As well as the Scottish polling, YouGov’s regular GB voting intention figures were also in this morning’s Times. Topline figures are CON 44%, LAB 27%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 9%. Full tabs are here.

Two things to note. Firstly, there is no obvious impact from the budget. YouGov’s poll straight after the budget actually showed the Conservative lead up, but it was conducted on the evening of the budget, before respondents would have taken in the row over National Insurance that followed. Now people will have had time to react to that (if not today’s U-turn), and it doesn’t appear to have had any real impact.

That itself is a reminder not to put too much weight on questions asking if an event makes you less likely to vote for a party, such as those in the Telegraph at the weekend. Questions like that could almost be designed to produce results making it look as if an event or policy will have an impact on voting intention (in fact, the particular question didn’t even give people an option of saying it wouldn’t change their vote!). In reality it is pretty rare for individual events or policies to have a direct and measurable impact on voting intention.

Secondly, the UKIP score of 9% is the lowest YouGov have shown for many years. The last time they had them in single figures was back in Feburary 2013. As ever, it’s just one poll so don’t get too excited about it, but it is hardly a good sign for them.

274 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 44, LAB 27, LD 10, UKIP 9”

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  1. Osborne

    Is he taking the p**. he says that the job will take him 4 days week. His Blackrock job is 4 days a month and he intends to remain a cheshire MP!!
    Whilst i approve of outside interests i would not have expected the outside interest to be that of Member of Parliament.

  2. Look what he did when he was full time though. It might be better this way…

  3. He will be able to bring a special insight into budget u-turns however. Any man who thought that taxing pasties, artificial limbs and static mobile homes was at the heart of dealing with the deficit deserves a special place in the heart of the nation.

  4. Somerjohn

    ‘It seems to have been little noticed in the UK that Enda Kenny is accompanied on his visit to Trump by Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley.’

    Are you confusing GB and the UK? I’m pretty certain it’s been noticed in NI!
    (and can we, on this site, please reserve the ‘NI’ for Northern Ireland and let the less important subject which may cost Hammond his job long term be referred to as ‘Nat Ins’?)

    I’ve been out of the loop for a few days so hadn’t picked up on Ian Junior’s visit with Gerry Adams and Enda Kenny to the USA. This may signify a major challenge to the survival of the UK, but I wouldn’t hold my breath quite yet. What matters to them is the peace process – something that Theresa May will have to deal with at some point…..

  5. Four council byelections, three Conservative holds, one Labour hold, nothing startling.

  6. @S Thomas

    Don’t forget the important stuff!! Like storage taxes!!…

  7. This is the problem when you muck up budgets so spectacularly –

    It has been previously noted on here by a number of us that education spending is The Next Big Thing, and it is quite funny to see Mr Austerity himself (now also Mr Evening Standard) complaining to the government about cuts, but it is a sign that Middle England has finally noticed austerity actually hurts people, and when it is them and their darlings that are getting hurt, suddenly it doesn’t seem such a great idea.

    More salient is that there seems to be two ways minority or small majority governments go. Either everyone knuckles down, exercise iron discipline, and work like tigers to stop their opponents overturning them in the commons, or they break into factions and seek to push a weak government around.

    After the budget, it starts to look as if we are in the latter mode. This is why I wrote about May appearing weak, despite her towering poll leads. She has backed down on a £2bn tax raising pledge, and is now facing a commons defeat over a significant spending cut.

    The Conservative Party seems to have parted company with Tina, and no longer likes the idea of austerity. This is before we even start to examine the splits over Brexit, which the Hammond slap down really seemed to be based on in many ways.

    Conventionally, I would have said that May is in increasing trouble, with a lack of authority and restless backbenchers.

    However, that reckons without Corbyn, the gift donkey that just keeps on giving. Any other opposition leader (and yes, I really do mean any other opposition leader) would have able to have crafted a position and have by now started to significantly embarrass a rather poor PM on all manner of fronts, but here we are – a bewildered and rather lost government basking in the reflected glory of Labour’s golden setting sun.

  8. Perhaps Osborne is preparing his retirement package. However I doubt the job of chancellor is any less time consuming than his new ones. How can anyone run a government while also acting as a constituency mp?

  9. Alec

    But perhaps Corbyn’s real plan is to do very little and make sure the attention is all on May as she implodes…..

    Unlikely, I think!

