This morning’s Times has a new YouGov poll of Conservative party members, asking mainly about Brexit and the party leadership.

Party members are a generally loyal bunch, so as you’d expect all the main players are seen as doing well, though Michael Fallon and David Davis stand out as having the best job approval. While everyone has very positive ratings overall, there are some contrasts between members who voted remain and leave, most obviously in the case of Boris Johnson. 83% of Tory members who voted Leave think Boris is doing well as Foreign Secretary, only 42% of Tory remainers think he is.

Despite the strongly positive ratings for Davis, there are doubts over the Brexit negotiations. 61% of Tory members think the government are doing well, 33% badly. Asked about what the government’s approach should be, 59% agree with Theresa May’s aim of leaving the single market and customs union and negotiating a new deal, 19% would rather just leave immediately with no deal, 12% would rather Britain did remain a member of the single market and customs union, 9% would rather Britain remain a full EU member.

In terms of the details of Brexit Theresa May appears to have some degree of flexibility with her members so long as Britain makes a clean break. 58% of Tory members would think a transition deal was fine (even if it includes payment and following EU rules), 61% think a one-off payment to settle Britain’s financial liabilities is fine too. Trickier would be any ongoing financial payment in return for market access (70% of Tory members would see this as unacceptable) or Britain remaining in the single market (69% would see it as unacceptable).

Looking to May’s future, there is very little appetite for her immediate removal (only 13% of her party members would like her to go now or in the next year), but equally there is relatively little support for her still being around come the next election (only 29%). Most Tory party members would like her to leave after Brexit (38%) or just before the next election (13%).

Who would be a likely successor is unclear. Boris Johnson leads the field as first choice, but only of 23% of members. Second is Ruth Davidson on 19%, third is Jacob Rees-Mogg, suggesting there are actually real party members who think he’d make a good leader, rather than just journos struggling to fill column inches in silly season. David Davis has now dropped to fourth place on 11%, Amber Rudd is on just 6%.

Asked what is most important to them in a leader the vast majority of party members say ability to win an election or competence as Prime Minister, rather than whether they agree with them politically. Their actual preferences paint a different picture though, with consistent differences between Remain and Leave Tories. Tory members who voted Leave say their first choices are Johnson (29%), Rees-Mogg (23%), Davidson (14%), Davis (13%). Tory members who voted Remain say their first choices are Davidson (29%), Rudd (14%), Hammond (11%), Johnson (10%).

YouGov also asked about various potential candidates individually. 58% think Davidson would make a good leader, 56% Johnson, 55% Davis, 42% Rudd, 32% Hammond, 31% Fox, Javid 29%. While the poll included some less high profile figures who have been talked of as potential leaders of the future, most party members didn’t really have an impression of them – 49% said they didn’t know enough about Dominic Raab to have an opinion, 65% said the same about Tom Tugendhat. Notably, of all those asked about Ruth Davidson was the only candidate that both Remain voting Tories and Leave voting Tories thought would make a good leader. It would be an extremely positive sign for a Davidson leadership campaign… if, of course, she had any interest in moving down to Westminster or seeking the job.

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549 Responses to “YouGov poll of Tory party members”

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  1. Missed out won’t!!

    I WONT put words in to your mouth

  2. TrigGuy @ 11.36 pm

    The Tory gains in Scotland in the June general election in spite of TM`s apparent opting for hard brexit and the insulting EVEL, were due to two main factors IMO: Ruth Davidson clearly pushing for a soft brexit, and the bright intelligent youthful candidates put forward, many of them green and liberal (small letters).

    Some of us believe that these MPs at Westminster can have a moderating influence on the follies of the further-right Tories. This in the same way that it would be good to have more Labour MPs from Scotland to influence and moderate the UK Labour party.

    SNP MPs have been good at speaking out for Scotland and pushing sensible UK policies, but it doesn`t make much difference whether there 15 or 45 of them. After all, Alex Salmond was pretty effective when there was only a handful of the SNP MPs at Westminster.

