Opinium’s latest voting intention poll has topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 31%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%. The seven point Conservative lead is much tighter than we’ve seen in other recent polls, which have almost all had double-figure Tory leads. While the lead has dropped in this poll, I suspect the difference is methodological somehow – most of Opinium’s recent polls have had Tory leads that are smaller than those from other companies. One of the results of the 2015 polling error and polling companies’ efforts to correct them is that we can’t really tell for sure which are right. Is it that some companies haven’t done enough to correct the errors of the past, or others who have done too much?

Given I’ve flagged up the increase in Lib Dem support in the last three polls I should also point out the absence of one here, they are down one point. We’ve had four polls since the Richmond by-election, two showing a small increase, one a small drop, one a substantial increase. Taking an average across the four polls, a very modest impact on national levels of Lib Dem support. Full tabs are here.

The same poll had a couple of questions for Keiran Pedley – the first asked people if they preferred a Brexit where Britain left completely, but got a harsh deal meaning the economy suffers, unemployment increases and there’s less money for public services… or a Brexit where Britain remains in some EU institutions, has freedom of movement, is subject to the EU courts and so on. Faced with that stark choice, people went with the “soft Brexit” option by 41% to 35%. However, it does, of course, assume that people can be convinced that a “hard Brexit” option would result in the economy suffering, unemployment increasing and so on. We’ve just had a salutary lesson that lots of experts telling people that leaving the EU would have negative economic effects is not necessarily effective. I think the most we can say is that it suggests if people can be convinced that a hard Brexit would damage the economy, jobs and public services and that a soft Brexit would not, then they would prefer a soft Brexit… but that “if” is doing a lot of work.

Keiran also asked two questions about a second referendums, both finding a majority of people do not want one. The first asked if people would like a second referendum after terms are agreed, the second asked if there should be a second referendum if it becomes clear that Brexit is damaging the economy. In both cases 33% said yes, 52% said no – suggesting that a declining economy wouldn’t necessarily make people want to reconsider the issue.

That second question is key in a lot of current discussion about public attitudes to Brexit. It is clear from current polling that that has not been any significant shift in public opinion since the referendum, most people think the govt is obliged to deliver on the referendum result and that most people do not currently want a second referendum. The hopes of some of those who would like to stay in the European Union are pinned upon the idea that as the negotiation period progresses the impact on the British economy will begin to be felt and at that point the public will change their mind, want to stay after all, and therefore be open to the idea of a second referendum.

Whether there is a chance of this happening is very tricky to measure in a poll. It’s asking people to predict how their opinions might change as a result of future economic developments, when respondents themselves don’t know the answer. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the economy in coming years, and we certainly don’t know what the public will attribute it too. It would be naive to think that an economic downturn will necessarily be blamed on Brexit by those people who supported Brexit. People view new events and information through the prism of their existing views, and many Brexit supporters will blame it on other economic factors, or on the rest of the EU trying to punish us, or pro-Europeans wanting Brexit to fail…. or take it as short-term pain that will be outweighed by later gain (in the same way, many pro-EU people will be liable to blame things on Brexit that have nothing to do with it. This is not a comment about supporters of one side or the other, but on human nature in general).


986 Responses to “Opinium – CON 38, LAB 31, LDEM 6, UKIP 13”

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  1. @Pete B

    No, Mr de Menezes didn’t himself do anything out of the ordinary or “wrong”.

    He just had the misfortune to look similar to someone the police thought was extremely dangerous, and who lived at the same location, and then to act in a way which had they been right would have put a lot of people in danger.

    The witnesses who described a man leaping over a barrier and running into the station were actually recalling the actions of one of the surveillance team.

  2. Neil
    Thanks

  3. Allan Christie,
    ” Hard or soft Brexit most people just want immigration to be reduced and controlled and power handed back to our own elected representatives.”

