The latest YouGov poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 43%(+1), LAB 39%(-3), LDEM 8%(+2). Fieldwork was Monday to Tuesday, changes are from last week. The full tables are here.

The big risk when watching opinion polls is to pay too much attention to exciting looking outliers and not enough to run-of-the-mill polls showing not much has changed. Polls have a margin of error, and normal sample variation spits out unusual results sometimes even when public opinion is actually unchanged. Before one gets too excited about an unusual or interesting looking poll one should wait to see if it is replicated in other polls or is just a blip. Sure, this could be the start of the Tories opening up a lead, but it could just be random noise. Given the government’s current travails, I think it’s more likely to be noise, but we shall see.

As ever, the thing to watch is the trend across the polls as a whole. So far 2018 has produced two polls showing small Tory leads, three polls showing the parties equal, five polls showing small Labour leads, suggesting that the actual picture is that the Conservatives and Labour have very similar levels of support. That itself is interesting – the Conservative government often seem paralysed by infighting and are doing very little except for Brexit (which most people think they are doing badly). Yet they remain equal with the opposition when past governments stuck in similar mires – such as those of Gordon Brown or John Major – trailed badly. I can see a couple of possible explanations – it could just be that the public aren’t paying attention, there is so little happening in politics and they are so turned off that they aren’t noticing this stuff. Alternatively, it could be that people are just lined up along EU divisions – for now, the Conservatives are the party that’s delivering Brexit, so those who want Britain to leave are sticking with the Tories. A third possibility is that Labour have reached a ceiling in their support – Jeremy Corbyn may be very popular among Labour supporters, but he is anathema to others and the alternative of Corbyn’s Labour is propping up Conservative support that might otherwise be faltering. Naturally, these are not mutually exclusive.

Meanwhile, in the interests of reporting the non-exciting poll figures, the YouGov tracker on whether Brexit was the right or wrong decision has returned to normality after an unusual figure last week. 43% think it was the right decision, 44% the wrong decision – typical of recent months.

553 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 43%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%”

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  1. London X-breaks. Maybe London’s champagne Socialists read Khan’s report and liked the idea of same GDP/capita and lower population growth with a hard Brexit (and fag packet maths would suggest new analysis makes this look even better if, as rumoured, they’ve added a population adjustment between scenarios) ;)

    @ DANNY – “Despite that you know these can only be estimates and potentially subject to huge errors.”
    Errr, kind of my whole point! Identifying these huge errors is IMHO important if your out telling people the Emperor has a “new” new set of clothes. I’m not looking to solve these things to a decimal place as HMG/BoE and FX markets can and would respond to affect the weather (as they did after the 23Jun16). I’ve suggested why I think business will net benefit from a clean Brexit but that it is essential to have a plan in place and time is running out (long lead times on many of the implementation plans).

    “I am getting very tired of this propaganda war”
    Well, clearly not given your posts. I’m game for a ref on the terms – let’s just get those terms first. BINO v WTO is the choice I think we’ll have if a whole chain of contingent events ends up in a new ref (low probability but possible)

    If yourself or another Remain could lay out the step-by-step process by which we could “Exit from Brexit”, supplying timescale and at least some minor respect for democracy then by all means be my guest. IMHO, attempting to frustrate Brexit is giving EU side incentive to over play there hand and more likely to result in WTO.

    I’m personally now more worried about which kind of WTO:
    – Standard with ‘generous TFT’ lowering of tariffs over time, possible new FTA with EU (and others) once we’ve left, got our own economy fit etc and EU have calmed down (credit to CARFREW for game theory input).
    – suicidal UFT version favoured by many of the “ultras” (I acknowledge that as a genuine possibly, I do not want it)

  2. ChrisLane1945 – regarding your earlier comment this morning, I would agree. I was far too young to remember the 1974 elections so the only time in my life that I remember a Labour victory was 1997.

    A year after the 1992 election, which was obvioulsy even before TB became leader, aside from ICM all other polling companies were showing Labour leads well into the teens.

    I would expect Corbyn to be 10-15 points ahead at this stage if he stands any chance of forming the next government. I am beginning to think that last Summer, immediately after the GE, was his high-water mark.

    The surge next time will have to deliver twice as many seat gains as he managed last year and the sum of the two would have to be as much as Cameron managed in 2010.