  3. There has been a real hollowing out of the Conservative Party over the past three decades.

    The membership is now maybe 150,000 people. So about 1 in 300 of the adult (over 18) population of the U.K. is a Conservative Party member. And of course, there are some significant skews within that – white, English, over 50 is more likely and ethnic minority under 50 is less likely.

    In the late 80s or early 90s the Conservative Party membership was 500,000 or more. The more it has shrunk the more unrepresentative it has become.

  4. @ COLIN
    @TREVOR WARNE
    @”How are you linking Monarch to Brexit?”
    Indeed:-
    http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/monarch-airlines-failure-civil-aviation-authority-reasons-easyjet-ryanair-jet2-competition-a7976986.html
    October 2nd, 2017 at 9:20 am”

    See below, part of the Independent article. Of course Brexit causing Pound Sterling to fall suddenly is not the only issue. But from what i have read, many analysts seem to believe it is an important part of the companys failure.

    “The pound’s plunge in sterling after the EU referendum further dented the airline’s prospects.

    “We take nearly all of our revenue in pounds and a lot of our costs go out in dollars and euros,” explained Mr Swaffield.

    “We pay for aircraft leases and fuel in dollars and things like navigation and ground handling in euros. So we get no revenue benefit from a decline in the pound but we get a big cost increase.””

  5. @Chris Riley

    It was Alister Darling who was Chancellor during the financial crisis and did fairly well with the cards he had been dealt all things considered.

    During those boom years of the 2nd and 3rd Blair government’s Brown should not have been increasing the public debt in the way that he did that made the Bust all the worse.

    I’ll give him the kudos for keeping us out of the Euro.

    @Jim Jam

    I do think Brown and May share some similar traits. I suspect they both suffer from a mild form of Asperger’s.

  6. @ R HUCKLE – Indepedent – ah, that explains it. I think they are blaming Liverpool’s poor performance in the footie on Brexit as well :-)

    Monarch failed to hedge their oil exposure (which being a $ based product has a large FX component to it). Strange how airlines like Easyjet seem to be doing OK – I guess they hedged their exposure rather than turned their airline business into FX speculation.

    @ COLIN – OK, I’m getting a little over upset by Hammond and maybe looking for an overly drastic solution in BoJo+new chancellor (I’d go for Javid but haven’t really looked into the chancellor options)

    ‘Realistic’ is great in normal times but these are not normal times. We need an imaginative and creative plan to tackle Brexit opportunities, Ind.Rev4, etc not a dull accountant trying to get a spreadsheet balanced.

    Then add on the serious threat of far-left LAB + SNP C+S govt and you really need someone in the job who understands the task.

    Anyone But Labour (ABL) vote might hold in a 30-35% VI but if CON want to make the best of Brexit and win the next GE they need to up their game.

    @ CARFREW – whether May has PTSD or suffering from the Peter Principle can be left to the tabloids, either way she does not seem up to the job – something we can agree on.

  7. CARFREW
    “Not that I am against markets. It’s just that to make them work well can require some of the state intervention you seem to fear. Though you still haven’t given anything from McDonnell to have us quaking. I’m fully prepared to be quaked…’

    On the contrary, isn’t the creation and deployment of publicly funded investment banks, such as he proposes for the regions or for areas of high migrant populations, an effective buffer between the State and free markets.
    A use of investment banking for social or economic development purposes is that of the Bretton Woods institutions financing of domestic development banks for the development of social servicesand rural economies in the Third Work, e.g. that of the agricultural development banks in Pakistan India and Bangladesh,,and similarly throughout the world. That in Pakistan, which I’m familiar with, virtually took over all small farmer agricultural development, ensuring that for the past half century the land use system has remained largely that of small scale farming, in an essentially free market economy.

  8. @TW – no, I can’t see the case for sacking Hammond for being relaistic. That way l!es madness.

    I can accept pro Brexiters may wish to sack him if they suspect he isn’t really on their side, but over confidence and the distilling of difficulties into simplistic slogans – much as you have done in your post – are about the worst way to prepare the population for major change.

    On the Tories position: The polling is going to be interesting after the conference. There appears to be the first signs that Boris has overeached himself, with a backlash now underway from multiple sides. May is weak, and Boris the subject of anger – not a great recipe for unity.

