”. And before the referendum in 1975, national newspapers on both left and right were clear that political, not just economic, integration was proposed and would be a positive outcome.

    See here:

  8. Military alliances, whether wartime coalitions or permanent structures like NATO, are not necessarily a breach of sovereignty.

    Even where there are international command chains, or multinational formations, the nation states retain the ability to give orders direclty to their own troops and to refuse permission for their troops to take part in actions that NATO has agreed upon for reasons of national policy.

    The EU works differently. We may have some military staff who operate in units where senior officers are not from the UK. But at least we have military officers. The post-referendum dust clearing saw revelations such as the fact that we have no trade negotiators of our own because it’s forbidden under EU rules to do any trade negotiations!


    Isn’t it time for your Horlicks, old chap?

  10. Tancred

    As it happens I don’t drink Horlicks, but I have enjoyed 24 years of retirement on the splendid company pension from the Company that originated that drink, so the last laugh is on you. Cheers :-)

  11. ” How positive or negative do you feel about Britain’s future after the referendum?

    Net Positive 62% ”

    ComRes Poll


    Thank you for your post and on the basis of your first paragraph you clearly have a good deal of experience of negotiating and as always when I am wrong or have over stepped the mark I am happy to apologize for saying you had not. I was not insulting you though, unlike some of the things i have had to put up with from the likes of Tancred. I am still surprised at you apparent approach to negotiating however.

    I am not and never have been a member of the Tory party. As I have posted on here many times before I usually vote Tory because I want a right of center government. In other words I vote against a party not for one. Nobody else is surprised at that.

    I do not think we have alienated all the other major economic powers. I think that is a total misreading of the situation. Yes the Japanese have threatened us with consequences and I think they made a serious tactical mistake in doing so. I will be very surprised if we do not see new Japanese investment as we leave the EU.

    I hope that clears the air.

  13. It is a pity that people are falling out over something, the results of which will not be apparent for many years. We might get some hint of the long term consequences of brexit in two or three years time but it will probably be at least five years before we can really evaluate the positives and negatives and that is being optimistic. I would also suggest that many of us will disagree over what constitutes a positive and what is a negative.

    We will probably never be able to label the decision right or wrong because we don’t know where the opposite decision would have led. I agree with TOH in that I think we should, now the decision has been made, be working to make it work. I just can’t get up a lot of enthusiasm for it.

  14. @seachange

    Your quote actually shows the opposite of what you are maintaining to be the case!

    You are utterly wrong about the EU legislative process. Under the ordinary legislative process the Commission proposes legislation which has to be discussed and agreed by the Council and Parliament. The special legislative procedure involves approval by the Council alone.

  15. RMJ1

    @”It is a pity that people are falling out over something, the results of which will not be apparent for many years. We might get some hint of the long term consequences of brexit in two or three years time but it will probably be at least five years before we can really evaluate the positives and negatives and that is being optimistic. ”

    Absolutely right !

    If we are going to get a running commentary on every utterance on Brexit by a political leader around the world, UKPR is going to descend to the level of playground debate.

    Far better to wait for proceedings in the House. Today’s Statement by Davies & the responses , for example were very interesting. But they did emphasise your point-that this is very early days. There is a lot of detail & complexity.

    DD said that they had received a number of different interpretations of the Financial Services “EU Passport” from different sections of that Industry. This is one Massive Learning Curve.

    Impatience will not be rewarding :-)

  16. RMJ1

    I understand your lack of enthusiasm, it’s not what you wanted but I admire your sensible attitude. I would feel and act in exactly the same way if the decision had gone the other way.

    I also agree with you that it’s a pity that nastiness has crept into the debate, not something I want. I try to be civil to those who are civil to me but I will not put up with what I consider bad manners.

    I agree with Colin above. Much patience is needed.