  3. I see that the Government has decided to meet at Chequers to hammer out the position of Brexit. Upon reading that the phrase “the impossible we do today, miracles take a little longer” jumped, unbidden, into my mind. Douglas Adams made reference to Lewis Carroll’s White Queen doing six impossible things before breakfast and rounding it off with a seventh in the Restaurant at the end of the Universe. Having been through the Looking Glass will we now see the eighth impossible thing a policy which reconciles cabinet differences and is so simple that it avoids the need for lengthy negotiations with the EU and the rest of the world at Chequers or is Douglas Adams right and the only way to achieve these things will be the invention of time travel

  4. @ DANNY – “The UK can remain a member, and no jobs will be lost.”

    See above and firstly explain how we’d get to revoke and remain (or I will happily accept we would be allowed back in under A49 as a “new member” and without our pre-exisitng vetoes, etc).

    Let’s say we Remain/Return but our voice and veto power is weakened (sound fair?)

    We know the direction of Macron+Juncker so let’s guess that in Xyears times the following occur:
    – EU impose a tax on financial transactions (goodbye global financial status, winners NY, Singapore, etc)
    – EU try again on Euro clearing needing to be done within the EZ (we either join Euro or lose that business, possibly without the ability to replace it with rWorld)

    How many jobs might that cost? What GDP impact would that be?

    I’m not saying with 100% certainty that would happen and (unless you ask) I won’t guess at the jobs/GDP impact but would you accept:
    a/ That is a possible scenario
    b/ It would cost jobs and hurt our economy

    The “hindsight” Bregret could go to 60%, maybe 70% (although it has barely moved). What is important are the future scenarios, 23Jun16 is history.

  5. NI. Repost with edit from a few threads back. I understand the political sensitivity and not trying to upset anyone but looking at DUP purely from a “what is best for them” then:

    We know May wants a deep and special relationship with as frictionless trade as possible but cake+eat it isn’t working so if it is BINO or WTO then what?

    From a political perspective my guess would be DUP would climb on board a WTO bus if asked and bribed accordingly. They’d look at:
    – the economic benefit (direct (SAM+I worked an example based on reasonable assumption NI would take some of RoI’s share of exports to UK) and indirect (HMG transfers))
    – the political influence benefit (May relies of their 10MPs, within reason they can demand quite a lot!)
    – most disturbingly the darker Unionist “benefit” of giving “two fingers” to Varadkar and SF

    Obviously DUP would not admit to wanting this in public. They will get max political and financial gain from being “forced into” this “most unwelcome” outcome – that is the sad reality of political spin.

    Let’s also not forget the DUP have long memories concerning Corbyn and McDonnell. The threat of Corbyn+co was IMHO why DUP MP votes would have been “free” but May botched the GE and the DUP pact is now history.

    NB I don’t want this scenario but if we into least bad scenarios isn’t this at least a possible outcome?

  6. @Roger Mexico

    Thanks for your comments.

    Labour does have to decide firmly which way to go – this decision has to be made, and the longer it takes (for understandable tactical reasons) the more indecisive it looks.

    I’m sceptical of those hypothetical questions. I can’t see the Lib Dems polling at 18% (at any point really). The next GE may need lots of those Polly Toynbee nose pegs all round.

  7. alec: @TO – “I don’t think the DUP are concerned to keep the border open and given the choice, between a border to the south or one to the UK, they would pick the border to the south.”

    That’s an interesting take, because what they agreed was the exact opposite – that’s why the legal document is being drawn up the way it is now.

    Are we misunderstanding each other?

    DUP stalled Phase 1 when it was implied that a border to the rest of the UK was a possible price which could be paid for no border to the south. DUP are adamantly against a UK border and not in favour of one to the south. I am suggesting that they would permit a border to the south but don’t want to be seen to accept it except under extreme arm twisting.

  8. Andrew M,

    Are you looking 7/8 months in to the cycle or 2 years and 7 months?

    Polls where wrong of course in 1992

  9. JIM JAM and Andrew M.
    Hello to you both from a sunny seaside here in Bournemouth, which is 78 on Corbyn’s target seat list. Thank you Andrew for your comments.

    JIM Jam. Hello to you. 1992 Polls over estimated Labour’s vote and under estimated Tory Vote, as they did for most of May/June 1970 and indeed for the October 74 GE.

    I agree with Matthew.


    I agree with you. If push comes to shove the DUP would rather a border to the South for two reasons. 1. The loyalists are vehemently pro-UK, more so than the average mainland Brit in many cases. 2. 400% more trade is done with rUK compared to the Republic.

