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…

Full tabs are here

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

1 2 3 4 16
  1. As a lifelong sceptic, transitional periods do not worry me IF the EU approaches talks with same spirit Canada would if Quebec ever seceded. We can wait three years.

    As for the exit fee, the pensions part is readily understandable. But the EU has no fund, and contributions should be made as they fall due. Same for other accrued liabilities, but giving credit for assets. What cannot be paid are simple future budget contributions – unless that is a logical extension of a transitional deal. Otherwise EU Law ends 29 March 2019, and there is no legal or moral argument for saying budget liabilities survive.

    It is not just fairness. If we tell the EU we’ll do anything for a deal, they will just up their demands.

  2. JonesinBangor: “So you’re of the opinion that genuine CAP reform will now happen in the rEU?”

    I actually think the CAP is working quite well after substantial and genuine reforms. The butter mountains, wine lakes etc have disappeared and supply and demand are broadly in balance. Production is shifting to where it can be done most efficiently, but the harsh effects of market forces on small farmers, the environment and the rural way of life have been effectively mitigated by support measures. Food prices for consumers in Europe are lower than in, for instance, the USA or Australia. And the EU is broadly self-sufficient in food.

    Of course, further reforms are needed, but some of these will become easier after Brexit (for instance, we will no longer be there to veto a cap (ha!) on payments to huge agri-barons).

    It’s an interesting reflection that one of the main reasons Norway chose not to join the EU was because CAP prices were too low and subsidies insufficient.

  3. “It may be inperceptible but IMHO this site is now moving on from the fact of brexit to the terms of brexit.This is welcome as it moves us on from a increasingly sterile debate. The site was beginning to resemble 2 rugby players having a scrap at one end of the field while the maul had moved down field.
    I am not yet part of the negotiating team but the “Divorce”bill must in practice be very flexible. It represents not a fine for leaving but a liability already accrued which does not feature in the national accounts of any nation. On that Principle it should feature in our nationals and be subject to ONS calculation.
    If Junckers has after a very good lunch loosely has promised to build a motorway in Hungary or a road bridge to North Africa by 2030 it is surely an uncosted promise which can be cancelled. it is different where there is a costed project either about to start or in progress. Likewise there is much talk about Pensions. If they are funded then the uK will have already contributed but if unfunded then there may need to be a top up contribution but as we are always told that there are only 30,000 EU civil servants and tthere are 27 nations our share needn ot be large at all.”

    Strictly speaking, all that accrues before a project starts is the cost of breaching the contract. If the EU promises to pay me £1bn to build a bridge, and they cancel the bridge, the EU owes me expected profits, and there will often be a figure in the contract estimating such loss.

    If it chooses to continue with projects, the extra expenditure above the already unavoidable damages for breach is not our problem.

    Methodology is difficult. After all, the methodology should be the same for net contributors, net recipients, and those who are cash neutral. The EU’s approach is that the more you have been paying the more you pay for the future. On your approach, net recipients will be liable for capital projects, even though had they stayed such amount net would have been dwarfed by subsidies attributable to the income account.

    I do not think there is a single obvious methodology, other than go try to isolate what is accrued and what is future.

  4. @R Huckle

    “It would be interesting if the polling companies asked more questions about how people came to their views. How many would state that they had read something in a newspaper ?”

    Very few, I suspect, would ever admit to this. People generally like to believe that their views are their own.

  5. @BLUE BOB

    “They also failed to ask,

    • Should we attack Spain with thermonuclear weapons now or wait.”

    Not a good idea as the fallout would likely fall on Gibraltar, and also on many thousands of British expats living in Spain.
    Maybe a full scale land invasion followed by annexation of the Costa Brava might be a better idea, so that we get guaranteed sun and warmth within our empire.

  6. @RAF

    “People generally like to believe that their views are their own.”

    Indeed. It is notoriously difficult to get this kind of information. People, for example, generally consider themselves uninfluenced by advertising. Then they act exactly as if they are influenced.

    If the Press genuinely believed, as they profess, that they are not really influential in the political process, they would not expend so much time and effort trying to influence it.

