ICM’s regular poll for the Guardian is out today and has topline figures of CON 43%(-2), LAB 25%(-1), LDEM 11%(+2), UKIP 11%(+1), GRN 4%(nc). The 25% for Labour equals the lowest in the ICM/Guardian series of polls, previously reached during the nadir of Gordon Brown’s government in 2009.

Looking ahead to the Brexit negotiations ICM also tested out some of the compromises that Theresa May may have to make in the years ahead:

  • By 48% to 28% people said they would be happy to give EU citizens preferential treatment compared to non-EU nationals when coming to work in Britain
  • People were also happy to accept, by 54% to 29%, continued freedom of movement during a transitional period
  • By 47% to 34% people said it would be not be acceptable to continue to follow ECJ rulings during a transititonal period (though given the widespread confusion between the European Court and European Court of Human Rights I do ponder how mant thought this was a human rights question)
  • The trickiest bits were, however, on spending – all three different financial settlements that ICM tested were rejected by the public: only 33% thought it would be acceptable to pay a £3bn “exit fee”, only 15% thought a £10bn fee would be acceptable, only 10% thought a £20bn “exit fee” would be acceptable. How and if the government manage to sell the financial settlement part of Brexit to the public is going to be interesting…

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759 Responses to “ICM/Guardian – CON 43, LAB 25, LDEM 11, UKIP 11”

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  1. S Thomas

    “Can i predict:”

    Of course you can! Anyone can, and at least yours are less enigmatic than those of the Brahan Seer!

    Of course, history is full of examples of people making predictions – sometimes they even got one or two of them right.

  2. Bardin1

    “A civil servant just needs to ‘inadvertently’ add the Treaty of Union to the Great Repeal Act and the job’s done…”

    Which Treaty of Union though? :-)

  3. BARDIN1

    It is amusing, but not that much …

    When the EU and Hungary signed the Interim Agreement on the association (and eventually the membership), all member states’ Parliaments and the EP voted on it (1991).

    Then there was a mission from Brussels to Hungary because there was a little error in the text. It raised the quota and reduced the customs duty. Some member states (may the veil of forgetfulness cover their name) didn’t like this as it affected the textile industry, in particular outward processing in trade. So as a result of the negotiations the text was changed, without informing any of the parliaments, after all, the association agreement was coming in 18 months’ time, and the difference between thqt and the interim agreement was only that little point.

  4. OLDNAT @ BZ
    Certain to vote : Sco 75% : Eng regions 52-54%

    I haven’t looked for finer detail, but part of the difference may be down to the fact that not all those polled will have read the question correctly and could be unsure whether their bailliwick will get to vote at all on 4 May, whereas all of Scotland will have the opportunity to vote in May so misreading the question would make no difference to the answer given.

    What struck me as interesting were the responses to: In hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the European Union?
    Right to leave: GB 46% SCO 33%
    Wrong to leave: GB 42% SCO 63%
    Don’t know: GB 11% SCO 4%

    Unsurprising that the GB numbers are pretty much the same as the referendum vote but the Scottish numbers haven’t changed much either despite the apparent changes in policy of the 3 unionist parties. Not exactly a resounding vote of confidence in the 3 party leaders.

  5. Barbazenzero

    It was a Westminster VI poll, so theoretically the same for everyone.

    In reality, of course, everyone in Wales and Scotland is the subject of current campaigning for May 4th, along with parts of England.

    Despite that, the figures for each of the English regions is within a % point.

    As to the attitudes on Brexit, every poll seems to suggest that few have changed their minds. As someone (sorry, I forget who) wisely said upthread, that may be because everyone recognises its importance, but it has no salience as voter choices are no longer of much relevance, until some outcome becomes clear.

    That the total reversal of position by Davidson, and the partial change by the others hasn’t changed opinion would seem to confirm that.

  6. @Laszlo – I agree, your example is not amusing at all, and though for civil servants the temptation must sometimes be there I would hope their own ethics (after all, they are not in the job for the money in most cases) would prevent them from acting in such a way. I was just musing on the previous post..

    I have always been optimistic about human nature and not often proved wrong…

  7. “Labour need a Martin Schulz effect”.

    I’m confused. I thought the Martin Schultz Effect was a jazz-soul combo from the early 1970’s?

  8. Alec

    Well, a jazz-soul combo from the early 1970’s certainly couldn’t do Lab any more harm, and would sound much better.

  9. Looking at a summary of GDP stats from eurostat.


    But GDP is known to exaggerate the wealth of economies which largely recycle wealth made elsewhere – Luxembourg, Ireland, Gibraltar, London etc.


    Does anyone know of an up to date source of GNP for EU countries and the UK’s nations and regions?