  11. Chris – yes and in 2017 they did the opposite.

    using 1992 polls – result movement is as reliable as using 2017 and expecting the same movement to Labour which is also naïve imo.

    BTW – would appreciate that conference policy re the Single Market and Customs union which is news to me and I expect most LP members. Perhaps you are mistaken Chris but I could be? I will challenge my MP who says no such thing exists.

    NB) Did you check back 7/8 months after 2015 GE to see the significant Tory leads, same stage of this cycle?

  12. Colin

    Your wheelbarrow of cash would back which outcome?

  13. Colin

    Your wheelbarrow of cash would back which outcome?

  14. Colin

    Your wheelbarrow of cash would back which outcome?

  15. I hit the button once!

  16. CMJ,

    Think time for LP to be clearer comes after May’s locals imo.

    Reckon will be want to be in a CU, ideally the CU after EU reforms but at present can’t as we leaving the EU and therefore, THE CU/SM as currently constituted.

    They have already said transition period should be further negotiation and that during transition we operate as now, including ECJ, free movement etc.

  17. Jim Jam – I was talking of a year after the 1992 election, rather than the lead up to it. In other words look at the leads that are required for the opposition to win the following election.

    The same can be said for David Cameron in 2010. Look at the leads he was enjoying a year after GB became Labour leader, i.e. in mid-2008 compared with the final result.



  19. Perhaps you could look at 7-8 months after 2015 Andrew, Tory leads pushing 10%.

    To be clear, I am not claiming the polls are great for Labour but questioning the notion that they are terrible or particularly meaningful.

    I am in the camp that says until Brexit is done and dusted or at least unequivocal distance exists between announced HMG and Labour positions during the transition, polls have limited extrapolation value. Other issues are important but for too many voters Brexit is a key driver still.

    Under!ying leadership and other issue polls may be more indicative of future support levels?

    NB) Black Wednesday was less than 6 months in to the 92/97 parliament which rather somewhat impacted polls

  20. Rachel did you hit the button and then press refresh before the screen had added your comment? That might have the same effect as hitting the button again.

  21. Colin

    I would guess that Rees Mogg is the conservatives best chance of winning the next election


    Can’t see why.

  23. Talking about remain/return and Article 49 I cannot imagine under any circumstances we would rejoin on the basis of not having our existing vetoes etc. It would be politically fatal for whichever government negotiated that.

    The EU would either say we don’t want the UK at all (unlikely, considering what they’ve said so far and of course our status as a major economy) or we would walk away as soon as the idea was mooted.

    I think remain is more likely than rejoin anyway as there would be a creative arrangement/fudge and everyone would breathe a sigh of relief.

  24. “COLIN


    Unless I knew for certain Cons would opt for Rees-Mogg-in which case I’d be down the Bookies with a wheelbarrow now.”

    Blimey! Which bookie do you use that bets in wheelbarrows?

  25. “COLIN


    You missed out PR the third.

    Agree with your thoughts though. As a non-Tory voter Rees-Mogg is my dream leader.

  26. Lewblew


  27. @Trevor Warne – I think the ability to cancel Brexit would be quite easy, in technical terms, only politically problematic in the UK.

    May (or whoever is PM) could call a referendum, have a vote, country votes remain, PM asks EU to scrap A50. Not that difficult to envisage, just fill in your own timetable.

    There was widespread misunderstanding over what Junkers and Schultz were saying about this last month, which you persist in promulgating, in that they said that A49 would not be relevant – they would accept that A50 would simply be scrapped and we carry on as before. This is what they said, introducing the A49 route only as the fall back situation if we actually went ahead and left. Unfortunately many journalists and others seized on the A49 comments without reading what preceded these.

    I would accept that scarpping A50 and staying on existing terms can’t be 100% guaranteed, and would ideally need confirming by vote of the EC before the UK votes/agrees to it, but having two of the leading movers in Brussels saying this is a pretty clear indication that it would happen. It was a coordinated attempt to float the idea that Brexit could just quietly be forgotten about. The reason why so many biased news outlets ran with the A49 story was that the last thing the Daily Mail and others want to report is that we really don’t have to do this and there is a very easy way out – it doesn’t quite suit their world view.

    Here, I think, you and others misunderstand EU law. Unless there are stipulations against something happening under EU treaties, then it can happen if people agree. There is nothing in A50 that says it can’t be stopped with the agreement of the EU27, so this option remains open if we ask for it. The question would be whether altered membership conditions would be imposed, but as above, they’ve effectively already offered us continued membership on existing terms.