    Trouble is, the government believes cutting immigration is bad for the economy and does not want to do it. Power for westminster is meaningless if westminster then simply chooses to follow the EU’s rules even if no longer a member, because it has to to facilitate trade. That is the problem.

    The government has long dressed up the immigration issue as a right for EU citizens to come here, but this simply is not born out by where most immigrants have actually come from (ie outside the EU). I expect the government will continue to seek a solution where immigration continues much as now, whatever way it dresses this up in future. Soft brexit would continue to allow it to pass off immigration as an EU requirement. Same old same old, and I agree, not what voters wanted. It is possible to introduce other measures to cut immigration, but they will cost more than importing labour as needed.

  4. @ DANNY

    Re immigration agreements/caps, what i think many leave supporters who advocate trading with the world forget, is that the trade deals will come with visa agreements. So a trade deal with China or India will come with additional rights for Chinese or Indian citizens meeting a certain criteria to come to the UK.

    Many Farmers who rely on migrant labour who are willing to camp onsite overnight, to start picking crops at first morning light, will insist on UK government allowing EU migrants on short term working visas to come to the UK. How many extra border security staff will Home Office employ to tour the country deporting people overstaying visas.

    At the moment British citizens who have married non EU citizens can struggle to bring their spouses to the UK. There will be pressure on government to allow more flexibility after Brexit, so those currently prevented in coming to the UK to live can do so.

    I don’t think Brexit will make much difference to net migration numbers, but it will make the system much more complicated and expensive to run. I should imagine that the Home Office would have to recruit a lot more border staff and people to administer a new visa system. What is the estimate on increased costs ?

  5. @SqueezedMiddle

    If this is right, then it isn’t looking like such a disaster for Labour in terms of seats. They would have about the same number as they do now.

    I been looking at this.

    Of Labour’s 232 seats, their majority is 5% of less in 21 seats and 21% or less in 49.
    To meltdown to say 160 seats, they would need uniform swing of 7% directly to the second place party.

    Given Labour’s strength in their heartlands, and the limited ability of their opponents to smash threw the tribal brick walls, a Labour wipeout like the Tories in 1997 looks very unlikely.

    However, moving much above 232 seats to getting close to winning looks a struggle too.

  6. Correction

    @SqueezedMiddle

    If this is right, then it isn’t looking like such a disaster for Labour in terms of seats. They would have about the same number as they do now.

    I’ve been looking at this.

    Of Labour’s 232 seats, their majority is 5% or less in 21 seats and 21% or less in 49.
    To meltdown to say 160 seats, they would need uniform swing of 7% directly to the second place party.

    Given Labour’s strength in their heartlands, and the limited ability of their opponents to smash threw the tribal brick walls, a Labour wipeout like the Tories in 1997 looks very unlikely.

    However, moving much above 232 seats to getting close to winning looks a struggle too.

  7. @Mark W “Alec, for many JCs response was a welcome change from the usual hawkish posturing.”

    I’m sorry but this is wooly-minded liberal thinking that does huge damage to the left wing cause in general. The vast majority would agree with a shoot-to-kill policy during a Terrorist incident in the act of perpetration.

  8. OLDNAT
    Allan Christie

    “That’s entirely possible. It’s equally possible that they wouldn’t”

    “All any government, in any country, can do is to make the best call they can at the time – and it remains the case that most Scots want to remain in the Single Market”
    __________

    I agree and I’ve often said despite myself voting leave, Scotland may be disadvantaged by Brexit.

    I fully understand NS stance on Brexit but you know how some of they funny buggers in itchy tweed clothing roaming about in the borders might be thinking…..they were prepared to play funny buggers if Scotland voted Yes last time around and they must be taking stock with all the legal challenges around Brexit.

  9. I presume this “oath to uphold British values” idea is only being suggested for England?

    Damn fool idea even there, but did anyone think about NI?

    Wouldn’t mind an expectation that “human values” should be upheld – though that would make it much harder for UK to authorise the sale of banned cluster bombs to Saudi, for use in the Yemen.