  10. Pleased on Osborne appointment, should mean the Standard is nice and independent. I have full faith in Gogre Osborne being politically neutral.

  11. John B: “Are you confusing GB and the UK? I’m pretty certain it’s been noticed in NI!”

    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. Yes, of course I meant GB. My only excuse is that I’m currently residing in euroland where the fine gradations of UK national sensibilities seem less pressing. And the sun is shining, the wine is fine and the prospect of the SS GB/UK sailing off into the sunset seems entirely acceptable. Bon voyage!

  12. Somerjohn

    I had no wish to hear of fine weather or fine wine, thank you very much, though if I can get my Italian passport sorted out perhaps my wife and I shall be joining you before too long!

    As to ‘maxima culpa’, it would seem that Ian Jr and Gerry Adams’ visit to the US with Enda Kenny has not received a huge amount of coverage, even in the Irish news networks. But a long road has been travelled since the outbreak of The Troubles, and I would hazard a guess that the destination remains still some way off……

  13. John B

    Ah, I’d forgotten the burden Brexit is placing on you and your wife, so apologies for any insensitivity on my part (I get mixed up between monikers, to be honest – Pete B and John B seem very different animals)

    But yes, when viewed from the more benign parts of EU27, the current UK does seem a rather grey and miserable land. Once you’ve cracked the language thing (and with an Italian wife that should be a pleasant enough process) life over here is really rather wonderful. A bit like moving from Detroit to California!

  14. I can see no possibility of Osborne editing the Standard and remaining as a constituency MP. He really cannot be serious.

    He always reminds me of Piers Morgan…

  15. Piers Morgan without the charm and popularity?

  16. Pleased on Osborne appointment, should mean the Standard is nice and independent. I have full faith in Gogre Osborne being politically neutral.

    Keep independent by having a senior active politician as editor?

    Satire is alive and well.


  17. “The prime minister told the Conservatives’ spring conference that Britons are “at heart one people” be they Welsh, English, Scottish or from Northern Ireland.” (BBC)

    OK, it’s a party conference, and leaders often make silly statements about how they would like things to be, rather than what they actually are.

    On this topic, however, there is pretty good polling evidence on the “national identity” thing, via polls and surveys asking the Moreno question.

    The last report on all the component parts of the UK (I think) was the NatCen report in 2012 – a bit dated now, but still a useful pointer to the fact that May was just inventing stuff,

    One point is clear: devolution has certainly not proved to be the harbinger of any strengthening of Britishness. Rather that identity seems to have weakened somewhat in both England and Northern Ireland, while in Scotland it has remained as weak as it has ever been.

  18. Re – Osborne not being continue as an MP following his appointment as the Evening Standard editor. Iain Macleod was editor of the Spectator from late 1963 for several years and did continue as an MP. Similarly Richard Crossman stayed an MP in the early 1970s after becoming editor of the New Statesman.

  19. Prof Howard

    Lots of people know about the improvements, and where there is still slow progress.

    These people are the ones that can be arsed to look at the statistics of the many measures of performance that span the entire age range involved in education.

    As a Prof, I presume you know about research – what is your own field of expertise?

  20. Oldnat – I would tell you my subject if we were just you and me – but I don’t want to “out” myself! There are not that many Prof Howards!

  21. I don’t know many other Howards in my subject. Though there are a lot on here! Whatever happened to Bristol Howard?

  22. Also I have outed myself as a Northern Irishman. So if I told you my field I would be identifiable I think – as Howard is actually my name.

  23. Thanks Rich. I wonder what Scottish people think – when they put aside partisan thoughts.

  24. Latest Holyrood polling.
    SNP back above 50% for constituency.
    SNP 51% (+3%)
    CON 24 (-1)
    LAB 14 (-1)
    LD 6 (0)
    Other 6 (+1)


  25. Prof Howard

    I don’t think Lucid Talk as asked similar questions in NI, or YG in Wales or England (whether as a proper English poll, or via their slovenly inclusion of rGB on England only questions).

    Does anyone have information on similar polling on views of Government’s handling of these issues in other UK polities?

  26. Prof Howard

    Asking about the Unionist theme of “getting on with the day job” – which should properly apply to those party leaders droning on about independence at Holyrood and in the media – makes your question an “independence one” which (according to Anthony’s belief that Scottish politics can be uniquely removed from Westminster politics) should properly have been asked on the other thread.

