We’ve had three new voting intention polls in the last four days. ICM‘s regular poll for the Guardian came out earlier today, with topline figures of CON 42%(-1), LAN 28%(+1), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 11%(-1), GRN 3%(-2). Full tabs are here.

Opinium had a new poll in the Observer at the weekend. Their topline voting intention figures with changes from a fortnight ago are CON 41%(+1), LAB 29%(-3), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 12%(-1). Full tabs are here.

Finally YouGov at the tail end of last week had topline figures of CON 42%(+1), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 8%(-2), UKIP 11%(nc). Full tabs are here.

All three polls show the Conservative lead still up around 12-14 points, suggesting that the narrowing in the Ipsos MORI poll last week was indeed just a reversion to the mean and that the polls are settling into a consistent position of the Tories up around 40% and Labour marooned around 30%.

Ahead of the Autumn statement both Opinium and ICM asked economic trust questions – Opinium found May & Hammond with a 26 point lead over Corbyn & McDonnell on who they’d trust to run the economy (44% to 18%), ICM gives tham a 33 point lead on which team would be better able to run the economy (48% to 15%).

827 Responses to “Latest voting intentions”

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  1. The other Howard,
    “I’m not saying that at all and i think you know that. Once we have left the EU of course we can have another referendum to rejoin if there is enough demand for it.”

    So you are saying someone who has mad a bad decision and realises it, should never be permitted to change their mind before all the bad consequences are visited upon them? Wouldn’t that be immoral?

  2. @toh

    I note that you agree with Rich that issues about the use of the Royal Prerogative to sideline parlimentary democracy and the basis of the UK devolution settlement are minor points of law.

  3. @TOH,

    I don’t think the decision will be over turned. I would withdraw the appeal in case any more legal loop hoops are added to jump through. Just write a short succinct act and get on with it. If parliament vote against it, which I doubt, but if they do, all roads lead to a new election. Let’s see how the left do in that election. I would place a large bet on a landslide Conservative majroty then they just get on with Brexit unopposed post the election.


    So, it is right that the four polities are involved in discussion of Brexit but it must be how we leave the EU, not whether we leave the EU.

    [M]ust is a bit strong, but you’re probably right. JOHN B was also a bit strong re union flag waving xenophobes, but he’s probably right too. All three devolution settlements are certainly at risk if HMG is allowed to ride roughshod over them.

    Of the three, the NI one is of far the most significance in a Brexit context given the Belfast Agreement. The UK Supreme Court will be well aware of the EU funding involved, the importance of retaining the EHCR [1] at least wrt NI, the specific interests of another EU member (the RoI) and the requirement for the consent of the NI people to any change in NI’s status[2].

    Should their ruling ignore those [constitutional?] issues then I would anticipate the RoI asking the EC for an ECJ ruling on whether any A50 served by the UK is constitutional, something I suspect the UK Supreme Court will strive to obviate.

    Unsurprising, perhaps, given the pig’s breakfast of the UK constitution, but the Advocate General for NI is the same person, based in London, as the Attorney General for England and Wales whilst the Attorney General for Northern Ireland [John Larkin QC] only plans to cover the MLAs’ case, having been quoted by ITV as saying: Without any disrespect to those advising Mr McCord [re the Belfast Agreement challenge], it’s in that litigation the points are best pleaded.

    We’ll know a little more when all the submissions to the UK Supreme Court are published – presumably by mid-December – but we may have to wait a while for the judgement, particularly with Lady Hale [as quoted by the grauniad] saying: Another question is whether it would be enough for a simple act of parliament to authorise the government to give notice, or whether it would have to be a comprehensive replacement of the 1972 act.

    All in all, it seems unlikely anything at all will change on Brexit before mid-December and nothing concrete much before the end of January.

    [1] ECHR safeguards are covered on p7 of the Belfast Agreement with:
    There will be safeguards … including … the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and any Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland supplementing it, which neither the Assembly nor public bodies can infringe, together with a Human Rights Commission

    [2] Status is covered on p33 of the Belfast Agreement with:
    The two Governments [UK & RoI] … acknowledge that … it would be wrong to make any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people.

  5. @Rich – “The sooner some people accept the outcome……”

    I see you neatly sidestepped my post entirely.

    If you could explain to me what the _precise_ outcome of the June 23rd vote will be (and if you could have done this on June 22nd) then your point is entirely valid. You can’t, so any comparison to other referendums is entirely false.