  10. Allan Christie

    ” some of they funny buggers in itchy tweed clothing roaming about in the borders ”

    Aye. I’ve seen the Duke o’ Buccleugh. Mind you he says he doesn’t own anything in Scotland – just a wee bit interest in a family trust in the Caribbean. :-)

  11. CHARLES

    “The most effective way to control immigration is probably to have a slump. Paradoxically the best way to make people happy with immigration may not be to control it bur rather to have a boom. Immigrants go where work is and where there is work most of the locals are generally happy with the situation. This may explain why the areas with lots of immigrants had some of the most pro remain votes”
    _____

    Obviously the more immigration we have then the more the economy will grow but that in itself is a false economy. GDP per capita ain’t growing despite all that immigration, productivity levels are stagnant and I’m afraid you’re wrong regarding areas having most immigrants voted remain with London being the exception.

    Some of the areas that voted leave have high levels of immigration.Migrants coming into the UK more often than not have a better support structure to find them jobs (such as spud picking and other labour intensive work) than UK nationals.

    Agency companies flood potential recruiters with ready available migrant workers who are more likely to be transient in nature and have less family commitments than UK nationals.

    I’m not against immigration but it should be based on quality and not quantity.

  12. DANNY

    Yes there are no easy or quick fixes regarding immigration but it would be helpful if governments were open and honest about the issue rather than just pretend to be doing something about peoples concerns.

    My fear is that post Brexit we still have net migration into the UK it will lead frustrated voters into the hands of UKIP and even see a rise in extreme far right parties resulting in a much more divided country.

    The problem I see with immigration is that we have thousands of highly educated foreign graduates leaving the UK each year and not enough effort has been given to keep them here yet in the opposite direction we have masses of unskilled workers coming into the UK creating a lot of social problems around housing, infrastructure, integration and so on. I’m not blaming the migrants, I mean thousands of us migrate to Canada and the USA for a better life each year but back here there are increasing social problems and affordability in the private rental market is one of them.

  13. Not particularly important, especially from the point of view of UK polling, but considering the ongoing discussions on Nexit (no, Brexit), it is interesting to note the increasing complexity, with the added factor that the EL elected Gysi as their president.

  14. @ catmanjeff

    Fascinating analyses. Can you factor in how a LD revival might affect the outcome? I have always understood that it was the implosion of the LDs in 2015 which produced a Conservative majority – Labour under Ed Miliband increasing its vote in E&W by 1.5m as opposed to the Conservatives’ 0.5m uptick. IIRC Ukip was believed to have cost Labour 7 seats by splitting the vote.

    My guess is that a lot of Labour voters in Tory/LD marginals would be prepared to vote tactically again, just as they did in Richmond.

  15. @Syzygy
    ‘IIRC Ukip was believed to have cost Labour 7 seats by splitting the vote.’

    No – it was the Greens who cost Labour 7 seats!

  16. Syzygy & Graham

    “Ukip was believed to have cost Labour 7 seats by splitting the vote.”

    “No – it was the Greens who cost Labour 7 seats!”

    Actually it was the voters exercising their choices that ensured that Labour got 7 less seats than they might have hoped for, if only these damned interfering minor parties didn’t intervene in the comfortable duopoly that the two biggest English parties have been so happy with!

    Nobody “cost” Labour any seats at all!

    Labour are just as complicit as the Tories in continuing with this FPTP system, so blame them.

  17. Oldnat

    What you have said is fair enough. I would simply wonder whether the Greens would have run candidates in the 7 relevant constituencies had they suspected that they would prove decisive in giving the Tories a majority. Had they not done so , we would by now – following the loss of Richmond – be looking at a minority Government.

  18. Graham

    What you say is fair enough – but assumes that their primary consideration was to have one establishment party triumph over another establishment party!

