The latest YouGov poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 43%(+3), LAB 38%(-2), LDEM 8%(-1). The five point Conservative lead is the largest YouGov have shown since the general election.

The fieldwork was at the start of the week, so it is possible that this reflects a bump in government support from the Syria bombing – certainly “security and defence” has risen significantly on the question of what the most important issues facing the country are, up 5 points to 27%, the highest since July last year. While the bombing itself was not popular, polls did still find that people trusted Theresa May more to handle it than they did Jeremy Corbyn, so it’s plausible that an increase in the salience of security could boost the Tories. On the other hand, the changes are within the margin of error, so the increased lead may very well represent no more than normal random variation. Even if it is the impact of Syria and the lead is down to security increasing in salience, it will probably fade away once the political agenda moves onto something else.

It’s also worth noting that the fieldwork was before the row over the government’s handling of the immigration status of the Windrush generation so won’t take into account any impact from that (personally I suspect neither Syria nor the Windrush row will make any long term difference – voting intention seems to be very steady around neck-and-neck).

Full tabs for the poll are here.

610 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 43, LAB 38, LDEM 8”

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  1. We could see Rudd and Hunt running the country some time soon!

    Who says you get what you deserve?

  2. @TOH – “The likelyhood of us leaving the EU without a deal is increased IMO.”

    I think that remains highly doubtful. If business gets a sniff that this is about the happen, then all hell breaks loose and that would be the end of Brexit in any practical sense.

    It’s also worth pointing out that you are (as ever) highly selective in which statements of May’s you choose to believe. She has repeatedly, verbally and in writing, given her complete assurance that she will honour the December joint statement and that she is committed to converting this into a binding legal text. This makes if extremely unlikely that we will get to a no deal position, as everything has already been agreed in principle – only the conversion of this into a binding legal agreement remains to be finalised.

    In the event that May withdraws from her commitments, then presumably parliament has something to say about it. There was some discussion on here about how the HoC can’t force the government to do anything, even though we’ve just had a binding Humble Address in recent months which forced the government’s hand, so there are mechanisms for the commons to force the PM to act. In this case, I’m pretty certain that the commons will find a way to prevent the government from leaving without a deal, and as this also isn’t in the EU’s interests, they will acquiesce with a period of grace if there is sufficient doubt about UK’s final intentions.

    My overall view is that probably the most likely outcome of not securing a deal is that we just stay as we are.

  3. @BZ on ToH at 11.21
    What a strange post.
    That some 500 foreign airmen fought in the Battle of Britain hardly equates to support from the national resources of the nations they came from (though the RN did rescue some 100,000 French troops from Dunkirk in early June.)
    That US volunteers were risking their US citizenship as well as their lives is illustrative of US support for UK during the months immediately following Dunkirk. Lend-Lease was not enacted until March 1941. Such support as was granted in 1940 was the result of hard bargaining:
    {Wiki} “In the Destroyers for Bases Agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom on September 2, 1940, fifty obsolete US Navy destroyers were transferred to the Royal Navy from the United States Navy in exchange for land rights on British possessions [ninety-nine-year rent-free leases to build Caribbean naval bases]. Roosevelt used an executive agreement that did not require Congressional approval, but he came under heavy attack from antiwar political elements.”
    While in no way decrying the importance of the Battle of Britain, in which August was the critical period, which showed that UK was not defeated and intended to fight on, wars are not won by air superiority alone, as the USA found later in Vietnam.

  4. “Immigration enforcement teams have been set targets for the deportation of illegal immigrants, despite Amber Rudd telling MPs that they had not.”

    Rudd could be in bother here, even though she is carrying the standard for May.

  5. @Pass

    Very shrewd.

  6. “Rudd could be in bother here”

    She should resign, but likely won’t. No way to force it – May et al are convinced the hostile environment is actually a vote winner.

    Shame on her – and shame on us all if she turns out to be right.

  7. NickP
    If Hunt and Rudd don’t take over, then could we end up as a bunch of Rudderless Hunts ? (Using the Jim Naughtie pronunciation of the Minister of Health’s name of course! )
    Oldnat, I wasn’t disagreeing with your main point, just putting you straight on basic Great War history.
    Although describing1914 Germany, Austria, Italy, U.K. and France as democracies in the modern sense is pushing things a bit, all had limits on suffrage which would be unacceptable now. Russia and Turkey of course were straightforward despotisms, as now.