    Still, if Anthony has resiled from apartheid – who am I to complain? :-)

  27. Telegraph tweeting an ORB poll “Poll of 2k UK voters suggests delivering Brexit priority over fighting independence.”

    Whether that is UK, GB or English is never clear, given the confusion over such terms in London. Still let’s assume that those in NI and other outposts were asked, the polity differences may (or may not) be interesting.

    How Remainers were supposed to answer a question like “I would still back Brexit even if [it meant Scots indy]” isn’t very clear.

    But it’s the Telegraph, so maybe we shouldn’t assume any concept of neutral questioning in a poll they commission!

  28. I can’t help feeling that Theresa May has played a blinder by rejecting the referendum request. The SNP will lose seats in the 2020 general election and that will be the end of their attempts at calling for independence.

  29. @OLDNAT

    “Telegraph tweeting an ORB poll “Poll of 2k UK voters suggests delivering Brexit priority over fighting independence.”

    A poll of Torygraph readers? Seems like it.

  30. Tancred

    The Telegraph has 2k readers?

    Perhaps they should also have asked about the feelings about Northern Ireland (though they probably wouldn’t know where it is)

    “Ireland will block any agreement on the terms of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union that doesn’t keep open its borders with its closest neighbor, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said.”

  31. The UK education system isnt working. This is evidenced by reliance on imported skilled labour, and expanding discontent amongst staff working in education, who have been voting with their feet.

    Metrics of attainment have not captured these failings. It is therefore difficult to tell whether the metrics are capable of identifying areas of success, or giving meaningfull comparisons, eg between Scottish and English systems.

  32. Oldnat/Bloomberg,
    ““Ireland will block any agreement on the terms of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union that doesn’t keep open its borders ”

    Does that mean they will veto hard Brexit/WTO?

  33. Danny

    No EU state could block the UK just walking away from the EU, going for WTO rules, and creating a hard border across Ireland.

    But if the UK wants any kind of EU trade deal (and it isn’t clear that the UK government actually does) then it would have to be flexible enough to create an open border in Ireland.

  34. I’m not sure where that leaves May and Davis. I don’t understand whether they expect a deal or not. The Irish stance would imply they will only allow any deal which further integrates north and south Ireland, which implies the UK government accepting an effective breakup of the UK with regard to Ireland. Do the unionists mind being sold?

    Ireland will undoubtedly not be the only nation with its own agenda. Spain too has territorial ambitions. By the time all these are piled together, any deal might be impossible. Which brings us back to Davis’ statement that no one has quantified the cost of a hard Brexit.

  35. @OLDNAT

    No EU state could block the UK just walking away from the EU, going for WTO rules, and creating a hard border across Ireland.”

    Britain is only a member of the WTO because of its EU membership, so after a ‘hard’ Brexit Britain would NOT be a member of the WTO and would have to apply. Britain would end up with GATT trading rules, which are worse than WTO.

  36. Tancred

    Re UK non-membership of WTO – point accepted.

    I was being generous to the Brexiteers in conceding that it is theoretically possible that (if they walk away from EU negotiations early enough) they might manage to negotiate WTO membership by Spring 2019.

    Though, if they did that, the prospects of Scotland and NI leaving the UK might be enhanced, and the WTO might be hesitant about admitting a new member that was in the imminent prospect of collapse.

    Perhaps that’s what May meant when she talked of not getting the best deal without Scotland (not the EU deal but the WTO deal).

  37. @Tancred @Oldnat

    The UK is an independent member of the WTO. The problem is not membership the problem is all our WTO Schedules were agreed as a member of the EU.

    Therefore those schedules would need to be agreed. Membership of the WTO does not. An important difference.

  38. @Danny –

    What Ireland are saying is they will fight against any “punishment” EU terms to force a hard Brexit. However, all that needs to happen is for one EU member to refuse to do a trade deal and de facto there will be a hard Brexit. So while it’s nice (and not unexpected) for Eire to be on our side – “We are four nations but essentially one people, after all,” hey @Oldnat ;) – I really don’t think this changes the dynamic to a great extent.

    The negotiations are going to be fascinating.

  39. The WTO website and wikipedia both seem to think the Uk is a member, and all GATT members moved on to being WTO members when it was founded. The EU is also a member in its own right. The WTO website listes tables of trading concessions for each country, but does not seem to list EU members separately, presumably they are lumped in under EU. Norway, on the other hand, has its own entry. I am unclear what therefore would be the UKs formal list of trading terms if it left.