    As to you other thoughts about what might happen in the EU in the future, again, you don’t appear to understand EU law.

    “EU impose a tax on financial transactions” – Can’t happen. Tax is not an EU competence. This could only be done by unanimous agreement, and if any member states don’t like it, they don’t have to participate.

    “EU try again on Euro clearing needing to be done within the EZ” – Can’t happen. The ECJ has already ruled that this breaches single market rules. The only way this could happen would be for a new treaty to be agreed to supplant Lisbon. That would require unanimous agreement from all members. It won’t happen, so long as the UK is a member.

    I have explained these points previously, and unfortunately you persist on raising them as potential future scenarios, but you are completely wrong to do this. They literally can’t happen, as the EU does not have the legal authority to do these things.


    The photo of Labour’s potential life-saver, aged 12, with teddy bears and Financial Times is brilliant.

  29. Probably the best thing Momentum could do is organise mass membership of the Tory party [40,000 should be more than enough] and vote for the Moggster.

  30. Tory vote is holding as they are ‘delivering’ Brexit. Labour is sliding because, despite promises to continue campaigning between elections, Brexit has forced Corbyn to be quiet as he waits and sees what happens. He doesn’t want to upset the apple cart with his supporters if it’s not necessary, hence support is drifting to other leftish parties.

    If an election was called, he’d step up and people would reach for the nose peg. A vote for LIB/GRN, with Brexit going on (and domestic policy being ignored as a result) is a wasted vote.

  31. LewBlew, nosepegs all round with Tory ones needed as well as ABT and ABLab fight it out (E&W)

  32. With a four point lead in the polls, will Theresa May be calling another snap election?

  33. Pretty poor trade deficit figures today, showing the worst performance since Sep 2016. Significant, as the figures will now mean that Q4 growth is probably going to be reduced from the estimates people have been making. Analysts are also highlighting that the figures provide indications that UK exporters aren’t gaining the greatest benefit from the falling pound. While they are exporting more, costs of imported raw materials and components appears to be affecting margins, with the increased production costs effectively wiping out much of the benefits of the devaluation.

    Labour Party Conference Policy Vote was for staying in Customs Union and Single Market. Normally ‘The Left’ is very keen on Conference Policy being obeyed.

    It was Princess Rachel who commented on the Conference. I think you have misdirected your reply.

    But for what it’s worth my recollection is that she is right. Conference declined to vote to mandate specific structures. There was quite a row about it when it happened as I recall. My recollection may be imperfect of course. Do you have a reference to support your contrary assertion?

  35. Was Chris this morning @ 8.54 Pete directed at you and I think he is mistaken or believing something he has read. I may be wrong of course but then so would our MP.

    I am sure the historian in Chris would be keen on accuracy and appropriate corrections where necessary.

  36. @ALEC “Here, I think, you and others misunderstand EU law. Unless there are stipulations against something happening under EU treaties, then it can happen if people agree. There is nothing in A50 that says it can’t be stopped with the agreement of the EU27, so this option remains open if we ask for it”

    Someone helpfully posted a link to the Commission’s own legal advice paper on this subject only a few weeks ago. It was clear in finding merits in all the arguments that it can be done unilaterally, that it can be done multilaterally, and that it can’t be done at all, and concluding also that as a matter of principle under the Treaties only the CJEU can determine this.

    This is not a settled point.

  37. I wouldn’t be so sure that the DUP will come to the Con’s rescue over a hard border in Ireland.

    The Belfast Telegraph has two relevant articles today:

    1. Prime Minister May could visit Northern Ireland as power-sharing deal ‘edges closer’, which includes:
    The DUP and Sinn Fein are continuing to hammer out the details of the proposed agreement that would see the return of the Assembly and the Executive a year after Sinn Fein pulled out.

    Political sources said they believed the parties were “still on course” to reach a deal by next week.

    “Nothing is guaranteed but there remains reason for optimism,” a talks insider said.


    2. Brexit impact report divides Northern Ireland politicians, which includes:

    DUP MP Sammy Wilson criticised the leak – a move he claimed was designed to “produce gory headlines”.

    He added: “It is simply a document which makes consistent assumptions about the future, applies them to three different scenarios and then analyses possible outcomes – but makes it clear that it is not forecasting actual outcomes for the economy, nor would it be sensible to do so.”