  8. Democracies do sometimes go to war with one another, if they are beholden to allies who are anti-democratic.

  9. @ NickP

    I’ve pondered similar thoughts myself about the electoral politics of Windrush and experienced dark nights of the soul about what it may say about us as a society. I think it was Neil A who posited the view that the antisemitism row in Labour could have political benefits for them by dint of there being significant numbers amongst the electorate who harboured antisemitic prejudices. I was at first repelled by the shocking cynicism implied in the sentiment, but it started to slowly intrigue me.

    Accordingly, like you, I wonder if Tory High Command, whilst doing the customary hand-wringing, are in fact quietly pleased with how the issue is playing for them. Namby-pamby metropolitan elite luvvies getting all upset but “‘hard working people, doing the right thing” pleased that their Government is sticking it to people who, in their minds, had been “othered” a long time ago.

    Not a nice thought, is it?

  10. The Other Howard,
    “We are not running away from Europe,”

    We plainly are! The rationale for figting two world wars was that the Uk could not afford to have a single united europe as a neighbour. Inevitably the UK would have to bend to the will of that neighbour. And that is exactly what will happen if it us outside the EU. We joined so we could exercise control over something which would inevitably control us otherwise.

    “Good to see the DUP are prepared to bring the Government down if it agreed to NI remaining in the customs Union”

    It is? May has promised the EU she will stay inside the customs union (there is not other way of keeping her agreement), and also promised not to do so? Thats good?

    Sounds like a recipe for a general election.

    The interesting question is how should the tory party position itself, and can it rely upon labour to stop Brexit if given the chance. Rudd and May have been trying their best to help labour of late, but can they trust labour to save Britain fron brexit? What a dilemma.

  11. Well they could try it I suppose. It would certainly be interesting.

    Announce a Policy of Non-Intervention in Illegal Immigration. Immediate cessation of all checks & removals.

    As has been said, the cloth caps ooop north will no doubt mutter into their Newcastle Brown after a hard day’s toil at at whatever it is they do all day up there.

    But who cares?

    The liberal intelligentsia who matter in this country will still be able to get served by whoever feels like turning up in our wonderful Capital City, in their favourite Ethical Hummus Bars and Organic Coffee Shops .

  12. @alec and @trevorwarne

    This is the blog on the NTB implications of Brexit for one small exporting firm:

    I seem to recall the Brexiter response when I posted it before was that there were bound to be business casualties arising from Brexit and they are a price well worth somebody else paying to “regain control”.

  13. @TOH – I think your confidence in the DUP is somewhat misplaced. Read carefully the detail of what Dodds said, in the correct context of the question asked;

    “ConHome: “This morning my eye was caught by the leader in the Financial Times, which makes the conventional view of a large part of the London Establishment that Britain should stay in the Customs Union. Now from your point of view, provided the whole of the UK stayed in the Customs Union, would that be all right?”

    Dodds: “Well, the fundamental thing for the Democratic Unionist Party is that whatever we end up with after Brexit, the United Kingdom is kept intact, economically, politically, constitutionally.

    “However, we do have views as to the form of Brexit. So our view is that staying inside the Customs Union, and this is the United Kingdom staying inside the Customs Union, is not delivering on the referendum result.

    “So I think we do have to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market. I agree with the Prime Minister entirely on that. Otherwise you’re left in this incredibly bizarre situation where you’re a rule-taker from Brussels, you enter into these customs arrangements with third countries where they can access your market but you can’t access their market in that scenario, when you’re not a member of the EU.

    “So it’s the worst of all worlds. So we believe that the proposals put forward by the Prime Minister in the paper last August for either a customs partnership, whereby we would collect the revenues and then pay them back if the goods go to Europe, or the maximum facilitation streamlined approach, we believe in that, but we don’t believe in staying in the Customs Union.

    “But at the end of the day, as long as Northern Ireland is in lockstep with the rest of the United Kingdom, for us that’s the fundamental point.”

    End quote.