    On Welsh devolution and AV, for example, we had a very clear notion of what was being offered on each side, with the details carefully worked out in advance so every single voter could asses the proposals and then decide on whether they wanted to support them, with the campaigns for and against able to campaign on the impacts of a known set of reforms.

    You can’t even tell me what Brexit actually means, five months after we have voted, so to tell me I have to accept whatever it means does seem to strain the meaning of democracy. Especially when the vote leave organisations knowingly l!ed about their central policy platform*.

    [*And believe me – had remain narrowly won, after knowingly ly!ing about their central policy platform as they did, I would have been equally happy to argue for a second vote with a properly defined set of Brexit proposals].

  6. BZ

    Thanks for that post which I find interesting. As it happens although I don’t claim any expertise on the law invoved from what I have read including your own posts I agree with you about the NI law. This seems a very tricky issue and probably the most difficult.

    From my point of view, and of course I am biased, as no doubt we all are, whatever the supreme court judgement, a way has to be found for the UK to leave the EU if our democracy is to survive.

  7. RICH
    I am interested in how the anti-Remain argument works in the hands and minds of the cleverest people and those who, because they are in power, campaigned against Brexit but now owe the positions to enacting it. So I listened to Gove this morning with great care.
    The way it is done is a kind of reverse ad hominisation, by beginning with one’s own opinion and then weaving whatever facts can be presented in a way which supports that opinion. In political discourse or persuasion it does the same for the policy which the government has determined and to which it has committed the country. In this case Brexit.
    Gove pursuing this strategy began his response to Marr by saying that the British people had voted to escape a customs union which prevented us engaging in favourable trade agreements with other countries, make our own laws in our own Parliament, and control our own borders. In reality they voted on the basis of what they were told by Gove and Boris, that migration was out of control, and had to be reduced to below 100,000, because foreigners were taking our jobs, and that payments of 350m. per week to the EU would be taken back for use in the NHS. Neither statement was true.
    Gove then went on to say “on that basis” i.e. about “taking back control” he would enter into a series of bilateral trade agreements. The implication is that he and others including the Government have a mandate for that change of trading and for any change that would bring about, say for privatisation in the NHS.
    He also implied that the referendum was a mandate for related changes in workers rights, and for a programme of controls on immigration, based on an equalistion of migrant numbers from the Commonwealth with those from Europe, and on skills needs.
    The statements made to the electorate. especially those about the feasibility of immigration controls and those about impact on wages and jobs were unfounded in any background research or the facts on their current contribution to the economy, or on the impact of an ending of the EU based access to skilled and experienced labour on UK industry and to the NHS and the care services.

  8. ALEC @ RICH

    Excellent post, to which you could have added Farage’s statement on the night of the count that he wouldn’t regard a 48% leave vote as decisive and would be continuing his crusade.

  9. @alec,

    But your argument could easily be applied to if Scotland had got a yes vote. There was a lot of ambiguity on eu membership, euro entry etc, same on debt transfer. They used $110 a barrel price for oil in their white paper, yet it was ridiculously over estimated, was this a lie then?, a deliberate inflation?, or was it a forecasting mistake. In fact, how can the SNP be almost a one issue party based around a referendum which will always be close, yet campaign against the outcome of a referendum, its laughable.

    A referendum is a referendum. We voted to leave, and we should leave. I know it must be tempting for @hireton etc to align with that bastion of democracy Mr Blair and try to usurp the will of the people, but it’s the wrong thing to do.

  10. @Rich – “But your argument could easily be applied to if Scotland had got a yes vote.”

    Indeed, as I have repeatedly said. I’m glad you are coming over the the right side of the argument!

    “A referendum is a referendum. We voted to leave, and we should leave.”

    This is facetious, as you well know. I note that you haven’t risen to my challenge to explain _precisely_ what leave means in practice.

    As is known by all but the most simple minded of Brexit voters, there are myriad different ways of leaving, so lets just sit down and work out what the best available option is and then ask the people again whether this is what they wanted when they voted to leave.

    As you say, a referendum is a referendum. I’m baffled why you are so terrified of democracy. I want more of it!

  11. @alec,

    I’ll concede one thing, any further vote for sccttish independence should be explicit in what leaving the UK means, to cover all aspects of any importance. The SNP didn’t want to commit to what it meant for currency on the last one as they were scared that a Euro option would lose votes,


  12. Rich

    “A referendum is a referendum. We voted to leave, and we should leave.”