  10. OldNat

    They seem to have abandoned GNP in favour of GNI. The values are rather different, but the historical data suggest that the trend is very similar to GNP. However, because of oil GNI may not be the best measure for Scotland.

  11. @S Thomas
    ‘Can I predict?’

    Not bad, but there is no way that Corbyn can survive until 2020, or that he will wish to.

    He looks increasingly exhausted, and unhappy. The story now is how to resolve things within the party to achieve an honourable exit and select an appropriate successor.

    Labour seem to have plateaued at around 25/26, but within that ‘core’ support I suspect there is an awful lot of unhappiness: hence Corbyn’s abysmal personal ratings.

    The Left are divided between those reconciled to permanent opposition but determined to remain ‘ideologically pure’ and those who still wish to build a electorally successful party. The latter will combine with the PLP to oust him. It is now all about how and who.

    May 4 will be interesting: many Labour supporters may desert the party just to get rid of him.

  12. Sea Change,
    “@Danny “Soft Brexit?”

    No that has already been ruled out. We are leaving the single market and the customs union and repealing the EEC Communities Act of 1972.”

    The essence of the dilemma facing the government. The deal you suggest sounds exactly like soft Brexit, but you say you have ruled out what you propose as the solution.

  13. @Danny 7.58pm

    “This is where I have problems. I have difficulty reconciling the idea a party is ‘doomed’ with activists seizing control away from the party’s professionals who increasingly do not represent them. If it is doomed, then it is because it has separated from its members, not because they have foisted a leader on the party the professionals dislike.”

    But that’s not really what has happened. Certainly in my CLP, there has been a massive influx of members but the vast majority of them are not actually very interested in politics: they have joined for X-Factor reasons, to vote for Jeremy. No interest in policy and much more interested in criticising New Labour than in criticising the Tories. Also (whisper it) they are not renewing their membership: there is no point being a member because there is no leadership contest. I suspect the membership stories put out by the LP will become a lot less common hereafter! Of course, if there’s another leadership election they may come flocking back but they may equally have moved on to other fads.

    “If this is a revoltionary takeover, how has it been able to happen? Surely their must have been a bleeding away of party members of the same view as the professionals. Or there never were any in the first place?”

    Haven’t noticed much bleeding away of party members (who had a range of views before the ‘takeover’) though there is a worrying and rather feeble tendency to say ‘there’s no point – Corbyn is driving the party into oblivion, can’t be bothered any more” but that tendency never did much anyway. The actual activists (ie the ones who are active!) haven’t really changed at all. Many are quite left wing (me amongst them), many Corbyn supporters, some centrists and a consensus that any Lab government is better than the alternatives but lets not go back to new Lab please.

    “Labour is not in trouble because its membership has taken control, but because it has failed to provide adequate policies to attract enough members who would then support those policies.”

    Labour is in trouble because it has failed to provide policies which attract VOTERS and because voters, based on my evidence -anecdotal if you like but based on knocking a lot of doors – have no confidence in a party led by JC. This is far and away the most oft quoted issue on the doorsteps.

    I may be in denial, but I am just a little heartened by the high number of DK/WNV polling. I’d say of every 20 Laboury doors I knock, 14 say “we’re all Lab here so of course we’ll vote for you” (sometimes untrue because they don’t bother to vote)1 says “Sorry but I will never vote Labour whilst JC is leader” 1 says “I used to vote Labour but I don’t think your policies are any good any more” and 4 say “Labour is OK but you have no chance with that clown leading you”.

    My hypothesis is that this latter group would identify as DK/WNV but would largely come back to Lab as and when we have a credible leader

  14. OLDNAT

    “Supporting an English Labour Government for policies in England which they saw (or could label) as being “progressive, could happen but might equally abstain, if the “price wasn’t right”.”

    Depends what you mean by “progressive”. I suspect that many proposals seen as “progressive” tp some are reactionary to others.

  15. S Thomas

    Your 9.23.

    I think i can broadly agree with your predictions, seem very rational to me.

  16. Re: Corbyn remaing leader.

    I maintain the view that JC will remain leader only until February 2018 if there is a change to 5% in the nomination quotas. Frankly, if that does not pass at LP conference in September, I foresee the end of the Labour party. #
    My reasoning is thus: Tom Watson and John McDonnell are the two machine politicians, if there was a way of compromising on policy they would have found it by now. Such a compromise on policy could lead to an agreed “acceptable” candidate and JC resigning on the grounds of health/age/to spend more time with his family. As none of this has been done I suspect both sides still believe its possible to destroy the other. To borrow a phrase from “The Godfather” both sides appear to have gone to the mattresses.
    The Labour party was always at its most successful when the socialists and social democrats in the party compromised, even Blair did this until the middle of his second term. Unless it finds a way to return to this compromise, which for the reasons I give above, appears unlikely at present, there can be no future other than to reach a tipping point where its election fortunes will mean destruction.
    It is, in my view, that the loss of union power in the Labour Party (who initially created the Labour Party remember) means that those who, as a result of their day to day work, have the greatest experience of negotiation and compromising to reach agreement, no longer feature greatly in the internal party machinations, if they did maybe this impasse could be overcome. What’s the irony? You ask! Well it seems to me that certainly in the Unite election it is the Labour Party machinations that are interfering in the internal affairs of a union.