    Meanwhile we have the first signs that businesses are losing faith in the government. he comments today from the BCC are really quite damning, questioning government competence for the first time in public.

    May is in a tough place, and as I never felt she was going to be a good PM even in the good times, I think there is real trouble ahead now, given what we are facing.

  9. CARFREW
    Regardiing your discussion of McDonnell’s proposals in the context of capitalism, isn’t the deployment of public or borrowed funds through investment banks created for specific purposes a buffer between state management and the market? For example in McDonnell’s proposed regional investment structures, or in the Migration Investment Fund, which would inject funding for infrastructure and industry, schools and health services in areas of high migrant populations? A good example, tested now over practically half a century, is that of the creation and use of domestic development finanece institutions, such as the Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan (and similar agricultural and industrial development banks and in India,Malaysia, Bangladesh etc, channelled through state banks in Asia, Africa, Latin America,the Pacific and the Carribean, via the Bretton Woods,institutionsand in the case of IFAD, specifically to support rural development and small scale farming. In Pakistan, which I am most acquainted with, financing of small farming through the ADBP virtually replaced the Ministry of Agriculture in ensuring the basis of the country’s agricultural industry on small scale rather than industrial farming, to the masssive benefit of the country in alleviating rural poverty and landlessness. I.e. it’s a proven means of social and economic policy within an otherwise free market economy.

  10. @ TW 10:44

    You are beginning to post as if you are a speech writer for BoJo. Non Partisan comments on polling?

  11. What about Smog for PM and BoJo for CoE or visa versa.
    Then the world would know Brexit means Brexit!

  12. Test

  13. @Alec

    The BCC taking a stance is especially striking. They have been studiedly neutral up until now, but they represent small business far more than does the CBI and their members have a good deal more to lose.

    I expect it’s all some form of Remainer plot though, of course.

  14. @R Huckle

    Thanks for the link to the LSE blog. Thought-provoking and well worth a read.

    I was particularly struck by:

    Britain, in the face of the EU’s collective clout, has been exposed for what it will increasingly become after Brexit: a weakened power in the international system, reliant on a neighbouring block, over whose laws it holds no sway.

    I don’t think I’ve seen this view so clearly expressed before: that, far from giving back control, the effect of Brexit is likely to be increased dependence on the EU, while sacrificing our role in its governance and direction.

    It would be ironic indeed if the overblown fears of vassaldom on the part of some brexiters were to be given a measure of practical effect by the measure they so fervently espouse. (I’m not sure if there is a term for a vassal shared by two masters – in this case the EU and USA – but if not, perhaps it’s time we coined one).

    Talking of neologisms, I loved Sea Change’s “ostrichism”. If it catches on, it could become, with ostracism, one of those frequently-confused word pairs like militate/mitigate, lead/led or indeed their/they’re.

  15. @somerjohn – this is very much in line with the analysis I felt in relation to Scotland an their hopes for independence.

    In all practical terms, iScotland would have remained entirely almost dependent on what happened in rUK, but with no effective influence.

    I also felt very strongly that Scotland within the UK was much better able to project it’s views and values in Europe and beyond, whereas as a tiny independent state it’s leverage and influence would be restricted and all but eliminated.

    It’s a complex argument, suggesting that being independent makes you less in charge of your own destiny, and in both the Scottish and EU campaigns, it has rather been lost in the smoke of battle.

  16. Not sure Gove was that wise to spend a portion of his speech in an extended anecdote about Brexit and pig’s ears.

  17. @Somerjohn

    It is clear that post-Brexit we will have to strike deals with some or all of the EU, the US and China without the negotiating power that comes from being part of the world’s largest trading bloc and with no input on the laws of any power with whom we negotiate.

    We are going to lose sovereignity. There is no doubt about it. Many Brexiteers would rather give up that sovereignity to the US rather than the EU. I would tentatively suggest that this is the worst time in any of our lifetimes to be making that decision.