    On that basis, the SNP would still be polling around the SSP share of the vote (greatly to your satisfaction, I suspect! :-) )

    Of course, the real contest in the UK would have been between the Whigs and the Tories on that basis.

    We see the same thing in Scotland, of course. the nuttier most partisan wing of the SNP rails against those who dared to vote Green as well.

    My point is simply that, in a democratic society, voters make choices. If that results in something they don’t like, they can make a different choice next time – or the same choice if they judge that circumstances have changed.

    I do recognise btw that you and Syzygy were just using the standard terminology of the political class – but that terminology was developed by them for their own purposes, and has little usefulness outwith the needs of the establishment parties.

  19. @ Oldnat

    I should have expressed more accurately that the failure of Ed Miliband to back a Referendum was thought to have influenced up to third of Ukip voters who might otherwise have considered voting Labour (self reporting to a polling company or the BES).

  20. @ Graham

    You may well be right about another seven constituencies where a lack of Green candidate might have resulted in a Labour victory. I believe Brighton Kemptown was one such.

  21. I often wonder what would have happened if Cameron had simply committed to an EU referendum only if his negotiations with other EU leaders had failed (in his opinion). This would have freed him from an irrevocable manifesto commitment and still offered the potential of a referendum if negotiations went badly. In the end, he (but not the Tory press) was largely satisfied with the negotiations but still had to call a referendum because it was a manifesto commitment. In other words, he boxed himself into a corner when there was no need.

  22. @Tancred “In the end, he (but not the Tory press) was largely satisfied with the negotiations but still had to call a referendum because it was a manifesto commitment. In other words, he boxed himself into a corner when there was no need.”

    This is a fanciful recollection of the re-negotiation that was roundly derided at the time from many quarters.

    It was telling that during the referendum campaign the Remain camp hardly brought it up at all. The Leave camp of course did.

  23. @Syzygy

    Thank you.

    My next tranche of analysis will be the regional breakdowns for the very reason you state. A small national rise in the Lib Dems could tip a number of South West seats back to orange.

    @Graham

    If my auntie had a thingy and a beard, she’d be my uncle. The truth is that Labour did not win enough votes or seats to win the election. A few more Labour seats would not have changed that.

    I know plenty of Greens who don’t vote Green to be anti-Tory (or anti-Labour) but actually to be pro-Green.

    If Greens did not stand, there is no certainty their supporters would vote Labour instead. Many would not. I’m afraid too many people still see UK Politics through a binary red or blue lens. It’s not like that any more. That world is dying.

    Why would someone who wanted to see the end of FPTP in the commons, or the end of nuclear power and our nuclear deterrent have voted Labour in 2015, when neither were on the table?

    Labour did have the chance recently to work cooperatively with other parties, but John McDonnell has ruled out supporting the Progressive Alliance recently.

  24. “many Brexit supporters will blame it on other economic factors”

    This is an entirely unsatisfactory argument. I don’t accept “human nature” arguments, because there is no “human nature”, at least not in the sense that any one “nature” is universal. What there is are human tendencies, that apply sometimes, but not other times, and that apply to some people, but not others.

    In the end, we know that about a third of the electorate are staunch supporters of the EU, about a third staunch opponents, and about a third are convincible one way or the other.

    “Many Brexit supporters” are a weasel words, how many? Enough? What do the data tell us?

    What I do know is that enough Brexit voters believed they were voting to remain in the single market, and enough would be prone to change their mind if there were a sharp deterioration int he economy, to reverse the referendum result.

    I think that is self evident.

  25. Alun
    It is difficult to attribute ones own views to a group.

    If you follow that then you can say that a large number of remain voters voted for remain based on the Cameron reforms which included leaving the political union. Using your group attribution technique 100% of voters(combining remain and leave) voted to leave the political union which would have been the most significant change in our relationship with Europe since the 1972 act

  26. Take the loyalty oath to British valued as espoused by the current conservative administration.That will sort out any EU dilemmas and the SNP.