    I have been watching your debate with Alec with interest. I think the above is absolutely correct, and the point he and others miss is that the Prime Minister and the Government of the day agree with you as well.

  13. Rich

    Part of the argument seems to be that people do not know what brexit means. Anybody who has listened to the Prime Minister since the vote result was annouced should be quite clear that it means:-

    1.The ECJ no longer has any jurisdiction on UK laws.
    2.The UK will control its borders again and there will no longer be unrestirtcted access to the UK from the EU.
    3. We will no longer make annual payments to the EU budgets.
    4. We will seek the very best trade deal with the EU subject to 1-3 above.

    Of course once a negotiation gets underway some or all of those points may be modified to a minor extent to achieve 4.

    That seems absolutely clear to me.

  14. Re: another referendum.

    The precedent is clear, 41 years between votes on this issue.

    2057; we’ll vote on whatever it’s calling itself by then.

  15. @toh

    “Part of the argument seems to be that people do not know what brexit means. Anybody who has listened to the Prime Minister since the vote result was annouced should be quite clear that it means:-….”

    “Since the vote” is the key point in your post. In other words you are saying that non of those points were clear in their entirety before the vote.

  16. @RICH

    “The sooner some people accept the outcome and ask the question ‘how do I get more people over to my position’, rather than ‘aren’t the electorate, thick, ignorant, racists etc etc’ then the debate will be in a much healthier place.”

    I think we are well past that point. The differences between remainers and leavers are too big to bridge. As for the referendum, I put zero value on it; referenda are merely tools used weak governments and leaders (e.g. Cameron) and nothing more than snapshots of public opinion. If you had a referendum every year on the EU you would probably get different resulst every year. You can’t govern on the basis of referenda.

  17. @Rich, TOH

    “We voted to leave, and we should leave.”

    Accepting for the moment that the referendum vote should be acted upon (which is itself questionable given the duplicitous nature of the campaign), what does “leave” mean?.

    IMHO the ONLY reasonable course of action is to negotiate membership of the EEA (if they agree, which is far from certain). That complies with the letter of what the referendum decided (leaving the EU), but avoids imposing anything on the UK public that was not explicitly voted for. Further changes in our status could then be negotiated over time (e.g. moving to a Switzerland-style solution).

    Of course, the fracture down the middle of the Tories combined with a wholly ineffective opposition (Corbyn/McDonnell being in favour of Leave) means this won’t happen.

  18. The UK’s departure from the EU will have profound consequences for the British people for many years to come. Of course, the Referendum itself was a device used by Cameron to placate the Tory MPs. No one in his party had set out, even on the back of a fag packet, what Brexit could actually mean. After losing the referendum, Cameron, rather than leading the country through these uncertain times, threw in the towel and retreated to the sunny uplands inhabited by the rich and well-connected, leaving the country to muddle through.
    Presumably he has been joined by his best mate whose legacy following five years as a C of E lecturing us about austerity, has disappeared like a puff of smoke. “George, who?” One can hear them asking in the Corridors of Power.
    And just when the country needs a strong, united Opposition to hold the Government to account with credible alternative policies, we have JC whose views on Brexit, like many of his pronouncements, are obscured by fog.
    Yet Brexiters seek to deny voters, or their elected representatives, any opportunity to voice an opinion on whatever deal finally emerges. To add insult to injury, anyone who asks for their views to be taken into account, is accused of being undemocratic or, worse, wilfully damaging the UK’s prospects.
    In previous posts I have half-jokingly quoted Dr Johnson’s view of patriotism.
    As time goes on, I feel less like joking. As someone proud of my British heritage, I find it offensive when my desire to participate in our democracy is seen as bordering on treachery.
    ‘If the terms of the divorce are going to be as sweet as the Brexiters keep promising, why does it strike such fear into their hearts whenever anyone floats the notion that it might be put before the British people for approval?’
    Andrew Rawnsley
    Today’s Observer

  19. Sorry, bad editing. The quote from Andrew Rawnsley begins ‘if the times of the divorce…


    I was just trying to explain to those who claim they don’t know what “leave” means.

    The points I listed were quite clear to me before I voted, as well as afterwards. That was what I voted for but I accept that not everybody saw it in that light. I suspect that for many if not most of those who voted leave, control of our borders was uppermost in their minds when they voted.