    That last sentence is the killer. It suggests very clearly that maintaining a completely united UK is the DUP’s red line, not leaving the Customs Union. They leave open the prospect of supporting the entire UK in the/a customs union, and are clear that while they don’t like this, it isn’t a red line for them.

    Detail is important here, as ever.

  14. ALEC

    “Detail is important here, as ever.”

    Or just – as I like it call it – reading stuff properly…

  15. @Colin

    Dear oh dear, you’re letting your inverted snobbery get the better of you. Racism and xenophobia isn’t the preserve of the great unwashed oop north, you know. In fact the working class communities you belittle have tended to absorb high levels of immigration very successfully and live harmoniously alongside their fellow citizens of a variety of ethnicities. They tend to give little truck to right wing politicians peddling division and racial hatred.

    I love your cliched definitions of left wing leaning middle class people. PAUL Dacre would be proud of you. Isn’t Dacre de facto MP for all those oop north anyway? Let me reassure you, however, that there are lots of middle class latte-loving Tory voters, probably living in very low immigration areas too, who will be heartened to hear about the stiff backbone on display in the Home Office.

    You remain an utter and tiresome ass at times and have parodied my views on illegal immigration. Windrush is nothing to do with that in reality although the idea that some black people have been told to pack their bags, whether they are legally entitled to be in the country or not, will appeal to the many people who don’t like black people. Golf club bars raising a glass or two as well as your oop north friends, I suspect.

  16. I largely agree with Alec on the business response of Brexit without a deal. I would go even further: the big business would bring down the government, if necessary.

  17. Hi Crosspatch

    I love a bit of cynicism in the morning & your post made me smile.

    The subtle use of parentheses around the words -hard working people, doing the right thing-to distinguish then from-metropolitan elite luvvies.

    Very clever-so I just thought I would try my hand at the same genre.

    Clearly you missed the whole point-ah well.

    Actually I was pondering another of your parodies of well worn phraseology.-“doing the right thing”.

    I was thinking that a really bold Home Sec could just say the distinction between doing the right thing & doing the wrong thing is removed forthwith.

    All Home Office staff employed on Residency qualification & compliance to be immediately re-assigned to a beefed up task force on Modern Slavery. The owners of long Drives in front of their Big SE Houses might find those tarmac prices going up a bit-but hey you have to suffer for your humanity sometimes don’t you?

    Anyway-will pack this in now as I feel I am missing the target :-)

  18. RJW

    Sorry-but I don’t think HE is going to help much :-)

  19. In a way this whole immigration thing reminds me of Mao’s anti-rodent campaign. Indeed rats existed and ate a large proportion of the crop. So each village were given targets and they had to demonstrate the reaching of the targets by submitting rat tails. Where there were not enough rats, the villagers bread rats to meet the target. There was also a campaign against sparrows – but sparrows don”t eat seeds, so insects invaded.
    The relevant HO units have the highest rate of workplace intimidation, bullying and abuse.

  20. God helps those who help themselves Colin!

  21. London local elections poll (differences from February poll). Done by Yougov

    LAB 51% (-3)
    CON 29% (+1)
    LIBD 11% (-)

    So, not ‘good’ for Labour in the sense that their polling has gone down but still pretty healthy! No tables yet though, its possible that the details might show them piling up votes in safe seats while struggling in the more marginal areas.

  22. Would be nice if Rudd resigns and May gives the job to Damien Green.

    Then we could have the headline “Amber sees red as Green takes over”, or somesuch.

  23. Frosty
    Just right for motivating all those thousands of Momentumites to get the vote out!
    (Dr Pangloss, that’s me).

  24. RJW

    Does he ?-very pleased to hear it. :-)

  25. Alec

    As it happens i wasn’t being selective just posting what the PM repeated the other day and on Wednesday during the weekly session.
    As to the final outcome who knows, I might be right, you might be right, more likely neither of us will be totally right.

  26. LASZLO

    @” but sparrows don”t eat seeds, so insects invaded.”

    They do actually-but they eat insects too-hence the unforseen effect.

    I didn’t know about that-just reading the Wiki on it. Wonderful story !

  27. @TOH – indeed, there are uncertainties here.

    I suspect @Laszlo is near the truth though when he says big business will find a way to terminate any talk of no deal, backed up by the majority of MPs and the public. It would be a fundamentally undemocratic thing to try and attempt to leave under such damaging circumstances, breaking every pledge the leave campaigns made, with only the mechanism for stopping it really up for debate.

