The weekly YouGov poll for the Times this morning has topline figures of CON 39%(-2), LAB 39%(-1), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 5%(+2). Fieldwork was on Sunday and Monday, mostly on Sunday afternoon and evening. The changes themselves are not signficant, but the disappearing Tory lead echoes the Survation poll at the weekend, and is the first YouGov poll not to show the Tories ahead since back in April. Note also that little uptick in UKIP support. It’s only one poll so may be nothing more than noise, but it’s worth keeping an eye on them.

The answers to questions on the Chequers Brexit deal were mostly negative (33% said the type of Brexit agreed at Chequers would be bad for Britain, just 13% said it would be good; 35% said they would be unhappy if the Chequers deal went ahead, just 19% would be happy.) However, relatively few people had any opinion at all – all the Chequers questions got over 40% don’t knows, only 38% of respondents said they had followed the story very or fairly closely.

However, the vast majority of the fieldwork for the poll took place before Davis and Johnson’s resignations. As well as potentially having an impact on perceptions of the government’s competence and unity, the resignations may well mean that this Brexit development has an impact when others have not. People who may not have noticed a report about yet another tedious internal Tory party row about the intricacies of Brexit may be more likely to notice the story when its Boris Johnson resigning from government because Theresa May has supposedly gone soft on Brexit.

In short, while this and the weekend Survation poll are interesting straws in the wind, the polls to really look at will be the ones conducted after the resignations…

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171 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 39, LAB 39, LDEM 9, UKIP 5”

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  1. UKIP slightly up. Otherwise flat?

  2. What strikes me about the first 5 polls of July, from 4 different companies, is that the Con average drops below 40% for the first time this year and that all the LD figures are either 9 or 10, above their recent averages which have been around 7% or 8%. It is early days for monthly averages though.

  3. ” all the Chequers questions got over 40% don’t knows, only 38% of respondents said they had followed the story very or fairly closely.”

    Tells us everything we need to know. What a terribly-managed, utter waste of time this affair is.

    Thank goodness this government doesn’t have the power nor tactical nous to use Brexit as a smokescreen for passing more damaging legislation… or do they?

  4. @”However, relatively few people had any opinion at all – all the Chequers questions got over 40% don’t knows, only 38% of respondents said they had followed the story very or fairly closely.”

    So if a deal is agreed to the October EU deadline does the average voter say-thank god-she got it done, and increase Con VI?

    And if no deal is done & TM walks away ( as Turk suggests on the previous thread) -does Con VI take a hit?

  5. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has joked that 69 Afghan migrants were deported on his 69th birthday.

    I wonder whether comments like the above make people want to remain in the EU to exert some sort of control over thinking like this (across all countries) or follow the Brexiteer’s path and run away…

    It’s ugly and despicable and only going to get worse – both the migrant crisis and our attitude towards it.

  6. I would like to withdraw the prediction i made yesterday that Mrs May would negotiate a Norway option and Labour would vote in favour of it.

  7. It seems we are in a lull between Leaver resignations, and the near-inevitable upset that Donald Trump will cause Friday-Sunday. So I will post today`s good news about the Ben Bhraggie about the fire.

    I have pasted from the Scottish Fire Service pages comments put up at midday today and a few minutes ago:

    “”John MacDonald? @JMacDonald_SFRS 11h11 hours ago

    We have seen real progress being made overnight and into this morning as fire crews continue to extinguish hot spots. Still have 4 fire engines, water carrier, Argo cat and control unit in attendance and a helicopter on standby. Mother Nature is assisting us greatly with the rain.

    Great news from the incident ground this evening. All visible hotspots have been extinguished, however 1 fire engine & the control unit will remain through the night to patrol & monitor. The local ra infall has been most welcome – incident status will be reviewed 2moro afternoon””

    So the fire raged for three days and could have caused serious damage to properties, natural pinewoods (including one that has probably our best colonies of one-flowered wintergreen), and a major powerline to the far north. But it seems the big loss is of conifer plantations and the Duke of Westminster

  8. @Lewblew

    Yes, you are right regarding the migrant crisis. It is likely to get a lot worse with carbon dioxide levels shooting up and runaway climate change.

    Also, the Chinese CFC insulation scandal was terribly depressing.

  9. and = owned by

    I also meant to add that it is a pity that recent major happenings have totally removed reports about wildfires from mainstream news channels.

    With climate warming, greater access to countryside, and continued austerity with cutbacks to the fire service, there will sooner or later be serious damage and loss of life in our countryside.

  10. Encouraging results from the UK social attitudes survey today – indicating that UK people have a much more positive attitude to immigration in recent years.

  11. @profhoward

    I would like to withdraw the prediction i made yesterday that Mrs May would negotiate a Norway option and Labour would vote in favour of it.

    Interesting! Why do you no longer think this?

  12. Encouraging to see the SNP holding firm to their policy of Single Market membership. If Mrs May’s deal does not get approval in the UK parliament, we may end up remaining in the EU as the least bad option thereafter.

  13. Charles

    I had a think about it and did some reading of various people. I think Labour will not want to support Mrs May’s deal and the House will find a way to avoid crashing out of the UK with “No Deal” if her plan does not get the support of the House.