  21. Robin

    I understand where you are coming from but we just don’t agree.


    Putting up the Observor article as a measure of unbiased reporting is like using an alternative article from the DM in the same way. They are both totally biased newspapers with very different agendas on Brexit. However what he has written is interesting and I would comment as follows:-

    Whilst I might agree about DC, his mate as he puts it, GO is still active in the commons I have seen him speaking a couple of times in debates. I still think he has leadership ambitions.

    I think that JC and I suspect TM were secret leavers. I think JC still is whilst TM has taken Brexit fully on board.

    I have no doubt that the deal that finally emerges will be much discussed in the HoC and voted on. What won’t happen though is there will not be another referendum. TM has made that quite clear and I applaud her for it. So there will either be a deal approved by parliament or no deal and we leave the EU on WTO terms.

    As I have said many times once we have left the EU if things turn out badly then the people would no doubt have another say on the matter. Leaving the EU or the thought of another referendum at some future date after we have left certainly does not “strike fear into my heart”

    Or to put it another way I totally disagree with Andrew Rawnsley.

  22. All these points of concern on the referendum are all well and good, but why were they not made before the referendum…

  23. Have just been reading the details of constitutional changes the Italians are voting on.

    They have had an elected elected Senate since 1948, and Renzi is proposing to replace it with an appointed house (a bit like the House of Lords) on the grounds that elected people interfere too much and democracy is incompatible with being in the EU!

    Of course the real problem in Italy isn’t too much democracy, it’s the euro.

  24. Howard, I’m sorry – poor editing on my part meant that my post looked like it was completely lifted from Andrew Rawnsley’s column.

    It wasn’t. From ‘the UK’s departure ……. to………. treachery’ were my own heartfelt words.

    The quote from Andrew Rawnsley was as follows

    ‘If the terms of the divorce are going to be as sweet as the Brexiters keep promising, why does it strike such fear into their hearts whenever anyone floats the notion that it might be put before the British people for approval?’

    Oh for an editing button!!

  25. @Rich – “All these points of concern on the referendum are all well and good, but why were they not made before the referendum…”

    I certainly said this, as did many others.

  26. Alec

    “As you know, I have been consistent, across two separate referendums now, that a binding vote cannot take place unless the terms of settlement are clear.”

    I totally accept that, and I admire your consistency. However I also totally disagree with you. I see absolutley nothing wrong with how the Scottish, Welsh or EU referenda were held. In the case of the EU referendum it was clear that whatever the result it would be implemented. It was in the Government litereature sent to every home in the land. Like you I have been totally consistent on referenda. If the EU referendum had gone the other way my attitude would have been irritation, followed by “Oh well I’ll wait until the EU implodes and we leave that way, because you know that is what I believe will happen to the EU. No doubt you won’t believe that, but that is exactly how I would have felt about it, indeed I said as much to my wife on the day because I thought remain would win because of the “doom and gloom” prooganda of those backing remain. Well a clear majority of the voters ignored all that, and voted clearly to leave.


  27. Valerie

    No problem, I just answered the points anyway.

    The sadness of this whole debate is how polarised we are now a a country. My own hope is as time goes by, and the benefits of leaving come through, as I believe they will, the gulf seperating the two sides will decline until it is insignificant.

  28. Two possible risky predictions

    1) Trump does not become President following recounts in a number of states where problems have been found.

    2) Brexit does not happen, after Theresa May decides that she cannot proceed without a further referendum on a hard Brexit ( outside customs union/single market). In the referendum the country decides to remain in the EU.

  29. CANDY -THe problem Renzi is trying to crack is removal of Parliamentary gridlock , brought about by “Perfect BiCameralism”. Reforming things like Labour Laws, and Trade / Professional protectionism to free up the economy has proved impossible.


  30. CANDY

    Clearly that’s one way of dealing with the matter and no doubt we will get an election if the HoC or HoL try to stop us leaving. However like you I don’t think the Remainers want that, in fact I think they are terrified of the idea of a Tory Governemnt with a larger majority, and given a mandate to leave on the terms I outlined, and to reform the HoL (if they voted to stop Art 50) which among other things would remove the HoL ability to stop any government measure.

    having said that I don’t think there is an appetite for an election on the issue the public just want the government to get on with it.

  31. @Colin

    The problem with Renzi’s proposals is that it helps the corrupt.