  28. Dave

    Yes, I thought BZ’s post rather odd as well. Of course you are correct that wars cannot be won by air power alone.


    We disagree completely as usual.


    If you think the UK was not standing alone against Germany and Italy immediately after the fall of France then all I can say is you have a very odd view of history.

    Clearly our views differ greatly. I would agree that HMG was the only government still fighting the Axis powers in the Battle of Britain. What I do suggest is that it was a pretty close run thing and the foreign volunteers made an important contribution to winning it.

    Goering also contributed by underestimating the importance of radar, of course, but that was no surprise given that Hertz experimented with it in the 1880s and another German, Hülsmeyer, patented it and gave a demonstration to the German navy but failed to arouse any interest. Fortunately, Watson-Watt developed his radar system just in time for WW2.

  30. London tables are out – westminster voting has a slight drift to the Lib Dems but its probably within margin of error. Not sure what weighting they use though, as the raw data has the labour vote decreasing more than the conservatives.

    LAB 52 (-1)
    CON 31 (-2)
    LIBD 10 (+2)

  31. BZ
    Weird Battle of Britain factoid, the Swiss airforce shot down eight ME109s, which were probing their air defences during the Summer of 1940. They used their own 109s supplied by the Germans.

  32. @Colin

    Don’t worry, I understood you perfectly. You really do flatter yourself if you think your clumsy attempts at irony go over anybody’s head. Wholly misplaced conceit, I fear. Doesn’t reflect well on you.

    I’m going to ask this rhetorically, so please don’t deign to reply, but why do you always feel the need to reply to and rebut any post that displeases you, I wonder, quite often aggressively and unpleasantly too. You appear to be on this site continuously and, accordingly, there appears to be no escape from you, even for occasional posters like me. I glance at threads now and my heart does sink when I see your omnipresence. Hence my description of you as tiresome. My advice is just give it a rest every now again. For your sake as much as everyone else’s.

  33. Alec

    “Detail is important here, as ever.”

    I forgot to pick you up on that comment which is just plain wrong. If you re-read my original post you will see i was exactly aware of what the PUP was saying so your long post was totally uneccessary.

    I’m actually trying to help, as Crofty says it pays to read posts carefully.

  34. RJW

    The new Israeli air force used some late version Me 109’s in the first Arab/Israeli war. History can be odd at times.

  35. Ah, more Labour are 10 out of 10 to vote, that’s the reason for the Westminster voting difference. The bad news for Labour seems to be the inner London figure where they are down 8 and the tories up 5, suggests that Westminster and Wandsworth will stay Conservative.

  36. @FROSTY

    Thanks for the links to the tables.

    If we look back to the 2014 London local elections the actual vote percentages were:

    Lab: 43.0%
    Con: 29.9%
    LD: 10.4%
    UKIP: 5.0%
    Others: 4.6%

    So Labour is still well up on 2014, while Con and LibDem are almost unchanged (this does not imply that there has been no churn amongst their voters). I am not surprised that UKIP is down from 5% to 2%, but the fall in Green vote from 7% to 3% looks strange. Even if Green voters voted Labour tactically in the GE, I would expect them to go back to their first preference in the local elections (they also polled 9.6% in the London Assembly constituencies and 8.0% in the regional vote in 2016).

    My only conclusion is that Owen Jones was panicking unnecessarily.

  37. Alec

    When I say plain wrong I was referring specifically to your post to me at 10.58, just to be clear.

  38. Alec

    I also meant DUP not PUP, amusing slip. :-)

  39. oops, should have been 7% to 4% (I was reading the headline figures for the GE where the Greens are 1% lower than for the locals). it still looks suspicious to me though.

  40. BZ

    Since you appear to have conceded my point about the UK standing alone at the time of the Battle of Britain I am happy to leave it at that.

  41. CROSSBAT11

    Personally I like Colin’s post, always interesting, often with useful references even if we sometimes disagree.

    There are others who post more frequently than Colin.

  42. DAVE @BZ

    What a strange reply.