  27. Values

  28. Good morning all from central London.

    OLDNAT
    @
    Syzygy & Graham

    “Actually it was the voters exercising their choices that ensured that Labour got 7 less seats than they might have hoped for, if only these damned interfering minor parties didn’t intervene in the comfortable duopoly that the two biggest English parties have been so happy with”
    __________

    Labour don’t seem to understand the basic concept of elections and that is voters “lend” their vote to a party and their vote should not be taken for granted.

    Scottish Labour learned the hard way in the end . :-)

  29. @ allan Christie

    I’m afraid you’re wrong regarding areas having most immigrants voted remain with London being the exception.

    I may indeed be wrong and it would be interesting to find out. My impression is that the Brexit vote was related to ‘prosperity’ and thus to employment and thus to the number of immigrants who want to live there. (Obviously there are other factors as well, proportion of old people, number of people identifying as English etc).

    A consequence of this logic would be that cities tended to vote remain as did London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds (just), Newcastle (just) and Leicester (just). Cambridge, Oxford, Norwich, Exeter etc also voted remain. The obvious exceptions are Birmingham (which just went the other way), Wolverhampton and Sheffield. Places like Middlesborough seem so depressed that they don’t really count against the thesis, while I am not aware that Sunderland is awash with immigrants.

    So I absolutely accept that my naive belief needs properly testing and I haven’t the time to do it.

    I am glad to hear that you are not against immigration. But aren’t you worried that if you make a distinction between quality and non-quality immigration you will impose a major bureaucratic burden on business? Why not just leave it to the market? Immigrants basically want jobs and insofar as industry needs them it should perhaps be free to recruit them. The same is certainly true for the NHS which would collapse without them, and Universities which depend on foreign students to stay solvent.

  30. @ catmanjeff

    I’ll look forward to your findings. I know that local by-election results are idiosyncratic and don’t necessarily correlate with a GE but there are hints of a possible LD revival in the SW … in Blackdown (Taunton Deane) :

    LDEM: 71.2% (+49.9)
    CON: 22.5% (-30.4)
    IND: 6.3% (+6.3)
    Other Ind and Grn didn’t stand this time round.

  31. CHARLES

    In England the leave vote was mostly concentrated in provincial England (rich areas and poor) with Birmingham and a few other cities which you pointed out being the exception.

    ” I am glad to hear that you are not against immigration. But aren’t you worried that if you make a distinction between quality and non-quality immigration you will impose a major bureaucratic burden on business? Why not just leave it to the market? Immigrants basically want jobs and insofar as industry needs them it should perhaps be free to recruit them. The same is certainly true for the NHS which would collapse without them, and Universities which depend on foreign students to stay solvent.
    ______

    Other countries operate point systems based on the needs of the country. Maybe if industries and scrupulous employment agency’s offered the same support structures to UK nationals such as, pick up points to and from work, free travel and reduced accommodation/ on site accommodation then sectors such as fruit picking, hospitality and others would depend less on migrant workers. I mean what how did these industries survive before mass intake of EU migrants?

    Like I said before, there is no easy option over immigration but people do want to see it reduced. I personally want to see more overseas graduates settle in the UK and more UK born nationals given a better opportunity to get off the dole and into employment.

  32. UK points based migration system. Clearly this currently does not apply for free movement countries but it does already exist.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Points-based_immigration_system_(United_Kingdom)

  33. @Catman

    “Why would someone who wanted to see… the end of nuclear power…”

    ————-

    Wot, you mean there are still some Greenies who lump Thorium in with other forms of nuclear?

    And fusion too???

    ?????!!!!?!?!???!!!!?!?!!!!!!