    We moan here in Britain about people being appointed to the lords simply because they’ve been rejected by the voters and cronyism means they get bumped upstairs with a sinecure for life. But at least none of them are corrupt (that we know of).

    In the Italian system, corruption is rife, and people in both houses are exempt from prosecution (a solution put in place in 1948 to prevent what happened when Mussolini abused his powers to prosecute his political rivals).

    So to deal with corrupt MPs or senators, voters need to kick them out, and then the courts can move in to prosecute. Having an appointed senate means that corrupt cronies can simply be appointed to the senate, and they are then immune from the wrath of both the voters and the courts.

    It’s insane. If I was Italian, I’d vote No, and I suspect you would too. The solution to Italy’s problems isn’t reducing democratic oversight, it’s getting out of the euro.

  32. R HUCKLE

    1) I doubt it-my money is on an impeachment for mixing private business interests with the Presidency. Dems need to gain control of the Senate though.

    2) I doubt it-a General Election would be her fall back I think. I don’t think there will be any need for her to call one though. The legal outcome on A50 might turn out to be a major road block though. We will have to wait & see.

    By the way -Membership of the Customs Union would involve continued adoption of EU external tariffs & inability to sign bi lateral trade agreements. It is difficult to see any interpretation of the Referendum Vote which would make that compliant with the majority vote. And if you mean (membership of ) The Single Market, that would involve acceptance of ECJ rulings & Free Movement-also arguably against the spirit of the Referendum .Vote.

  33. CANDY

    I too think they might vote NO. After which a number of very interesting outcomes are perfectly possible-some of them very problematic for EU.

    I disagree that Italy’s economic problem is “the Euro”. It needs fundamental reforms along “Anglo-Saxon” lines. Renzi is just trying to do in Italy, what Fillon is now prescribing for France. But he has a Constitution which makes reform impossible.


  34. Colin

    Your post to R Huckle. You beat me to it. I agree that trump could face an impeachment attempt at some stage. I also agree about the fall back of an election (see my post to Candy) but like you I doubt there will be the need to maneuver one.

    The points you make about the Customs Union and Single Market are why I have always assumed we would not sign up to either, entry would be against the majority vote to leave.

  35. @Colin

    I’m always suspicious of solutions that involve tinkering with democracy or reducing it. You need to persuade people to carry your policies through, rather than put in a “fix”.

    The Americans have been moaning for decades about gridlock and how the founding fathers didn’t know what they were doing and how it was time to change the constitution. Bet the’re glad of gridlock now, especially as they have a chance for a do-over in the 2018 mid-terms.

    Also, the supply-side reforms Renzi is hoping to make will take about 15 years to transform the economy, and they need a weakening currency now to help them through, plus some fiscal stimulus, neither of which they can achieve while in the euro.

    If you look at Mrs T’s reforms – she coupled them with a pound that fell steadily throughout the 80’s, to take the edge off. If the pound hadn’t acted like a shock-absorber, the reforms wouldn’t have worked.

  36. CANDY
    Yep-but its Renzi……………or someone else. And two of the possible “someone elses” will be talking about leaving the EZ.

    Then we will see whether you agree that the chaos that will result is really preferable to fundamental economic reform via a fit for purpose Constitution.

    Here’s another deadline to look out for ( The Italian Referendum is 4th December>) On 7th /8th troubled bank Monte dei Paschi goes into the market to raise 5bn euros for recapitalisation.

    What will that market be like if the Referendum is a NO ??

    If the recap fails Bank MdP will need a state bailout. EU rules now state that bondholders must bail in before that can happen.

    About a third of those bondholders are ordinary Italians.

  37. Just a bit of a reality check. I was watching a TV quiz show two or three weeks ago, where contestants have to outbid each other on how many proms composers, or premiership football teams, or whatever, they can name. The subject of MPs came up, and the highest bidding team named only one MP correctly.

    I suggest that the questions on economic competence listed at the head of this thread on ‘latest voting intentions’ will form a much higher indicator of voting intention than the EU for many if not most people. That and some consideration of the leaders put before the electorate.

    The polls also seem to show that the Conservatives would be likely to win more seats in an election, resulting in a House of Commons less sympathetic to the EU than this one.

    There are some serious constitutional issues, quite legitimately raised by respected commentators on here.

    But whatever my own opinions, I think most people, certainly most marginal or retail electors, just want the government to get on with providing a reasonable standard of living and fairly efficient government..