    About 3,500 pilots participated in the Battle of Britain, so the 500 foreigners represented a significant proportion. Not quite the UK “standing alone”. At least at the time they were highly praised, but somewhat sad that they’re largely forgotten by those who use that slogan.

    I have no idea what relevance you think lend-lease has to that event.

    I do agree with your:
    While in no way decrying the importance of the Battle of Britain, in which August was the critical period, which showed that UK was not defeated and intended to fight on, wars are not won by air superiority alone, as the USA found later in Vietnam.

    That’s true now, but perhaps the real “winner” of the battle was Watson-Watt’s ability to persuade the powers that be to implement his invention. Barnes Wallis had a similar perspicacity.

  43. CB11

    OK-Humour bypass-have it your way.

    You wrote:-

    “Accordingly, like you, I wonder if Tory High Command, whilst doing the customary hand-wringing, are in fact quietly pleased with how the issue is playing for them. Namby-pamby metropolitan elite luvvies getting all upset but “‘hard working people, doing the right thing” pleased that their Government is sticking it to people who, in their minds, had been “othered” a long time ago.

    Not a nice thought, is it?”

    Why did I feel the need to respond to that?-you work it out.

    Your problem is that you love to parody your political opponents , but you don’t like being parodied.Lance Corporal Jones had a phrase for it CB-” They don’t like it up ’em”. And you certainly don’t.

    My advice to you is-if you don’t like being challenged, return to the sojourn with which you did us all a favour for so long. Alternatively , since now appear to wish to grace us with the brilliance of your prose once more-join in the cut & thrust , like the rest of us do.


    I have conceded only that the UK government stood alone at the time of the Battle of Britain.

    Pretending that only British subjects were fighting the Germans after Dunkirk [presumably until the invasion of the Soviet Union] is disrespectful to the many “aliens” who were, is wrong, and probably at least part of the reason why so many of us oldsters voted to reject our 27 most significant allies.

    ” the fall in Green vote from 7% to 3% looks strange. Even if Green voters voted Labour tactically in the GE, I would expect them to go back to their first preference in the local elections”

    I think you may be coming at this the wrong way round. From a personal perspective, New Labour’s shift to the right and the Libdem betrayal have left me politically homeless for the last twenty years, and I have generally voted Green as the next best thing (living in a safe Tory area my vote is worthless regardless of who I cast it for, in national or local elections).

    Green support has always struck me as a bit vague and ill-defined, and I think what we are seeing is the return of disgruntled leftist contrarians to the party which abandoned us long ago, rather than the movement of hardcore true believers.

  46. BZ

    I am happy you conceded the point and leave it at that. You lost the argument, try not to suggest I said things that I did not say, it makes you look rather foolish.

    I would suggest the USA is our most significant ally at the moment.

  47. Just listening to ex Home Office Minister Norman Baker trying to lay all the blame on the “hostile immigration environment” on the Tories 2010-15.

    Wrong! You facilitated that Government Lib Dems!

  48. Oh @TOH – you can be so lacking in self awareness sometimes….

    You said – “Good to see the DUP are prepared to bring the Government down if it agreed to NI remaining in the customs Union to resolve the border issue. Fortunately May has made it clear yet again that we are leaving the customs union.”

    This simplified statement omits the facts that the DUP haven’t said they would bring down the government if the entire UK remains in the customs union, so clearly, from the quote I posted, the DUP might well concede to NI remaining in a Customs Union and not bring the government down.

    And yes, May has again said we will be leaving the customs union, just like she said we wouldn’t take about money unless we were talking about trade as well, we wouldn’t agree about money unless we agreed about trade deals, we wouldn’t give rights of settlement to migrants arriving during the transition, we wouldn’t accept ECJ oversight during transition, we would get a preferential deal for UK banks, etc etc.

    I’m sure you think a detailed post in response to your partial and misunderstood post wasn’t necessary, and for someone like you, no doubt that’s correct. However, for the rest of us, we tend to prefer to find the whole truth, and understand the issues a little more deeply.

  49. @TED

    I think your analysis of putative Green to Lab shift is quite likely to be correct. And thanks for the honest self-description as a “disgruntled leftist contrarian”, which sounds about right too. You sound exactly like my brother, who has oscillated between Greens and Labour for some time. And I’m probably not so dissimilar myself.

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