    How it really works seems something of a mystery, however, and I am little the wiser from reading the wikipedia entry. It would seem to treat nations and customs unions or FTA differently, which probably has implications for something. I would guess it allows members of such an organiation to give each other a special deal. Perhaps what the rules say is that if you wish to have special terms with any nation, you have to create such an organisation with them? So, to get special terms with the EU after leaving its customs union or FTA, maybe we need to create a brand new customs unions which consists of us and them as the two members? Any further explanations appreciated….

  40. Sae Change,
    “What Ireland are saying is they will fight against any “punishment” EU terms to force a hard Brexit.”

    I read the linked article, which indeed might not accurately represent the Irish position. What it says is that the Irish government will block any deal which imposes a hard border between north and south. I would assume this means it will block any proposals by the Uk for such a thing just as much as by anyone else. I imagine it could say, ‘ we agree to the UK getting such and such trade deal, but only provided the UK puts Northern Ireland effectively on the EU/Irish side of any new trade barrier between the Uk and EU. In other words, increasing the separation between Northern Ireland and the mainland. Either give up
    Northern ireland as part of the Uk, or no deal.

    What happens if the UK does not agree, is another matter. As pointed out, Ireland cannot veto ‘no deal’. However, I would foresee discontent in Northern Ireland. Whether everyone would be happy with the Irish solution is also problematic.

  41. There was a very informative piece in the FT recently (28 February, Brexit and the issue of the WTO schedules by David Allen Green) that explained in detail the WTO situation. Basically:

    – Yes, we are a member of the WTO
    – Approving of the schedules is only a formality and can only be objected to on narrow, technical grounds, so cannot be held up for wider political reasons.

    Very interesting ORB poll. Suggests the majority of the population across the UK don’t care about Scotland as much as the SNP think they do, or only as much as a referendum might undermine negotiation over the EU, which is presumably the aim of Nicola Sturgeon.

    Of course, even more interesting will be the regional breaks.

  42. Pete, thank you for the link.

    It would appear to say that the Uk will have to negotiate a new set of trading relations which must be agreed by every existing member of the WTO, including the EU, all of whom have a veto on agreement. It also notes that our terms would interact with existing EU terms, because we might be expected to share quotas with them and various parties would want improvements in their own position. However, it also says that negotiations for revised EU terms are still not complete following EU expansion!

    In the absence of unanimous agreement on UK membership terms, the Uk will have to default to something unspecified. With regard to ireland’s stated veto on a hard border with the north, I would think they both have a veto on any terms the EU might agree with the Uk and also by their own veto inside the EU on its actions, on any changes to WTO terms to accommodate the new UK.

  43. That should be “unfrozen” not “undressing” in my last post!

  44. It appears my council tax has gone up 4.8%, I think I am reading it correct. No doubt a large chunk of this is huge pensions whilst they merrily close libraries.

  45. @Danny

    I suggest reading the FT article referred to in Robert C’s comment above ( It is quite clear that the rest of the WTO would *not* have a veto over Britain’s trade relations. They do have a sort of veto over whether such agreements are “certified” but this is an empty formality – the EU/EEC’s own trade relations have not been certified since 1974!

  46. Richo :

    I think it is more likely the latest cut in funding from Westminster. Your council will be spending much less in real terms than 7 years ago but a higher proportion now has to come from council tax. The rise would be higher if it was allowed.

  47. @Richo @bazinWales

    In Kirklees the Govt grant was £479 m in 2009/2010. In 2015/2015 it was £431 m.

    That’s a large cut, especially when the cost base has risen through inflation, wage increases etc.

    Services have been cut dramatically, and many jobs have gone.

    Many of the pensions paid out are of a few thousand pounds per year to low paid dinner ladies and bin men etc, people who earned very little in their working lives.

    On balance, I think your comment was a little unfair to councils that are really struggling with a declining income and increased demand for services, such as elderly social care.

  48. Dinner ladies, refuge collector’s pensions I couldn’t agree more, deserve every penny. I do think snr mgnt and council chief executives have got out of hand though. My local council chief is paid I believe 20k more than Theresa May. His decisions seem to be based around the scale of cutting bin collections to every fortnight whilst May has things like managing Brexit, nuclear deterrent etc. Something isn’t right on the pay comparison, or maybe it’s just me?!

  49. @Carfrew – you noticed that too?

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