  38. @Colin

    Given that the Italians like the Berlusconi/Musolini type, think what chaos will result if they change their constitution to concentrate power in the executive, and then in the future, someone like old bunga bunga takes control of that newly powerful executive.

    Constitutional changes are long term things and shouldn’t be made lightly. They shouldn’t be used as short term economic fixes.

    Renzi’s problem is that he has never faced an election. As soon as he got the PM role, he should have called an election, laid out his platform, and then having won a mandate, implemented it. Instead he was too scared to face the voters, thought he could ram through changes without a mandate, and thought he could run-around them with contitutional fixes like some autocrat.

    Getting a mandate always makes things easier, because once people have voted for something, they’re pre-disposed to give the policy a chance for at least five years. By-passing voters just gets their backs up. If they haven’t been consulted, they have no incentive to give anything a chance.

    I don’t know why so many politicians go looking for quick fixes instead of biting the bullet and facing and persuading voters. It’s hard work up front, but makes things a lot easier once you have the mandate in the bag.

  39. CANDY

    No doubt all very true.

    But we are where we are.;

    And this pack of cards is not stable:-


  40. “The sadness of this whole debate is how polarised we are now a a country.”

    Indeed. There’s the north, and then there’s the south.

  41. CANDY”
    ‘ Each party puts forth their vision for Brexit,”
    How will you know they are telling the truth?

  42. @John Pilgrims

    Well the Tories and Lab usually do what they say on the tin. Tories sometimes under promise – for example no mention was made of jacking up the minimum wage in the 2015 election because they didn’t think anyone would believe them. They simply put it up after the election (to great acclaim).

    With the LibDems, best to assume they are fibbing. (They actually had a referendum in their 2010 manifesto, but it is now clear they had no intention of honouring the result, and probably won’t honour the result of any future ref they propose either).

  43. CANDY

    Do you support the view that parties should be forced to stick to their manifesto which is otherwise little more than a book of fiction, or a wish list with the more unpopular things omitted ?

  44. @Thoughtful

    I think all the important stuff should be in the manifesto, otherwise people don’t know what they are voting for.

    Example: suppose Cameron hadn’t put the referendum in his manifesto, and then sprung it on everyone for some obscure party political reason. People would have been unhappy across the board. As it is, the ref was in the manifesto, people knew what they were voting for in 2015, the ref was not a surprise to anyone, and still the losing side of the ref is reluctant to concede.

    People in Italy and France keep citing Mrs T’s reforms, but seem to forget that she very carefully put each step in her manifesto and only implemented it after she got a mandate and buy-in from the electorate. She had elections every four years, there was no attempt to hide from the voters, because none of it would have succeeded without their endorsement. The Continental obsession with ramming things through by fiat without consulting voters dooms them to failure before they even start.

    One of the big problems with the Coalition is that lots of their policies were made up on the hoof in some backroom with no input from the voters at all. Like the fixed term parliament act, which is causing no end of headaches and only exists because of a need to pacify Clegg.

  45. The Other Howard,
    “The sadness of this whole debate is how polarised we are now a a country. My own hope is as time goes by, and the benefits of leaving come through, as I believe they will, the gulf seperating the two sides will decline until it is insignificant.”

    I expect the nation will settle down one way or another because this will be a great success or a true catastrophy, which will propel voters one way or the other. However such a result might take many years to develop. It is also entirely possible that what will happen is much disruption but matters continuing as before, just a little bit worse (or better). It may then be that no one will be satisfied by the outcome, leavists will feel they did not get what was promised and remainers will feel the huge uproar and loss of other perks of membership were not justified by the final outcome.

    My bet is that this will mark another drop in respect by voters for politicians. My expectation is that inevitably this will mark another drop in UK world power.

    The first problem with an elections is that there will not be a remain party and a leave party. Even if there were, the election system would likely not deliver a result where the side with the most votes won.

    The second problem is that I am deeply sceptical that the conservatives want a secure majority at this point. What I am sure they want is that none of this had happened. What they want is to be on the winning side, but no one knows yet what that will eventually be. As things stand they have a modest majority and can carry through the decision they have chosen, but still retain a measure of plausible deniability because of their internal divisions, should everything go awfully wrong.