  14. If May systematically takes Tory voters for granted, and plots her own self serving Remainer plots, and panders to Remainers and the Left, what does she expect?

    She will pay a very heavy price for stabbing her own side in the back, as have previous Tory Leaders.

    We now have a Government consisting of Remainers in all the senior positions whilst the overwhelming majority of her Party members, and voters, are favour of Leaving, as are majority of voters as a whole.

    Let’s see how many of these Remainers she’s been sucking up to, change sides and vote Tory ar the next election (I would estmate none), compared with the millions of Tory voters she’s alienated by her treachery.

    I have voted Tory I every General Electciom since 1979. I will not be doing so again untll May is removed and replaced with someone trustworthy.

    The chances are, she still won’t get a ‘deal’ in which she and the UK has any say at all, anyway.

    She is now as doomed as Ted Heath was. But at least he actually won a General Election.

  15. Prof Howard

    Not really surprising that the SNP are being consistent. All polls show that a large majority of Scots want to remain in the EU, but a compromise (EEA or equivalent plus Customs Union) would be the least damaging, if England insists on leaving the EU.

    While it may seem odd to some folk outwith Scotland, the overwhelming majority of Scots are “Unionists”. As a wee country, we don’t have pretensions to operating as a wholly “independent” state (in the sense that the separatist Brexiteers imagine that the UK could do) – very few states can.

    Some see the small union with rUK as being the most important, others the wider and looser union with other European states as the priority. Both views recognise the value of some sort of union with rUK.

    The Scottish Government’s original proposal (much derided, though unexamined, on these threads when it was published) sought to find the maximum common ground in Scotland. It looked at options from “the best” to “the least worst”. Nothing has changed to affect that set of priorities (despite the chaos within the Tory Party).

    If the UK/English Government/Parliament settles on a close linkage with the EU, then the indy debate can take place in the context of our preferred position in the union(s).

    If English separatists cut the UK adrift from the EU, then Scots face a much more difficult choice, and we really have little evidence as to how they would react.

  16. Ronald Olden

    “her treachery”.

    Oh, go on – describe her as a Quisling. You must learn not to be so mealy-mouthed in your comments. :-)

  17. Just back from a family holiday in Catalunya – and in our family that means a lot of very civilised political discussion.

    It also involved watching lots of football on Catalan TV.

    Most have expressed the opinion, at some point or other, that supporting the England team was hard because of the partisan English commentary that we have to bear [1].

    Had we been watching a ” UK” channel, the chances are that we would have been supporting Columbia. Without the partisan nonsense commentary, watching two “other” countries playing meant that we all wanted an English win, due to the Columbian tactics.

    I might just turn off the commentary on the England/Croatia game, to avoid being alienated! :-)

    [1] Absolutely nothing wrong with partisan commentary – as long as it is restricted to the audience of that team’s country.

  18. ProfHoward

    “Encouraging results from the UK social attitudes survey today ”

    According to the attitude survey, the vast majority of Hungarians are subscribers to social democratic values. It didn’t obstruct them to vote for an extreme right government that made helping refugees and being homeless illegal and punishable with imprisonment.

    With an attitude survey you are essentially measuring something that is completely different from what you are claiming to be measured. What you are measuring is the declared values – well, we don’t judge people by what they say, but by what they do (they may or may not follow these values – eg. health is a value to me, yet I’m a smoker while I know that smoking is bad to my health, thus I’m acting against my values consciously).

    Also, social attitude surveys don’t differentiate between declared theories (as the questions of any attitude survey represent causal relationships, hence they are theories) and theories of adherence (Chris Argyris), so pretty useless really without the context (whether existing values fulfil their objectives irrespective of adhering to them). From a scientific stance they are [the equivalent of homeopathy, without triggering automod].

    S o, attitude surveys are pretty meaningless exercises without accounting for interests, and hence needs. But one can always get funding for them.

  19. lazlo

    The change over time does seem striking – and encouraging.

  20. ProfHoward

    I wish you were right.

  21. Old nat.

    Interesting comments on the SNP – very good to hear.

  22. ROLAND, you miss wrote. Pretty sure polls suggest voters are now more for remain?

  23. Pete,
    You are just not on-message!

    Voters can change their minds on many things and we can have General Elections every two years at the whim of Prime Ministers, but the will of the people is immutable!

  24. @Ronald

    Like many of your partisan bent you forget May is PM and her job is to do what she thinks best for the country and not just to pander to that dwindling minority who vote Conservative from tribal loyalty.

  25. @Laszlo

    Ah the old “rigorously collected data that goes against my personal opinion proves that data, not my assumptions, to be faulty” line. Leavened with the exciting “researchers who do this are only in it for the funding”” slur.

    Not really the right attitude to take on a forum about interpreting data.

  26. Good Morning All from a hot Bournemouth.
    Rees Mogg referred to Peel recently. Peel himself in 1841 said he had been handed a poisoned chalice by the Whigs; the issue was Free Trade and the Corn Laws.
    May was handed the EU poisoned chalice by Cameron and IMO is doing a good job navigating between the two poles of the argument in her Party; reminding me of Wilson over the same issue in the Labour Party from 197-75.