  18. @Alec

    Yes, independence can be a poisoned chalice. I suppose we should add Catalunya to the mix. In most of these cases, the head says you’re better off in a bigger entity, but if the heart feels strongly enough about it, then that’s what wins out. I find the Slovak/Czech split interesting in this respect: it seems to have worked out OK, but helped tremendously by EU membership to minimise economic barriers. Possibly that would have been the case for Scotland too if Indyref had been won and rUK had remained in the EU with Scotland fasttracked in.

    @Chris Riley

    Yes, if we really do turn our backs on the EU, then we are going to become subservient to the USA. Some here welcome that, but the current experience of another offshore island dependency, Puerto Rico, is salutary (not to mention Canada and Mexico).

    Another point I noted in the LSE blog is that hard Brexit would immediately lose us free trade deals with 60 countries. A case of 60 steps back and half a dozen forward?

  19. rachel

    Referring to Labour MP’s as “idiots” because they don’t share your view seems rather immature to me.

    I tend to the assumption that people are entitled to their own opinions and, whilst I am entitled to disagree with their views or their actions, I prefer to do so reasonably politely.

    I’m not quite sure either how your masterplan to halt brexit, by trying to invoke article 50 the day after the referendum result, would have worked in practice. I’m fairly clear that it would have made all the Labour MPs [and others] who had campaigned passionately to stay IN the EU feel a bit …. well….. idiotic …… to pop in the next day and vote for something that they didn’t believe in.

    Perhaps you can elaborate on how the plan would have worked?

  20. Seems it’s back to May 2016 on UKPR today ;)

    @ SOMERJOHN – “We are leaving the EU not Europe” (stole that quote from Hammond). We will photocopy the trade deals with other nations – then over time go back and renegotiate some (e.g. Canada) to make them better suited to both sides. We can also fast-track many of the stalled EU trade deals, which will also work as an incentive for the EU to speed up trade deals. We might even team up on some trade deals with the EU or EFTA members or form a block vote in WTO progress and decisions.

    @ CHRIS RILEY -??? It would be nice to do a deal with some of the EU nations but it will have to be all 27 – that is how the EU work. We’re going to photocopy EU laws and probably shadow them going forward – staying in close regulatory alignment. I’ll concede we lose a little clout but in return we put UK interests first and do not need as much protection on EU’s favoured businesses.

    Final quote from Hammond “The British people have chosen independence, over integration.” It really was that simple a question – Remain or Leave.

    We joined a free trade organisation and no reason we can’t continue to have a free trade relationship with the EU. It’s the other ‘bits’ that we didn’t sign up for and from what we’re seeing in Hungary and Spain its clear the EU is not the socio-liberal cuddly club some believe it to be.

    @ WB – I think BoJo is good enough at writing his own speeches, but duly noted. Brexit is non-partisan so guess that is a free for all :)

  21. ““Hammond must go!” – shooting the messenger much?”

    Genuinely curious as to how this “much” cliche has developed. I’ve certainly heard it and read it a lot recently and assume that, as for example: “call him out” or “give a shoutout to…” it originated in America. As far as I’m concerned it can emigrate back there.

    Seems anti-language to me – much.

    Anyone got any ideas?

  22. Re the – non terrorist – related shooting of over 200 people in Las Vegas, I wonder what Trump will say to attempt to explain this by saying that more people being better armed would have helped?

    When will that country learn that people bearing lethal arms will find it very, very easy to murder a large number of people than if they were not allowed to do so?

    What is it about that simple equation that they don’t get?

  23. Since it’s back to Spring-Summer 2016 yet again, here is the best write-up I saw explaining why LAB had to vote for triggering Article 50. Seems to be some debate about how much of McDonnell’s plan would be allowed under ECJ – maybe WB could comment?

    Anyway, the link with LAB constituency breakdown by % Leave vote:
    https://manicbeancounter.com/2016/07/

  24. TREVOR WARNE

    @” We need an imaginative and creative plan to tackle Brexit opportunities, Ind.Rev4, etc not a dull accountant trying to get a spreadsheet balanced.”

    Yep-agreed. But its not the job of the CoE to exploit Brexit opportunities.