    However, SDLP MLA Claire Hanna said the figures served as a timely warning ahead of EU withdrawal.

    “Brexit continues to represent a serious threat to business and the broader economy in Northern Ireland,” she said.

    “These figures demonstrate that there can be no good Brexit, only a least worst Brexit.

    “The Conservative Party’s hard-faced refusal to even countenance membership of the single market and customs union will only make a bad situation acutely worse.”

    The Stormont parties are clearly not yet at the kiss and make up stage, but they are clearly trying to get the assembly going again. There wouldn’t seem to be much point in that unless the DUP are prepared to fight for the softest possible border on the island.

    The Alliance party are already taking younger votes, and the pro-EU UUP is always there for the more traditional unionists should a hard border be discussed seriously. Leaking votes from the DUP could well occur if the DUP are seen not to be doing all in their power to prevent a hard border.

  38. ALEC

    @”Pretty poor trade deficit figures today, showing the worst performance since Sep 2016. Significant, as the figures will now mean that Q4 growth is probably going to be reduced from the estimates people have been making.”

    …………..or …………”analysts warned the latest data was too heavily distorted by oil-related factors to get much of a steer on the latest performance of the UK economy.
    “We would strongly caution about reading too much into these figures,” said Paul Hollingsworth of Capital Economics.
    “Overall – nothing to rock the boat here,” said Alan Clarke of Scotiabank.
    “The monthly industrial output data will become more valuable in one to two months’ time when they give us clues to the likely pace of Q1 GDP – that could sway the [Bank of England] closer [or] further from a May rate hike.”


  39. Here is a summary I did for Best PM (and Best for Economy) 1992 – now:

    Summary of key indicators versus election result

    Election Year – Government Approval – Best PM (Gvt – Opp) – Best for Economy (Gvt – PM) – Outcome

    1997 – (39) – (17) – (14) – Gvt Lose

    2001 – +7 – +32 – +22 – Gvt Win

    2005 – (23) – +19 – +11 – Gvt Win

    2010 – (44) – (10) – (8) – Gvt Lose

    2015 – (12) – +14 – +18 – Gvt Win

    2017 – (7) – +13 – +16 – Gvt Win

    Latest YG Data – [can’t find] – +8 – +9 – ???

    The data shows that from the 1997 election onward, an opposition has only won when their leader is ahead as best PM and their party is ahead as best on the economy. A negative[Goverment] net approval is not enough.

    This data from previous GE is from just before the election being called.

    It would indicate that by the time the next GE is called Corbyn (or another Labour Leader) needs to ensure Labour are seen as the ‘Best for the Economy’ and having the ‘Best PM’,.

    That is a huge ask IMHO.

    I agree the a CU with the EU and having some SM access is where Labour will end up. They can’t out do JRM, BJ and the Tories in general on having the strongest Brexit.

  40. Previous post @ Jim Jam

  41. cheers moggie guy

  42. @Peterw – I think you are misunderstanding the question here. The EU legal paper ( ) was discussing the options arising from the UK unilaterally deciding it didn’t want to proceed with Brexit and the legal ability to revoke unilaterally A50. The legal argument here is whether we could do this without the explict agreement of the EU27, and without them having the right to alter the terms of our membership. This was the scenario where the paper said was untested under EU law, where international treaty law didn’t apply, and where the ECJ would need to rule.

    However, the much more relevant question is what happens if we decide, in agreement with the EU27, that we want to drop Brexit. in other words, if there is a jointly agree decision to revoke A50.

    Here the law is clear. The paper says –

    “… the VCLT [Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties] provisions on revocation could not apply in the case under Article 50 TEU.

    This does not, of course,mean that Member States, as the masters of the Treaty, cannot decide otherwise. However,such a decision must be taken explicitly and follow the relevant TEU provisions for Treaty modification, rather than a decision to unilaterally or collectively apply the VCLT provisions.”

    This means that the EU27 could effect a treaty modification, under procedures laid out in the TEU (Lisbon Treaty) and all would be well. Note that this isn’t the same as simply agreeing to revoke. In that case, as the ECJ is the sole arbiter of the meaning of the treaties, only the ECJ could rule if such a mutual agreement is legal under TEU. In the case of an agreed treaty amendment, this role wouldn’t apply to the ECJ, as the EU28 (everyone) would have agreed a treaty modification.

  43. Trigguy,
    “How long could that last”
    Tories could end it at any time by voting against themselves in confidence motions, though by themselves they would not be sufficient if the opposition kept voting for them. Isnt that a fascinating prospect?