    Haven’t you filled them in yet?…

  34. @ Oldnat , Catmanjeff

    I have always been a strong supporter of AV as used in Australia.As it is, I suspect that many of those who voted Green in the seats concerned will have regretted doing so when the results became known.
    I don’t agree with Catmanjeff’s suggestion that a few more Labour MPs would have made no difference.Whilst Cameron would have remained PM he would have lacked a majority.

    @Syzygy
    Brighton Kemptown was indeed one of the seven seats – the others being -Gower – Derby North – Bury North -Morley & Outwood – Plymouth Sutton & Devonport – Croydon Central. Of course it is true to say that not all Green voters would otherwise have voted Laboue , but the Tory majority in those seven constituencies was so small in relation to the size of the Green vote that a Labour win would have been overwhelmingly likely.

  35. @Carfrew

    Alas, I am in the Greens no longer, so any chance that I can educate them regarding thorium has long gone.

    I now ride across the electoral plains free from party affililiation of any kind.

  36. @Graham

    It sound like you support moving from FPTP to another electoral system.

    A precognition system.

    ;-)

    Perhaps Labour might have won Brighton Kemptown if they used the resource they wasted trying to beat Caroline Lucas next door.

    If Labour did not push hard in Brighton Pavillion, I’m sure the Greens wold have eased of in Brighton Kemptown.

    ;-)

  37. I have always supported AV – but not PR!

  38. https://www.ft.com/content/9ec6ccec-c5ce-11e6-8f29-9445cac8966f

    Good article looking at the difficult negotiations with the EU ahead and why any deal might take a very long time.

  39. Interesting graphic from the Press association:

    https://twitter.com/PA/status/809771315284574208

    Number of EU citizens in the UK:

    1.4 million from western Europe
    1.4 million from Eastern Europe
    300,000 from Bulgaria/Romania
    22,000 from Malta/Cyprus/Croatia

    Total: about 3.1 million

    Number of British citizens in the EU:

    1.1 million in Western Europe
    57,000 in Eastern Europe
    8,000 in Bulgaria/Romania
    53,000 in Malta/Cyprus/Croatia

    Total: abouit 1.2 million

    It makes the EU’s refusal to do a quick deal about the status of existing migrants even weirder, as a lot of their people are in limbo.

    I wonder what their reasoning is? Do they believe that if they come to an arangement about existing migrants, it means they are agreeing that further free movement is ended? If so, then Mrs May is right not to make any unilateral moves, her best bet is that EU citizens start lobbying their govts to talk to us.

  40. @Catman

    “I now ride across the electoral plains free from party affililiation of any kind.”

    ————

    Man after my own heart!! I don’t think the Greens have a useful position on synths either. None of the parties do, and hence are in danger of becoming irrelevant…

  41. I see no one is mentioning the cricket and all I can say is, I don’t blame ’em. As our boys are ground into the dust on the subcontinent the question inevitably arises: Is it really asking too much for a spinner worthy of the name? And to this end, actually preparing some wickets that turn for them to get experience on? And why isn’t this matter of great import reflected in polling??

  42. @Allan Christie
    ‘how did these industries survive before mass intake of EU
    migrants?’

    Of the three key industries affected:
    – The NHS has always depended on migrant labour, previously from the new commonwealth and now from Europe. Whether we can make up the shortfall by bringing in more immigrants from other places (but therefore to reducing the volume of actual immigration) or by training more UK-originated staff is up or question. But there is either an immigration requirement or a cost of additional training to be born.
    – Food processing used to depend on either itinerant crop pickers (Irish mainly) or on female casual labour; I am old enough to remember my mother and her friends taking all us kids into the fields for a fortnight when picking soft fruit in Cambridgeshire in the late 60’s. The massive increase in 2-working-family households means this option no longer exists. In addition, cheap itinerant east European labour has kept food inflation low to negative for fifteen years; there will be a price to be paid by many poorer families when this unwinds…
    – social care is a relatively new ‘industry’, due to increased longevity and reduced care by family members who more often live at a distance; there is no past alternative to look back on here. It is principally a problem for London and the south east.