  17. for those of you interested in puzzles the answer to the missing word competition, between “view,” and “that” is ironic, take that as you will

  18. Boris Johnson appears to have been comprehensively snubbed by Germany, France and Italy. What are the implications for a) the cohesiveness of the ‘western’ nations b) our prospects for a successful Brexit negotiation c) the opinion of Brexiteers that our exit will make Britain great again d) Boris’s political chances and effectiveness?

  19. @Charles

    You could add e) at what point, if any will the failure of May’s cabinet to make their plans work (Chancellor and Foreign Secretary so far) have an impact on perception of the party and/or leader.

    Or is a reshuffle likely?

  20. @WB

    I’ve said before that those conversations must be taking place, and I also had in mind Watson and McDonnell.

    Scary for Labour if you think they can’t get it together.

  21. @bantams

    In view of your close interest in the latest quarterly economic news from Scotland I thought you would want to know that the latest ONS figures show the number of Scots who are unemployed fell by 15,000 between December last year and February. Scotland’s jobless rate is now 4.5%, lower than England (4.7%), Wales (4.9%) and Northern Ireland (5.2%).

  22. Labour could easily solve their leadership problem by increasing the yearly party membership fee to £250. That would clear out the rabble and those not interested in getting the party to win an election.

  23. @CHARLES

    “Boris Johnson appears to have been comprehensively snubbed by Germany, France and Italy. What are the implications for a) the cohesiveness of the ‘western’ nations b) our prospects for a successful Brexit negotiation c) the opinion of Brexiteers that our exit will make Britain great again d) Boris’s political chances and effectiveness?”

    The implications are:

    (a) Worsening cohesiveness – especially Britain vis-a-vis the others.
    (b) Prospects were never good anyway.
    (c) Proved to be utter nonsense.
    (d) Boris will have to decide soon whether to stick with the Brexiteers or do a U-turn to salvage his career. If he does the latter there is still a good opportunity for him to challenge for the leadership.

  24. russia

    Hands up anybody (not literally obviously!) who believes that if Brexit was not happening Germany and Italy would have voted for sanctions against Russia.Any link is ridiculous.

    Their commercial interests dictate their foreign policy.

    The question is : was Britain right to seek additional sanctions against russia?if No then Britain has been stupid: if yes but we have been thwarted by german and italian commercial interests why does that discredit us?Does it not discredit them more?

  25. @ S Thomas

    Careful now or people may think you are carrying a torch for Boris: he breaks hearts you know!

  26. Stunning graph of the population of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland from 1100 to 2010:


    You can see instantly why federalism won’t work.

  27. What is it with English folk?

    Haven’t they heard of a cup of cocoa?

  28. @CatManJeff

    That graph is a bit terrifying, isn’t it?

    But it does explain a lot about our politics. People are stressed out because of the overcrowding. And also, having that many people makes you compete for scarce resources (including tax spending and housing), which pushes a population right-wards.

  29. Laszlo

    Thanks for the info on GNP/GNI.

  30. TOH

    “Depends what you mean by “progressive”. ”

    Indeed – which is why I phrased it the way I did!

    It’s one of those “1066 and all that” words. Depending on your POV it can be “A Good Thing” delivered by “A Good King”, “A Bad Thing” delivered by “A Bad King” – or any other combination. :-)

  31. According to the Mirror Labour has already won one council seat in Suffolk as the UKIP candidate was disqualified for writing UKIP instead of UK Independence Party on the form, and there are no other candidates. Sparing the voters.

  32. @Candy

    But it does explain a lot about our politics. People are stressed out because of the overcrowding. And also, having that many people makes you compete for scarce resources (including tax spending and housing), which pushes a population right-wards.

    Not sure about that, Why do populous cities tend to vote labour (leastways in the past) and remain while the countryside which does not feel overcrowded to me has tended to vote conservative and leave?

  33. @Charles

    Populous cities like Birmingham, Coventry, Worcester etc voted to Leave the EU.

    Regarding political parties, turnout is low in those areas. We shall have to see what happens when voting the way your granddad did fades away.