  17. @Laszlo – ‘Sovereignty’ seems to have been the major peg on which people hung their explanation of the decision to vote for Brexit. In this context the decision of the German supreme court seems very significant. Why don’t we get our supreme court to make the same ruling (i.e. that British law trumps EU law). We can then simply declare that this is the case, that we propose to legislate against any law that is against our interest, but that in the meantime we have passed EU legislation into our laws and propose to continue to abide by it. We have thus effectively secured a kind of Brexit and can take our time about invoking article 50, negotiating our relationship with the EU.

  18. Has anyone mentioned the VI figures from the Ashcroft poll? – Sorry if I missed such a post.

    I’ve put (in brackets) after the GB figures, the Scottish ones – largely because the 700 sample size (and, yes, I know that the crossbreak won’t be internally weighted – but the VI figures are in line with other polls). But also because the poll has tables of the Scots respondents views on aspects of SNP and other parties policy etc, which is an unusual thing for a GB poll to do.

    Con : 40% (21%)
    Lab : 31% (15%)
    L_D : 7% (5%)
    SNP : 5% (54%)
    UKIP : 13% (3%)
    Grn : 3% (2%)

  19. Charles

    ” Why don’t we get our supreme court to make the same ruling (i.e. that British law trumps EU law). ”

    That seems an unlikely question from you! However, just in case your tongue wasn’t firmly in your cheek, I’ll comment.

    Presumably because you can’t “get” a court to make a ruling that suits your political aims.

    The UK chose to have a constitution that is uncodified, and much based on convention.

    That’s very useful for politicians who want to fudge issues, or make constitutional changes without requiring democratic approval – but rather useless at giving the judges a definite constitutional dictum to rule on.


    “As it happens I don’t drink Horlicks, but I have enjoyed 24 years of retirement on the splendid company pension from the Company that originated that drink, so the last laugh is on you. Cheers :-)”

    Splendid indeed to have enabled you to retire at the ripe old age of 52. How many years of employment did you have? 30? 35 perhaps? No wonder you are laughing.

  21. @OLDNAT

    “The UK chose to have a constitution that is uncodified, and much based on convention.
    That’s very useful for politicians who want to fudge issues, or make constitutional changes without requiring democratic approval – but rather useless at giving the judges a definite constitutional dictum to rule on.”

    Talk about being hoist on your own petard! Those windbags who constantly harp on about the merits of common law have a constitution that prevents definite judicial rulings on constitutional issues.

  22. @HIRETON

    Just goes to show how ignorant many of the leave supporters are. Demonising what they clearly don’t understand without doing their research. I wonder how many of the millions who followed the instructions of the Mail, Express and Sun actually bothered to do their own independent research on the EU? A tiny percentage, I reckon. But then I doubt they cared. Blind emotion does not react to reason, and the leave vote was primarily driven by prejudice.

  23. @Millie
    “Do you find that your chess improves after a few pints?”

    You posted that a bit early for me. 8 in the morning! What’s that about?

    Anyway, the answer is no, unfortunately.

  24. @Alan
    “Life will be a lot more fun once the most menial tasks are done for us.”

    For some, but what about those who do the menial jobs (and may not be capable of more)? I’m not saying those jobs should be protected, but thought needs to be given to what happens to the people who do them. Perhaps there will be a reversion to servants as a sort of status symbol?

  25. From the Ashcroft poll – Scots ratings of which of the two largest parties would best deal with a range of issues.

    SNP, Con, Issue
    45%, 20%, Improving schools
    44%, 19%, Improving the NHS
    41%, 17%, Protecting the environment
    44%, 27%, Introduce practical policies that would work in the long run
    41%, 26%, Tackling the cost of living
    42%, 32%, Getting the economy growing and creating jobs
    38%, 35%, Dealing with crime
    30%, 30%, Controlling immigration
    34%, 38%, Negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union on the right terms
    33%, 38%, Reforming welfare to cut benefit dependency
    33%, 44%, Cutting the deficit and the debt

  26. Interesting to see how far ahead the Conservative party now is on the figures Old Nat posts.

  27. Prof Howard

    I assume you mean how far ahead of Labour the Tories are in GB on those issues?