  43. @ Allan Christie

    In England the leave vote was mostly concentrated in provincial England (rich areas and poor) with Birmingham and a few other cities which you pointed out being the exception

    My impression is that provincial England has fewer immigrants than the cities but that they are equally ready to cite immigration as a threat. This, however, is not based on any detailed analysis of figures or polling.

    Other things being equal British people should be able to outcompete foreign ones in an English context if only because they speak English and understand the culture. So personally I think it important that other things are equal and we do not allow foreign workers to outcompete them by taking lower wages or worse conditions. In so far as foreign workers continue to outcompete us that is a case for increasing the skills of our workforce and the employability of our graduates. I am for doing both as well as attending to the problems of areas whose services are suffering because of an influx of people. That done, I would leave the control of foreign workers to the market.

    I am glad I am not a politician because I am sure that the media would make it very difficult for me to pursue such enlightened policies and also get elected.

  44. Graham: “I have always supported AV – but not PR!”

    That’s interesting, because most UKPR posters seem to regard AV as a half-baked system that the LDs were bonkers to accept as the alternative to FPTP in the referendum.

    However, I agree with you because under AV:

    1. Every vote counts.
    2. Everyone can vote for their true preference, without fear of a wasted vote.
    2. Single member constituencies are retained.
    3. While more proportional than FPTP, there is a tendency for the large parties to get a bigger share of seats than votes, so the ‘strong government’ argument for FPTP is partly satisfied.
    4. It’s extremely simple: just rank candidates in order of preference.

    It was sad that the AV referendum was lost due to widespread disinformation (AV is too complex for voters!), and the hijacking of the issue to express dissatisfaction with the government (plus ça change).

  45. Somerjohn

    I agree totally with your points. I strongly support AV but would prefer FPTP to any form of PR.

  46. Regarding soft fruit picking, there is already technology around to do it by bot. See

    http://www.cambridgeconsultants.com/media/press-releases/pick-bunch

    We don’t need to import labourers and pay them tax credits to supplement their wages, when the farmer can purchase a bot and get the work done without the taxpayer having to get involved.

  47. @Candy

    It makes the EU’s refusal to do a quick deal about the status of existing migrants even weirder, as a lot of their people are in limbo.
    I wonder what their reasoning is?.

    Maybe it is because they have said that they are not interested in talking about issues in isolation and will not talk about anything until we have said we want to leave. Unlike our own, which seems muddled and confused, their position seems to be very clear and consistent.

    While I take the point that there are a lot of Europeans in the UK your post does again highlight the problem for Brexit. Yes 3.1 million Europeans in the UK is more than 1.2 million Brits in Europe but what is likely to be more important is surely the percentage of the population who are putting pressure on their politicians. Is 1.2 million a higher percentage of the UK population than 3.1 million is a percentage for the rEU?

  48. @JohninDevon

    I think they’re playing chicken with us. They want us to cave on the issue of migrants and free movement.

    We can easily accept back all our people who are in the EU – the bulk are retired and we are already paying their pensions and we’re paying for their healthcare (the NHS pays Spain to treat our people for example).

    So we have nothing to lose by holding firm and staring the Europeans down. If it gets to the point where we can’t agree a deal because of their insistence on free movement, we walk away from the table, give people permission to remain who have been here for five years and conform with the criteria, and the rest go home. The EU can then deal with that fallout.

  49. @ Catmanjeff

    ‘Perhaps Labour might have won Brighton Kemptown if they used the resource they wasted trying to beat Caroline Lucas next door.’

    I agree that Labour should not have wasted resources on contesting Caroline Lucas in Pavillion but having done quite a bit of canvassing in Kemptown, I found there was a quite a lot of confusion amongst green supporters as to which constituency, they lived in…

  50. CANDY
    I wonder what their reasoning is?

    That the UK needs to serve A50 before negotiations can begin, perhaps?

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