  7. Chris Riley: “If the Press genuinely believed, as they profess, that they are not really influential in the political process, they would not expend so much time and effort trying to influence it.”

    You couldn’t get a much clearer example of your point than today’s Sun front page:

    “The Sun Gibraltar Campaign

    Our message to meddling leaders of Spain and the EU…


    On a polling point, it would be interesting to track attitudes to Spain before and after headlines like this.

    It’s also sad that they can’t even get their Spanish right – that would be señores. A bit like a Spanish newspaper using Meester’s in a headline. We’d be well impressed by that, wouldn’t we?

  8. somerjohn

    I think it was a play on UP YOURS DELORS.

  9. test

  10. @OLDNAT

    This attitude against the poor has always been popular – even with the Blair/Brown governments.

    The English never like to consider themselves poor, rather simply millionaires in waiting.
    There is a peculiar social stigma here to being poor here that I’ve not found in any other country, even the USA. It’s just a reflection of the class system that is so embedded in this country.

  11. S Thomas 10.25

    Thank you for reminding us of past examples of the stupidity of some of our UK Press. Things don’t get any better, do they?

  12. Surely in general people buy the newspaper that usually reflects their views?
    I’m quite sure that the Morning Star does not influence my views.
    Thus newspapers will tend to confirm people’s prejudices, rather than change their views. That is of course influence, but the ‘political process’ is surely the process of changing people’s views – at least if it means increasing a party’s vote share so that it can govern.
    It’s a chicken and egg situation.

  13. ST: “I think it was a play on UP YOURS DELORS.”

    You don’t say!

  14. JOHNB

    it has a certain melodic charm.

    Hang on i think the Tancred is testing himself.For my part i have found him very testing over the last few weeks.

    May be he is building a huge post on the merits of Welsh Lamb in a post Brexit enviroment

  15. somerjohn

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  16. Interesting discussions on influence of newspapers on public opinion.

    It is my opinion that the newspapers negative views on the EU over a long period, are the reason for Brexit. If people have been fed this anti EU information for a very long time, then it is human nature to believe it.

    And during the final days of the EU referendum, the talk of Independence day in newspapers was very helpful to the leave vote.

    The current Homeland TV series has a very interesting storyline, where media and politically interested parties get together to try to push their agenda. In the real world, i seem to remember that there were allegations of social media data being harvested and used for campaigning.

  17. Good morning all.

    A fine site, I think.

    The Lib Dems are looking strong for the locals in May. Here, in Essex, lots of posters in gardens and windows.

  18. Rudyard,

    ” lots of posters in gardens and windows.”

    Yes but they’ll be “For Sale” signs……

    Oh, hang on, that is the LibDems!


  19. There’s very likely considerable confusion here in the minds of people as to what questions they are being asked.

    1. People are dead against migration from the EU. But when asked whether there should be Freedom of Movement from the EU and/or whether EU Citizens should have preferential access into the UK, they are all for it.

    I don’t think enough is made of the role that the benefit system plays in all this. If entitlement to Housing Benefits, Tax Credits, Out of Work Benefits, and Social Housing, were removed from EU Citizens, most of the opposition to migration from the EU would evaporate, and the numbers would fall a bit as well.

    The UK and the EU can have the Freedom of Movement it wants provided that the Freedom to Claim Benefits is removed.

    2. If people are asked whether they will pay an ‘exit fee’ they will obviously say NO. If they are asked whether we should pay any outstanding contractual obligations we still have when we leave, they will likely say YES.

    I, for example consider myself to be a ‘Hard’ Brexiteer. But I would not object to a full and final settlement of outstanding Net liabilities of somewhere up to about £20 Billion. And if there’s something else in it for us I’d go a bit higher.

    One of the UK’s many trump cards in these negotiations is that we have the money, and are used to paying it to the EU year in year out, and the EU Bureaucracy, and the Net Receivers, are desperate for it.