    His job is First , to be realistic about the risks of transition from EU, to ensure the economy is prepared & resilient for the change; Second to provide the fiscal framework , tax regime, etc which business needs to get on with the exploiting bit.

    In his speech today Hammond did both of those things. He was -more importantly,-upbeat of UK economic fundamentals.

    In addition & at some length, he did what he was prevented from doing in the GE , attack Labour’s economic model & defend the mixed market economy & capitalism. He undertook to disect Corbyn’s plan line by line when the GE comes.

    I could have asked no more from him-with one caveat.

    Pleased as I was to hear him acknowledge weariness with belt tightening, problems with pay, housing & rents-unless he actually delivers solutions which are seen to help , the “youngsters” will continue to believe in SAnta Claus.

  25. Colin

    I can only repeat that, for TM to stand outside Downing Street after taking over from Cameron, banging on about inequality and the “JAMs”, and then not fail with an actual programme but simply NOT HAVE ONE – and never ever mention the subject again – is truly bizarre.

  26. @Paul Croft “I can only repeat that, for TM to stand outside Downing Street after taking over from Cameron, banging on about inequality and the “JAMs”, and then not fail with an actual programme but simply NOT HAVE ONE – and never ever mention the subject again – is truly bizarre.”

    Agreed. The architects of that were Fiona & Nick who have got the bullet after the GE debarcle.

  27. Good afternoon all from a very warm central London.

    With Catalan independence, the collapse of Monarch and the horrific shootings in Las Vagas, the Tory party conference will not feature mutch in most peoples minds. Seems to have been a bit of a damp squib.

  28. @ paul croft

    Genuinely curious as to how this “much” cliche has developed. ————–.

    Anyone got any ideas?

    Perhaps its someone’s name I remember Much the Miller’s son in my old Robin Hood stories (ah the days of childhood).

    @TW
    how much of McDonnell’s plan would be allowed under ECJ.

    There is a debate amongst lawyers as to when lawful emergency state intervention becomes unlawful state aid to industry, I am afraid it is not my specialist subject (my specialist topic is Employment Law which brings me into regular contact with the ECJ but doesn’t often deal with the commercial aspects of Treaty Obligations overseen by them), so whilst I am of help on the structures of the ECJ and the differences between the Common Law and European Civil Codes I am not much help on this. However, I suspect that whether it is unlawful would depend on the particular form of Nationalisation adopted and the particular industry because it is to be remembered that it is not state ownership that is outlawed but state subsidy beyond a certain level.

  29. @ TREVOR WARNE

    Why do you think that the UK has the leverage you suggest to sign trade deals with the EU and countries, in such an easy way ?

    I don’t think you are a fervent Brexiteer, but i question this over confidence in the UK being able to negotiate deals, that at least secure the status quo. The City of London is still very important in the current world, but if it loses trade due to Brexit and has any further problems such as LIBOR, then i would not want to over rely on financial trading. The UK got caught out in 2008, when Banks started to run out of money.

    And we have seen Trump want to look after US interests first. Therefore you might see defence contracts be placed with US companies, not UK contractors. Bombardier also is evidence of US Government regulators looking to protect US corporate interests.

    In the world we are moving into, with two thirds of world human population living in Asia and Africa, i would not want to see the UK lose influence outside of the EU. As part of the EU, Asian companies see 500 million consumers to sell products to. The UK if it tries to become too independent and not align itself fully with the EU, might put Asian companies from investing in the UK. They would not want the hassle of having the UK as a base, if there were EU customs/single market issues. And in regard to Africa, the UK has been losing influence there for some time. You just have to look at the amount of investment by China across many parts of Africa.

  30. PAUL

    It is.

    Actually, I don’t agree with Sea Change on “Nick”.

    Timothy was very steeped in that stuff-blue collar urban Conservatism-Jo Chamberlain in Brum etc etc so I think he was the source of that agenda-and it was-IS-the right agenda.

    But somehow when it was introduced into that old age care proposal it went wrong badly. You can see the central theme-why should the low paid younger generation pay for care of old middle class property owners ?