    The data is in the Ashcroft tables, if anyone wants to extract them.

  28. @OldNat I am not sure why that’s an unlikely question from me. Perhaps because it’s a stupid question. In which case, I am afraid, it is very likely.

    Anyway I agree one can’t simply ask the court to do as you say. However, there must be some way of unilaterally asserting that what is good enough for Germany is good enough for us. The EU doesn’t seem to have fined the Germans for doing this and I can’t see how they can fine us. Politically this could be portrayed as an act of splendid self-assertion and buy us time to try and get some sort of sensible deal for all concerned.

  29. Interesting to see on Old Nats figures that the Conservative Party lead on many issues north of the border.

  30. @TOH – not sure it’s fair to describe the Japanese note as a threat. I see it as a simple statement of their national interest, and very sensible on their part. It’s also something of a statement of the obvious, as anything that diminishes free trade and free movement of labour between the UK and EU will potentially make life more difficult for Japanese firms based here, and may lead over time to relocation.

    This is perfectly sensible economics, and not remotely threatening. I was a little surprised that you have adopted this tone on more than one occasion.

  31. If folk want the E&W, or England only, data on those issues, that can also be extracted.

  32. Prof Howard

    I’m not sure that I would describe 3 out of 11 issues as “many”! :-)

    What is of more importance, however, is the salience that particular issues have in determining how people decide to vote, or indeed if they think that a party’s strength on a particular issue is a damn good reason not to vote for them at all! :-)

  33. Charles

    The previous government produced a consultation paper on creating a codified constitution for the UK (I presume that it was an LD initiative). Sadly, it produced little in the way of discussion or response.

    Had the good people of this state (or the rather less good MPs that are frequently elected :-) ) taken the issue seriously, then what you suggest could have come about.

  34. @Charles – regarding your city friends Brexit risks scenario, yes, I think it is very real.

    The current account deficit is at record levels under the current government, having been poor for decades, and is a huge financial imbalance that needs financing. We have been seen as a good bet for investors, in no small part because of the twin attractions of the City and being fully integrated with the EU market.

    The one economic measure that is slumping is investment, and there really are big risks here.

    Regarding your photocopying and business efficiency question, have a look at this –

    It’s a genuine 1944 document from the Organization of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA) entitled The Simple Sabotage Field Manual, and it was intended as a training guide for US agents working in enemy territories. It was only declassified in 2008.

    Much of it involves simple tips for interrupting production in factories, but if you skim through to page 18 ‘General Interference with Organizations and Production’ there are some real screamers.

    Like ‘Insist on doing everything through ‘channels’. Never allow short cuts to be taken….’

    Or “When possible, refer all matters to committees.”

    “Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes or resolutions.”

    “Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.”

    Probably the best ones are these two –

    “Multiply paperwork in plausible ways. Make duplicate files.”

    “Apply all regulations to the last letter.”

    It’s well worth a read, but remember – this was advice to try and bring down the Axis war machine from within.

    Reading through the parts on management and organisation, I’m beginning to think that we never actually defeated the Nazi’s, but they escaped and infiltrated our senior management ranks.

  35. Oldnat

    Fascinating poll for strategists. Labour has so much work to do south of the border. North of the border they might as well disband, the strength and breadth of of the SNP positives is stunning. Mandatory reselection obviously works!

  36. Charles
    “Why don’t we get our supreme court to make the same ruling (i.e. that British law trumps EU law)”

    I had the same thought, but knowing our judges, they’d rule the opposite.

  37. From what I have been told educational standards and attendance at University are not on an upward trajectory north of the border, while it is often said that the SNP has cut a lot of further education programmes. Some University Vice Chancellors have been highly critical of the SNP’s legislation as pertains to universities. Certainly these issues have been mentioned in the media and by opposition parties as being an area for improvement as regards government policy.