  44. Moggie for PM oy oy oy!

  45. Altho’ Danny may well see Smog becoming PM as part of the Tories’ master plan – what they’ve been working all along.

  46. A great start -makes May’s reshuffle look brilliant :-

    “Angela Merkel’s new coalition government was thrown into disarray before it has even taken office on Friday as the leader of her main partner announced he would not take up his cabinet post.

    Martin Schulz, leader of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), was named as foreign minster on Wednesday after agreeing a coalition deal with Mrs Merkel four months since the election.

    But just 48 hours later he dramatically announced he was withdrawing his candidacy and would not serve in the government, after party members reportedly lost faith in him.

    The deal to form a coalition is expected to go ahead without him, although it still has to be approved by SPD members in a postal vote.

    The shock announcement came with Mr Schulz facing a revolt from party members incensed at his decision to become foreign minister despite pledging never to serve under Mrs Merkel.”


  47. Trevor Warne,
    “Errr, kind of my whole point”
    Not really. Your argument was that the figures are sufficiently vague the real numbers might be half. Whereas, your agument ought to be they could just as likely be double as half.

    ” BINO v WTO is the choice I think we’ll have ”

    whereas I think both parties are aiming for a choice of BINO or remain. All the evidence seems to be that the government has abandoned hard brexit (or they would just have done it by now).

    One of the beauties of remaining is that there need be no negotiating of terms. It could be very quickly done at the very last minute. Rejoin would be trickier, I suspect, and as I think leavers are hoping. The government has deliberately prevented testing of the question whether notice to quit can be revoked, to ensure there is no test case preventing it when they need to use it.

    “Labour does have to decide firmly which way to go”
    yes, I’d agree, but they do not need to announce it. There is more political capital still to be made from leaving tories twisting in their dilemma. While appearing split helps them to put across a shift to remain, it doesnt help their general veneer of competence at governing.

    Trevor Warne,
    “From a political perspective my guess would be DUP would climb on board a WTO bus”

    The question is what voter hit woulfd they take from accepting a hard border? They must know this increases the risk of the entire N. Ireland voting to join the republic.

    “May botched the GE”
    May didnt botch the GE. She succeeded in getting the DUP on board to share the blame. Never forget what happened to the libs.

  48. Valerie,
    “Altho’ Danny may well see Smog becoming PM as part of the Tories’ master plan – what they’ve been working all along.”

    I assumed they chose May because she was expendable and no political careers would be hurt by the mess she was expected to inherit. Others might reach for the crown if they believe they have no realistic prospects for advanacement in normal circumstances.

    On a different tack, the news just got to recent stock market falls. The question is, is this just another market spasm, or does it reflect real concerns about rising interest rates, withdrawal of QE and government policies particularly in the US but also in the UK?

  49. @ALEC
    “This does not, of course,mean that Member States, as the masters of the Treaty, cannot decide otherwise. However,such a decision must be taken explicitly and follow the relevant TEU provisions for Treaty modification, rather than a decision to unilaterally or collectively apply the VCLT provisions.”
    This means that the EU27 could effect a treaty modification,”

    Agreed, a Treaty modification is always possible. I didn’t realise that’s what you meant.

    But the report is clear that under the TEU as it stands there are three (at least) arguable legal interpretations, none of which is nailed on.

    The Member States can always amend the Treaty to get by this. That’s a given. What I suspect is that it isn’t is practical, in the timescales, and given the constitutional requirements some of the 27 in particular. It would be a nightmare.

    I feel there is a theme running through a lot of the more partisan views on here and elsewhere. That the steps to secure the preferred outcome are magically easy. And that the steps to get the other guy’s outcome are impossible.

    Harder Leavers think that so long as they say “closest possible relationship” five times a day the cakeist option will magically prevail.

    Softer Leavers think that if they hold enough votes to “remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union” the fact that it is not legally possible (as the TEU stands anyway) magically disappears.

    Exit from Brexiters invent powers for the House of Commons that just do not exist, and ignore the very real legal doubts over whether A50 can be stopped at all.

    The reality. It’s international politics. So it’s always hard. And it’s never impossible. Doubt anyone who says otherwise, either way.

  50. “This means that the EU27 could effect a treaty modification,”

    On a point of pedantry of course should read “This means that the EU28 could effect a treaty modification” although this is implicit in your suggest that the UK asks and the 27 agree.

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