    A third of Net Contributions from Net Contributing countries, comes from the UK. We are the second biggest Net Contributors. and there’s no suggestion that Frau Merkel is willing, let alone anyone else willing or capable, of shelling out the money to make up the massive black hole our departure will cause.

    Even with a £20 Billion settlement we’d still be in profit after less than two years because the contributions stop as soon as we leave.

    But what I would demand as a condition, is tariff free access to the EU Single Market. No access no money.

    3. I also think it highly likely that people confuse the ECJ with the ECtHR. As a point of illustration however, i myself am in favour of staying in the ECHR, which is itself, nothing to do with the EU

    If we do, we must accept the existence of the ECtHR, which incidentally, does not have jurisdiction in the UK. All it does is offers opinions on ‘complaints’ it receives. It’s up to the courts and Parliament here, if they want to take any notice of them.

    But the jurisdiction of the ECJ is an affront to our sovereignty anathema to me.

    As for the standing of the parties in this Poll the interesting thing is how consistent the figures are from week to week. Considering the huge size of the Tory lead you would have thought it might have been much more volatile than this.

    It suggests to me that Corbyn is not just in his electoral coffin, but that the lid is screwed down tight.

  20. @R Huckle,

    I see a lot of remainers blame the ‘right wing press’ for pushing leave sentiment, but there is also the view that the BBC was very pro remain, so I think these things balance out.

  21. I think that the “oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them” saying is being severely tested.

  22. @Rich

    I must have missed the bit where the BBC conducted a 20 year media war in favour of the EU.

    I probably missed it because it never happened.

  23. Chris Riley,

    Oh yes it did. Did you see Dimblepersons face when he had to announce “we’re out?” He looked like there had been a death in the family. Added to that their constant carping when Mr Cameron was trying to get, what seems now, some very minor concessions, led us to this place.

  24. Dave – “Surely in general people buy the newspaper that usually reflects their views?”

    Yes they do.

    YouGov profiled all the people on their panel, and then cross-referenced it with the type of newspapers they read, the political parties they support and so on. See


    For example the G newspaper has a slightly different demographic from the G website. (The people who read the website are into international news, the people who read the newspaper arn’t)

    The DM newspaper is read by women aged 55+ on the south coast and east anglia, the DM online is read by women aged 18-24 in London and the north east.

    When those DM online ladies turnout more to vote as they get older, they might switch that London demographic towards the Conservatives.

  25. @RICH

    “I see a lot of remainers blame the ‘right wing press’ for pushing leave sentiment, but there is also the view that the BBC was very pro remain, so I think these things balance out.”

    What evidence? I have seen none, in fact quite the opposite as the BBC failed to demolish the UKIP lie about the 350M a week for the NHS.

  26. @DAVE

    “Surely in general people buy the newspaper that usually reflects their views?”

    Yes, but only when people HAVE a view! Many people are too muddle headed to understand the issues and so believe the tabloids and take their word as sacred truth.

  27. @Artair

    In the space of one short post we have established

    – that you believe yourself able to read minds through the television
    – that you think that one instant lasted 20 years
    – that David Cameron was negotiating with the EU for 2 decades
    – that you appear to believe that David Dimbleby is some kind of gestalt entity representing the entire BBC, from Top Gear through to the Tellytubbies

    This is very exciting. Have you any other remarkable insights you would like to share with us?

  28. Tancred

    It is always very amusing when people cite the bus slogan.This slogan down one side of a bus was pitched against the Government, a popular prime minister, the main opposition, the Bank of England, every national and economic forecaster and any expert you could shake a stick at and yet it is posited that the slogan won it unfairly. You naughty naughty slogan.Bizzare exercise in denial.

    And sorry to be drawn in but what was wrong with it any way:

    a. if one assumes a net contribution of 12bn pa to the EU that works out at just shy of 300 m per week. Is the complaint that it overstated by 50m? Or is it that it proposed it be paid to the nhs instead. People are going to look pretty stupid if the Government proposes to do that in par t in 2019

    Good luck to the Lib dems if they campaign on giving 5bn to the EU and not the NHS in 2019.Because they are worth it presumably.