    Interesting, in that context, that the SNP have its strongest lead with people north of the border on the issue of education. I

  38. Charles and OldNat

    It is not about written constitution really.

    The change in interpretation of the law (as I said from liberal (what is in the text) to what the intention was) in the European court started with the Voxholm issue. The Swedes had some informal, but binding rules about collective bargaining. A Latvian firm challenged it, and some of the Swedish employers associations supported it. At the end the European court said that if it wasn’t in the law, it wasn’t valid, which made the Swedes putting everything in the law, while the German Constitutional Court (which examines all laws on request, not only,constitutional matters, just it interprets its decisions on the basis of the constitution) threw out a few European laws.

    So, it is about clout, arguments, and the time rather than written or informal constitutions.

    My favourite one about constitutional courts is the Hungarian one. Back in 1995, as a belt tightening measure the government decided to cut child benefit. After a challenge the Constitutional court declared that the measure could not be implemented for 9 months as people had to be given the choice at the time of conception.

    Not surprisingly, ever since all governments tightened the citizens’ access to the constitutional court, and it is basically non existent now.

  39. Alec

    ” I’m beginning to think that we never actually defeated the Nazi’s, but they escaped and infiltrated our senior management ranks.”

    Brilliant comment!

    That’s two successive posts of yours (as well as lots of others at various times) that I have appreciated and learnt from.

  40. @ToH

    I cited an interview that Stiglitz gave *about* his book. The title of the book is meant to attract attention, not be a conclusion, and you will note it stops short of saying the EU will collapse. “Future Threatened” does not mean “Will Collapse”, it actually means “Will not do as well as they could be doing, and is more exposed to financial crisis and political hazards of austerity and wealth division”, and that is according to Stiglitz *himself*. These are the things he said in the interview!

    To be honest, yes, if you’re going to resort to stating the title of a book, and ignoring what the writer of the book *actually said*, then I’m going to question if you know what you are talking about.

    He does say that the Euro in it’s current form is a drag on economic stability, and that the ‘cost’ of maintaining it *may* be more than the cost of taking it apart. He has not said it will inevitably lead to the demise of the EU, and you are twisting his words to say so. Please don’t do this.

  41. Gosh. Folks on here don’t half talk about that Stiglitz book a lot. Must read it.

  42. ProfHoward

    I think there is a general problem with undergrad education in the UK – essentially it is Fordist, so apart from a few, it is not really higher education.

    However, Scottish universities are pretty good in post grad education (in social science), but they attract fewer overseas students (not proportionally) for their conversion degrees. Actually, they are very good by all measures.

    The challenge for all UK universities at postgrad is providing a genuine postgrad education while the big fee paying users actually don’t want it. So reputation, professional standards, and budgets clash.

  43. Laszlo

    I think the Scottish degree structure is pretty good. I do think they’ve gone for a mass model so some of the seminar sizes are larger than they were say in the 1980s, which is a pity. Perhaps that’s what you mean by Fordist. As you say, that applied to some other parts of the university system.

    The market for postgrad education is quite interesting. In some cases it feels like a sausage factory – quite lucrative with annual fees of £15,000 or even more, but a lot of students don’t get a lot of attention for that money. Think of an MSc at the LSE where some of the courses (not all) seem to involve relatively little work on the part of the student.

    Bottom line I think that there is so much diversity in the post grad market. Some degrees really challenge and benefit the students, others are a bit weak in terms of quality.


  44. PETE B @ 10.35

    “Do you find that your chess improves after a few pints?

    You posted that a bit early for me. 8 in the morning! What’s that about?

    Anyway, the answer is no, unfortunately.”

    That’s deuced odd. Very unusually, I had a few pints before going out to play bridge a few days ago and I was amazed at my resultant clarity of thinking. I was able to call games and intervene with decisive overcalls with none of the usual self-doubts.