  34. @ Seachange

    Proffessor Keating says this:

    “So there are ways in which the Irish border could be kept open for people, but not for goods and services. Even were it economically practical, the Republic of Ireland has no power to negotiate free trade with other countries. That is the responsibility of the European Union as the customs union. Even were some ingenious way found to allow goods and services to be traded tariff-free between the two parts of Ireland, rules of origin and checks would be required to ensure that the provision was not being used as a back-door for firms in the rest of the UK to use Ireland as a backdoor into the single market. There are strong political reasons to find an intermediate solution in Scotland and to keep the Irish border open. There is a feeling that, since the UK has a flexible constitution and we have managed to muddle through in the past, something will be found. So far, however, nothing has been. ”


  35. Regarding cities like Liverpool which voted to Remain – they’ve experienced a population decline. In the 1931 census, they had 846,101 people. In the 2011 census they had 466,400 people.

    So a drop of nearly 400,000 people – so perhaps they voted Remain because they felt their overcrowding problem had been solved.

  36. @S THOMAS

    You’ve missed the point, which is that we (as represented by Boris) are seen to be the ‘poodles’ of Washington instead of trying to follow an independent line, as Germany and Italy are.

    I’m actually more concerned by Trump’s decision to send an ‘armada’, as he calls it, to the Korean area of the Pacific.
    This could easily spark off a nuclear conflict with incalculable consequences.

  37. @CANDY

    “Populous cities like Birmingham, Coventry, Worcester etc voted to Leave the EU.”

    Birmingham by the slenderest of margins – and I wouldn’t compare the other two to Birmingham in size.

  38. Candy

    You may want check how the boundaries of Liverpool have changed and how people were shipped out due to bombardment and abolishing the slums.

    However, it is also true that there has been a constant migration to the south.

  39. Candy

    Manchester also voted Remain and it has the second fastest growing population in the country.

  40. @Laszlo

    Modern Liverpool is a lovely city these days. Spacious gracious Victorian buildings, tree lined streets, lots of parks (I believe they have the most grade II listed parks in Britain). But if you look at the old pictures from the 30’s, it was horribly overcrowded and polluted. Quality of life probably improved massively as the population density per square mile reduced.

    Slum clearances probably helped – but the definition of a slum is that population density is very high and you have loads of people packed into a single house etc. The problem in the last decade is that in parts of Britain we’ve been recreating that again (lots of transient people packed into small houses, congestion in the streets, pollution arising from too many people and vehicles in a small area etc)

  41. OLDNAT

    ““1066 and all that”

    A glorius read, still have a copy which i dip into from time to time.


  42. TOH

    I suspect we might enjoy each other’s bookshelves!

    Incidentally, I note that Gibraltar’s status has become even more complicated. It seems that it is now being claimed by Leicester City, whose troops have already gone to war over it. :-)

  43. Tancred

    I have heard that there are some bad Hombres in that there Korea Sea.!
    There is an exceptional golfer on the north of the peninsular as
    Boris is no-ones poodle. He is ,however, more like an Afghan Hound.

  44. just sold a copy of ‘1066’ the other day It is indeed a funny read and should be compulsory reading for history in schools IMHO

  45. Seems manufacturing has more EU workers than there are unemployed, even if they were all qualified to do them.



  46. YouGov has a Theresa MayPoll (Everyone has to dance around it, strangling themselves in red tape)


    Quite nice to see so many respondents (46%) clearly thinking that “Do you think she is a good or bad negotiator?” was a damn fool question, since there is no way we can know yet.

  47. OLDNAT

    Ms Parker on Coolidge seems apposite: How can they tell?

  48. So… Regional Mayors…

    West Midlands looks like it could be highly competitive. I make it a GE result** in 2015 of;
    Lab 42.4%
    Con 33.0%
    UKIP 15.1%
    LD 5.7%
    Green 2.9%

    The changes in the national polls since the 2015 GE are enough to make this very close on paper, even under AV, plus the Tories are fielding an unusual candidate, chap who was the MD of John Lewis from 2007-2016 and barely mentions their usual talking points.

    This could be a very close contest on what otherwise seems set to be a pretty dull night, south of the wall at least…

    ** Please do check my boundaries. I make the seats per authority as follows;
    Walsall (Walsall N, Walsall S, Aldridge-Brownhills)
    Wolverhampton (NE, SE, SW)
    Sandwell (West Bromwich E, West Bromwich W, Warley)
    Dudley (Dudley N, Dudley S, Halesowen & Rowley Regis, Stourbridge)
    Birmingham (“Birmingham…”x9, Sutton Coldfield)
    Solihull (Solihull, Meriden)
    Coventry (NE, NW, S)

  49. Edge
    West Midlands could be close, largely because of tiny turnout. I have seen very little publicity for it so far and certainly no leaflets yet.

    As far as I can see there are no local elections in any area covered by the mayoral election, which will further depress turnout. I’d be surprised if it reaches 20%. In such a scenario any result is possible.

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