    But the announcement was too crude, not explained or trailed-lost Tory voters & allowed Corbyn to defend Middle Class legatees from THe Left !!

    What was missing was the Political antennae. It was pure policy wonkism.

    And this is where May’s failure was so critical-she didn’t have the self belief , or character-or whatever-to manage that policy announcement with political care.

    She needs people like Sajid Javid-he gave a speech yesterday in which the effect of Grenfel Tower on him was palpable. His housing agenda is absolutely key-he means every word imo-but it has to be delivered………………Javid’s speech got no reporting & lukewarm reception in Manchester !!!!

  31. hammond

    This guy is a joke. He says that business needs certainty and yet he is the one advocating a non time limited transition period! By the logic of his own argument it should be 2 years fixed with deal or no deal decided by march 2019.That brings certainty.

    I am glad he thinks no minister is not sackable

  32. Rather good article on Ireland, Brexit and national identity. Well worth a read.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/09/28/brexits-irish-question/

  33. @Colin

    Nick Timothy had the right ideas and some of the policy details in the Industrial Strategy were insightful. But he suffered from a number of issues:

    – he some of had the right basic diagnoses but the details and delivery were not at all fleshed out because he was not willing to ask himself and his party hard questions about their core philosophies
    – he had no real understanding of why voters actually voted as they do. At all. His political instincts were as bad as I have ever seen for someone in his position and far too poor for him to be any good at his job
    – he continues to colossally overrate himself, despite his now being one of the UK’s highest profile complete failures at his job. I appreciate the man needs to make a living but his basic lack of common sense is betrayed by his insistence on parping on about things he doesn’t properly understand as if his opinion should have any value any more. He’s a failed SPAD. There is no lower creature on God’s green earth and he should conduct himself accordingly, perhaps with a period of reflection on how he ended up such a colossal failure.
    – he personally lacks the ability to influence people anyway, and all the more now he is discredited and doesn’t seem to understand it

    Timothy and a bunch of other Tory ‘thinkers’ appear to be under the impression that its still 2011 and that all that is required to steer national politics is to be on good terms with Fraser Nelson and whoever it is who currently helms the sinking ship of the Daily Telegraph politics section.

    He doesn’t live in that world any more. He needs to go away until he finds out what world he does live in. There is some evidence that he has something to offer but the basic problem is that he wants his old job back even when he was staggeringly bad at it, and he doesn’t even seem to understand why.

  34. Trevor Wane,
    “The electorate need a bright optimistic vision of a post Brexit UK.”

    Why? that might lead in due course to accusations of misleading the nation about what is coming.

  35. It is interesting – and somewhat worrying – to see the increasingly tones in which Brexit supporters are now attacking individual government ministers for apparently not sharing their overwhelmingly positive view of the process.

    We are rapidly descebding into the narrow, sectarian ‘true believers’ territory here, and, like it always does, it will end in trouble.

    In such a complex process, with so many uncertainties and wide variations in the possible end point, a range of voices are needed. The bold, optimistic tones need to be combined with the more analytical and cautious thinking.

    Similar tales emerged from RBS in the days of Fred Goodwin. Even when their own head of risk management sounded the alarm, Goodwin belittled him for lacking faith, ultimately sacking him, while the organisation turned it’s back on any kind of reasoned analysis and opted instead for a ‘follow my leader’ confidence rush. Those not in full support of the charismatic and forceful Goodwin were labelled as enemies and naysayers.

    Had RBS maintained a more balanced and open minded management, along with the rest of the financial sector, perhaps things might have turned out differently. It’s alright to follow the ‘I really believe in this’ line for the X Factor, where the failure of a passionate but ultimately misguidedly talentless individual fails, but for Brexit, it’s so much more serious.

    Hard core Brexiters need to wake up and start doing some analysis. None of the big questions have been answered, and no explanations as to how the golden future will come about have been offered.

    Stop believing, and start delivering – and the first bit of this is to engage with those more cautious, instead of sacking them.

  36. I heard that 2.

    Time limited period of about 2 years.

    Delicious contradiction.