    Very surprisingly though, when I saw the results the next day, my partner and I had finished last.

  45. Jayblanc

    You are, of course, right about Stiglitz’s book.

    A couple of thigs. One is that while he is the author, and his conclusions are very much his without the slightest doubt, at least some of the data come from his students. It’s OK, except that the data is suspect (the same applies for the famous book on inequality…)

    Second is that he still uses a Keynesian model, which is known be wrong. There are massive problems with depreciation (it is actually a problem since the 18th century, and only Marxist economic theory had an answer to this, but it introduced a hell of a lot of problems, which made the solution discarded for the models, apart from Grosman, who is forgotten, rightly and wrongly), with unallocated activities (sometimes 10% of the GDP), the definition of income and expenditure (especially in case of privatisation, etc).

    The causes of the failure or survival of the Euro have been known for 24 years. This is pretty good, quarter of a century. So I wouldn’t trust any economic theory that starts from some abstract model instead of the contexts in which this currency performs (actually the notion of a European currency in an economic model goes back tom1924, albeit indirectly, in Kalecki’s work).

  46. Lazlo

    You say “he uses a Keynesian model which is known to be wrong”.

    Do you mean Keynsian models are wrong generally, or that the model variant of Keynesianism he uses is wrong?

    I think there is a lot of worth in a Keynesian approach, in many settings.

  47. For someone of my generation, who came to political awareness in Scotland after 1997, the idea of the Tories leading the governing party (be it SNP or Labour) on any issues is astonishing. It’s a shift I never expected to occur. By 2016, the Tories were supposed to be about where the Greens or Lib Dems are now.

  48. I wonder how Theresa May will go down north of the border.

  49. Prof Howard

    “From what I have been told educational standards and attendance at University are not on an upward trajectory north of the border”

    There’s a very good chance that you have just been told about the UCAS figures. Higher Education is organised differently here, and lots of institutions don’t use UCAS as their entry system.

    “while it is often said that the SNP has cut a lot of further education programmes”

    That’s absolutely correct.

    The SNP took the decision to merge neighbouring colleges into regional facilities to save cash by not supporting small classes in the colleges that the Tories had removed from council control, when one centre could provide the course for the whole area, and stopped funding many of the leisure courses.

    They also prioritised full-time, as opposed to part-time courses, which concentrated resources on young entrants to the employment market – as opposed to those wishing to return after time out of employment (mainly women, as you might expect).

    Whether that strategy has been successful or not, has not been as fully audited as it should have been, so we don’t have a totally clear picture of how successful the strategy has been.

    However, a judgment would be even less useful were it to be based on opposition parties’ selective use of “student numbers”.

    Relying on “what you have been told” about a different system from the ones you understand – from people who have an axe to grind, or are simply repeating what they have seen in the London press would be a very unwise way to come to a judgment.

    In terms of what this site is all about, the polling confirms what we know from other sources.

    The public aren’t as stupid as politicians often imagine.

    They know perfectly well that cash only grows on opposition trees, not government ones.

    Should the Scottish Government restart funding of part-time courses? It would be good, but what would have to be cut instead:?

    On NHS Scotland, the media is full of scare stories (and BBC Scotland seems to have a correspondent desiccated to finding them!)

    But people know that there isn’t an endless supply of money, and patient satisfaction with NHS Scotland is at an all-time high.

    None of the above suggests that the existing party in government in Scotland is uniquely able to deliver such benefits. Just that the voters in Scotland are much more important (and possibly better informed) than those you are listening to.

    When they decide (and they will at some point) that the SNP are not the best people to run Scotland, then VI will change.

    I’m quite looking forward to a Green FM.

  50. Prof. Howard,

    As long as she doesn’t have a concussion like Hillary Clinton and end up forgetting a lot of important information, does it matter?

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