  29. @oldnat:

    You highlight that some seem to believe it would be a compromise to pay liabilities.

    Firstly, the EU has been standing on legally dubious positions, but here it is St be cold that nothing is owed legally. I do not suggest standing on that as regards accrued liabilities, but it is far clearer than assertions they make as to what can be done under A.50. If they demand too much, no deal, no future budget contributions, and pensions are paid out of budget contributions.

    Secondly, your chaps in Remain are hardly helping inform debate. They generally respond to EU demands by uncritically saying we must pay what you owe. The distinction you rightly draw is not one Mr Farron is likely to draw anytime soon. If he did, it would be the basis for a bit of a united front against the more egregious demands from Brussels. And that would never do.

  30. Croydon incident
    There is a scene in apocalypse now where Robert Duvall offers water to a wounded vietcong before being instantly distracted and walking off.

    i thought about this with the BBC coverage of the sad story of the attack on the Asylum seeker (who is still critically ill incidentally).On sunday and Monday morning the BBC were all over it. They even had a reporter at the scene. It must have seemed like a dream for them. All they needed was a white mob of Crazed Brexiteers to fit the agenda.Unfortunately for them it seems that the mob itself may have contained asylum seekers.Cue departure of tV vans, moves down the news agenda, small entry online.. meanwhile boy still lies in hospital. I wonder what caused them to lose interest ?

  31. Regarding that YouGov poll on Gibraltar, someone has done a nice graphic breaking it down by party:


    Lab, Con, LibDem and UKIP all have majorities agreeing that Gibraltar has the right to be a self-governing British territory if they want.

    Only the SNP seem unsure about the right of the Gibraltans to self-determination!!!

    I wonder how the Scots would feel if HMG decided to sign them away to Trump.

  32. Artair,

    “Did you see Dimblepersons face when he had to announce “we’re out?”

    Exactly the same one he would have pulled if everyone had been predicting Leave and Remain had one!


  33. Candy,

    Not surprising really, by and large SNP supporters view most of the colonial possessions as historical anomalies.

    The largest group still think Gibraltar should remain as it is and I suspect would equally back it being their choice, but probably look at places like Cyprus or Malta as doing fine without us like most of the Caribbean.

    I am opposed to either the Falklands or Gibraltar being given back without the peoples consent and certainly it changing by forces, but then that applies equally to Kuwait!

    oddly enough we were willing to repel the Argentinians from the Falklands but didn’t seem that bothered about the Invasion of Grenada.

    Likewise we are staunch defenders of Gibraltar and it’s people but I don’t see us rushing to kick the Americans out of Diego Garcia!

    Funny Old World!


  34. peter

    Only fight a war that you can win. A lesson there for the SNP i think.

  35. @S THOMAS

    “a. if one assumes a net contribution of 12bn pa to the EU that works out at just shy of 300 m per week. Is the complaint that it overstated by 50m? Or is it that it proposed it be paid to the nhs instead. People are going to look pretty stupid if the Government proposes to do that in par t in 2019”

    People like you keep ignoring what we get back in rebates and also the grants we receive from the EU. Wales has benefitted greatly from these grants, especially the poorer mining or former mining areas. It’s not all one way traffic, so stop pretending that it is.

  36. S Thomas,

    “Only fight a war that you can win!”

    If only people were any good at predicting the outcomes.

    As ever we see in this people happily skipping between Principle and Pragmatism.

    Faced with a weak enemy it’s puff out our chests and talk of Principle, Sovereignty and Democracy.

    Faced with someone bigger and suddenly we look at our shoes and mumble about Pragmatism, National Interest and Real Politic!

    We can’t accept that North Korea or Iran could develop Nuclear armed Missiles and call for sanctions and action, while happily arming Pakistan and Israel while turning a blind eye or pretending they don’t have them!

    I can go with the Principled approach or the Pragmatic one it’s the flipping between them that I can’t abide. Especially when there are people are both Gung ho about things like Gibraltar whilst turning a blind eye to Grenada, Condemn the Russians over Hungary but speak up for suez!