  37. Chris Riley,
    ” I would tentatively suggest that this is the worst time in any of our lifetimes to be making that decision.”

    I am inclined to agree, you could hardly have chosen a worse time. Although had times been better, then higher general satisfaction with the status quo might have resulted in Remain. So the times chose themeslves.

  38. How, and why, can you be percise about the time needed for such a complex changeover [if it ever comes to that] ??

    Between two and three years, depending on progress, seems sensible to me.

    Colin etc

    My point is not what happened at the last GE but what happened between May’s first Downing Street speech as leader and that election – i.e. bugger all.

    The media are a disgrace also with their selective reporting – unless it’s a drama – concocted or otherwise – they’re not interested.

  39. AC

    I suppose somebody had to make reference to the events here in the US but I do wish people would refrain from a rather gloating attitude regarding outside events effecting political parties conferences.
    The truth is regardless of outside events most people avoid watching political conferences and as a general rule apart from perhaps a momentary blip they have little or no effect on how people vote in a GE ,especially ones that are possibly a few years away.

  40. Paul – I reckon it will end up nearer 3 years but with the period after 2 years being slightly different to the first 2 in order for HHMG to save face. Assuming same Government of course.

  41. turk

    Any gloating” from AC would seem to be in your imagination: he just made an observation the way I read it.

  42. Surely needing about two more years than the A50 period should be no news for Tories, after all back in 2013-14 they were adamant that the Scottish Government timetable of two years to fully negotiate Independence was impossible.

    Or was that just “Project Fear” then as to “Project Brextannia” now!

    Peter.

  43. JJ

    Depending who is HMG at the time of course…..

    [Oh, and whether we ever get to that stage.]

  44. PC [snp]

    Yes – but with the Jocks we would have had the translation problem whereas, with the EU, proper English is the main language.

  45. I think broadly the Governments position and predicament is this;

    They thought a Leave Vote was Unthinkable so didn’t think about it and so when the Unthinkable happened they hadn’t Thought about it.

    Now they are forced to think about the Unthinkable it turns out they were right that the consequences are Unthinkable so no matter how much they Think it’s still Unthinkable.

    This is like Bilbo in the Dark…Groping for an answer to a riddle he can’t solve he asks for more time to think, but only splutters “Time!” which by sheer chance is the right answer… so he gets a bit more time…..

    Peter.

  46. S THomas

    @”This guy is a joke.”

    He is one of the “grown ups”-be thankfull he is there.

    …..and he advocates a transition “around two years”.

  47. @ COLIN – I agree with your reply to me, especially the final sentence. I was very disappointed with ‘social contract’ followed up by freeze on uni fees and nudge up in the salary threshold before payments start. A lot of what HMG are already doing is good but seems to be slow and not getting much positive PR. Maybe its just poor marketing? I do think he needs to be more upbeat about the future opportunities of Brexit but really that should be May, DD, Fox and Boris’s jobs I guess.

    Over the Summer LAB dropped a lot of lose promises on cancelling current student debt, welfare, etc but no one was listening.

    I doubt we’ll get a GE until late 2018 at the earliest as LAB do not want to take over on Brexit, so we’ll see how it goes for a few more months. EU Council meeting in Dec should give some clarity on Brexit – possibly earlier regarding transition, etc.

  48. CHRIS RILEY

    Thanks-you don’t say whether that is heresay-or personal knowledge.

    From what I have read , his core policy instinct is appropriate & sensible.

    I blame May for allowing a SPAD with such poor tactical ability to overide her own judgement. What is even worse is the feeling that she might not possess any.

  49. JIM JAM

    @”Time limited period of about 2 years.
    Delicious contradiction.”

    Why?

    Surely it means :- a Transition period of a defined length to be negotiated with EU in order for both sides to adjust to the new relationship. Our ideal would be two years.

    DP today had a “mood box” asking people how long it should be !!!-how the he** can they say?

    It is ridiculous to make such an issue over this-infantile journalism………….come back Andrew Neil-for god’s sake come back.

  50. PAUL

    I understand-I don’t have an answer-except that knowing what we know post GE-the answer may lie in the PM’s character.

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