    The debate on the Scottish intervention into the article 50 case seems to have petered out. I remain interested in views on whether the government, with all the lawyres it can muster, was well ahead of the game on this and privately welcomed the case. The Scots are now raising questions about the Uk constitution and the circumstances under which article 50 notice can validly be issued. This is clearly an issue for the EU courts, because if there is any question that notice was invalidly given, it will end up there. The scots would seem to be arguing that a simple vote of parliament is not enough to activate article 50 without their consent, and the EU may uphold this. To end up in a situation where the EU simply refused to accept UK notice to leave would be disastrous for the government.

  46. Danny,

    “I expect the nation will settle down one way or another because this will be a great success or a true catastrophe, which will propel voters one way or the other.”

    I am increasing thinking the opposite. For me both Brexit and Trump are manifestations of the politics of frustration and in both cases those who’s frustrations with the inability of the political system to solve our problems have lead them to back a radical alternative offering a simple solution.

    Whether it be “Post Truth” or a rejection of “So Called Experts” and the “Political Elite” in an era where the two sides seem to only believe what they want to and both have their own set of facts whether it is success or catastrophe people will stick to their view and continue to blame the other side rather than shift position.


  47. Peter cairns,
    Honestly, the whole thing is up in the air and all we have seen is people competing to see who will poke the stick further into the wasp’s nest.

    I agree with you that dissilusion with the staus quo will increase because of brexit, whatever the outcome. I think this because I see Brexit as merely a proxy for discontent with the governing class, both european and native. Brexit itself may become seen as a good or bad thing but that is a side issue to the question of national discontent with government or the true reasons it has arisen. Leave have managed to channel this discontent into a vote for Brexit, but it will not be dissipated by the final resolution of Brexit, if there ever is one.

  48. Danny

    It’s worth bearing in mind that the reason that the UK Parliament gave a statutory commitment that the Scottish Parliament must give consent to legislation which affects devolved functions is that they made a commitment to strengthen the powers, and permanency, of the Scottish Parliament in order to win the indyref.

    While I agree with Alister 1948’s point that most “electors, just want the government to get on with providing a reasonable standard of living and fairly efficient government” – and that applies to both the UK and Scottish governments – trust in government, to behave in a reasonably honest way, is a prerequisite.

    Everyone accepts that the UK Parliament (not the Crown) has the legal right to unilaterally change the constitutional status of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland within the UK (though the latter involves the unilateral abrogation of an international treaty as well).

    However, “solving” one constitutional issue by creating yet more would be problematic. If the UK Parliament simply acts as the English Parliament (which it also is for many purposes) ruling on whole-UK matters, then the entire trust basis through which Parliament has popular legitimacy is eroded.

    Constitutional matters are hugely complex, at the best of times. I think the attempt by May to use the Royal Prerogative was an attempt to sidestep critical issues and poking “the stick further into the wasp’s nest.” Of course, regardless of the Supreme Court decision, the wasps’ bike has been disturbed, and a lot of stinging is likely to occur!

    It seems likely (but let’s see what the SC says) that the UK could be left with invidious choices –

    1. Before tabling Article 50, legislate to remove the LCM requirement for this (and, by implication, any other area where the devolved administration’s attitudes are likely to be “inconvenient” to Westminster)

    2. Follow existing constitutional procedures, invite LCMs – and then ignore the views of the devolved Parliament/Assemblies. Potentially facing a ruling from the ECJ that they haven’t followed their constitutional requirements, and thus any Article 50 is invalid.

    3. Take seriously the proposals from NI and Scotland (and possibly Wales) that these territories should remain part of the Single Market : make these part of their negotiating position to the EU – and hope that the EU rejects the idea, so they don’t get the blame.

  49. I have a British political history question here I was hoping one of you might have an answer to.

    In the 1874 General Election, the Liberals won the most votes. In fact they won a majority of the popular votes but lost re-election as the Tories gained a majority of the seats. According to Wikipedia, over 100 Tory seats in that election were uncontested. Do any of you know if in 1874, an uncontested candidate still had to stand and receive votes on election day? Or, did being uncontested mean that these seats simply did not hold elections and the Tory candidates were automatically deemed to be elected? Curious to find out more about this.

  50. Meanwhile in America Trump is not a happy bunny about the possible state recounts. Several tweets culminating in one where he says he not only won the EC but also the popular vote ( if you don’t count the “millions” of illegal votes for Clinton). Harder for state authorities to deny a recount if the President Elect says there was massive widespread fraud?

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