    In part I suspect that’s why many in the SNP deep down are as against trident as Colonies, we like the simple life and if we had no overseas possessions and didn’t have to apply double standards between allies and others that would be so much easier.

    Like I say, Funny Old World.


  37. @S THOMAS

    Interesting about Croydon. It seems the attackers were themselves from ethnic minorities! Therefore probably not racially motivated, more like an act of spontaneous and brutal thuggery. Despite that I hope they get the harshest possible sentences.

  38. “Among those charged yesterday were siblings Daryl Davis, 20, and Danyelle Davis, 24, as well as brothers George and Jack Walder, 24, who appeared with co-defendant Barry Potts, 20, at Croydon magistrates’ court yesterday charged with violent disorder.”

    From the Evening Standard about Croydon attack.

  39. @MARKW

    They have English names but they are black – i.e. ethnic minority.

  40. peter cairns

    when you say scotland has no overseas possessions are you forgetting Orkney?

  41. Does the concept of ‘ethnic minority’ mean much in Croydon? I ask, because I am aware that the Borough of Croydon has a large mixture (racially) of folk living there.

    And racially motivated attacks are just as possible from people of Caribbean or African or Asian backgrounds as they are from those with European backgrounds. The idea that, because some/all of those involved are/may be of Caribbean descent, the attack cannot be racially motivated (see Tancred 2.17) is absurd. Racism is racism, no matter what the colour of the perpetrator, or the colour of the victim.

  42. The person attacked was a recent arrival, a group often mentioned negatively in the media.

    The attackers were UK resident.

    It seems to me that is the unpleasant element in all this. Racism, so called is not about race, itself a false construct, but about affiliations.

  43. tut,
    correction …seems to me that this is the un…

  44. MarkW,

    “It seems to me that is the unpleasant element in all this!”

    There is, it’s why we have the idea of “Hate Crime”, where the motivation for the attack isn’t anything the person has done or how they acted, it is just because of a difference.

    The key isn’t the ethnicity of the attackers but rather the motivation for the attack, that something essential benign, they came here seeking safety, was used as an excuse for violence.

    A mob decided to viciously beat up someone because they were;

    Black/White/Jewish/Muslim/Gay/Posh….(Delete where applicable)


  45. @MARKW

    I agree that racism is often more about culture than skin colour or hair texture. This seems particuarly so in the UK as opposed to other western countries, as we have a strong cultural rejection of discrimination on physical appearance – possibly a link to our imperial past. Nevertheless it was an unprovoked and brutal attack, irrespective of what the motive may have been. I don’t see how a xenophobic or racial motive aggravates what is already a very serious crime.

  46. S Thomas,

    Orkney is part of Scotland.

    They, like Shetland ,like to play at being Vikings, but Lerwick is no more Norwegian than Lewisham!


  47. @Tancred

    I don’t see how a xenophobic or racial motive aggravates what is already a very serious crime

    Because the law is that it does and that sentences should be harsher. My understanding is that the Law Commission’s rationale behind its suggestion that an aggravated element be introduced in these offences is to create a normative pressure (similar to the approach made to change public attitudes to drink driving from the 1970’s onwards) so that it is not only unacceptable to commit acts of violence but that it is additionally reprehensible to hold the views which led to that act of violence.
    How effective the approach is must, I imagine, be part of some long term research somewhere.

  48. When a mob stamps on someone until their spine shatters, are we to say that it was not so serious if those who did it had politically inoffensive motives? That sort of thug often picks a victim and then tailors the abuse accordingly.

    i understand that crimes targeted at groups create secondary victimhood in terms of the fear felt by that group – but such injuries make such issues quite insignificant. Fifteen years a piece, but as a minimum for discretionary life, would be good. Including for those who just shouted encouragement.

  49. @TANCRED
    They have English names but they are black – i.e. ethnic minority.

    Really, the only ones I have seen charged in newspaper pictures are white, one maybe black, hard to say and maybe some of the others not yet charged are black, time will tell. But to suggest this is a purely black crime is misleading

  50. Peter Cairns


1 2 3 4 16