  27. I think Theresa May is doing a great job in preparing the ground for staying in the EU or very very close to being a member.

    The logic must surely be that the White Paper proposals will not be acceptable to the EU and there will be months of renegotiations to take place.

    We will get to about October, if May is still the PM and no deal is ready to be reached with the EU. Because a deal might be achievable, but it would take longer to agree and go through the ratification process, I suspect that May will ask Parliament to agree to an extension to Article 50, if this is agreed by the EU. Of course May will have already obtained prior agreement with the EU to extend the Article 50 period by at least 12 months.

    So the UK won’t have left the EU in March 2019 and negotiations are continued. Meanwhile the Tory Brexiteers who don’t support the way May is approaching Brexit, will be spectators in Westminster, looking on as May receives support from the opposition parties.

    At some point before the end of 2019, I suspect that will end up being much closer to full EU Customs membership and very close to most EU Single market obligations. There might be important opt outs, such as no rights of free movement, with a work visa system put into place and opt outs of EU rules affecting the Financial sector, but not much more than that.

    Theresa May’s red lines won’t be really maintained, but it would not surprise me if she were able to come up with an argument to say that the red lines have been maintained.

    The question is whether the Tory party can be kept together during this process ? How many current Tory MP’s would be willing to jump ship to UKIP or just resign the Tory whip and sit as independent Tories ?

    And would Labour really want to be in Government in charge of the Brexit process ? I am not convinced.

  28. Roly clearly means Tory voters and I think the commas makes his sentence accurate, although grammar is not my strong point.

    Prof H, I away all day yesterday and intended on returning intended to post that I felt Labour supporting a May plan was highly unlikely.

    The 6 test may well be cakist, possibly even b****cks, but they are based on an undeliverable set of objectives that May set herself.

    Could enough Lab back-benchers support HMG? Cant see it myself as the proposals are nt soft enough for the remain rebels so the only possible group are those Lab MPS in leave constituencies who have supporting party policy up to now but prefer a slightly harder position than a full CU; the 10 or so EEA extra rebels for example.

    Even then I think a hand-full at most possible so the only way May’s plans can get through the HOC is for the opposition to reach the view that unless they support them a no-deal (min deal of course) is a real possibility. National interest in this scenario would mean, from this perspective, supporting something short of A CU with the hope that actual negotiations during the transition would see a development in that direction.

    I think the least unlikely way the May plans might get through the HOC is if the Irish Government, who Labour get on better with than the actual Government, persuaded Labour to abstain. Not blocking to allow progress’ and prevent a ‘no’ deal would be acceptable to most LP members if this was the case and abstention would make it clear Labour did not support the specific plan.


    What plan would you prefer to The Chequers Plan , what would its effects be & how would they be better than May’s proposal ?


  30. CL and RH
    I see where you’re both coming from. Personally I don’t share your confidence in May to lead us to remain, or even the softest BINO.

    I passionately believe it’s in the people of Britain’s best interests to remain, but as a believer in the European project would actually prefer a couple of decades of BINO to allow the EU to achieve the closer integration, tightening of tax and financial regulations and improved social and employment conditions which their spin has had it that Britain has been preventing for the last twenty years.

    I caught the end of the latest Reith lecture on the way to work yesterday in which the lecturer was describing how nations come to terms with themselves and their enemies at the end of wars. What she described sounded very much like where England has always felt to me. A gladiatorial nation, as evidenced from the way we are expected to behave whenever the English flag is draped over a football or rugby match or other sporting occasion, which has barely made any attempt to reconcile with the enemies we supposedly vanquished almost three quarters of a century ago, who we still treat with mistrust and disdain. She spoke of the difficulty of reconciliation after civil war, and what she described sounded just like Brexit, a cold war equivalent of the English civil war, with only limited opportunity for restoring peace and mistrust other than the passage of a great deal of time. I’m intending to listen to the whole lecture when I get time, it’s thought provoking stuff.

  31. I think more damaging than the actual resignations or people’s interpretation of the Chequers deal is the comments coming from the Brexit wing of the Tory party and of course the newspapers.

    Voters were probably none the wiser after Chequers. I see a more rational and realistic approach but given this has to get past the EU and there are lots of grey areas, especially over freedom of movement, I am still not much clearer as to what a final deal may look like or its chances of success or amendment once negotiations with the EU take place.

    But Brexit voters being told by their own side that leaving in any meaningful way is dead in the water should have an impact on voting intention.

    How big or how permanent this is remains to be seen. Ultimately May doesn’t have much of a choice- if the deal crashes the economy then she won’t get back regardless of whether she has given Brexiters everything they ever dreamed of.

  32. Voting down a “soft” Brexit, leaving chaos & a GE to ensue would be an interesting platform for Labour in the GE campaign.

  33. Colin – yes it would be interesting to see if Mrs May could pin not getting her plan through the HOC on the opposition when she leads a majority (with DUP votes).

  34. @Colin

    “Voting down a “soft” Brexit, leaving chaos & a GE to ensue would be an interesting platform for Labour in the GE campaign.”

    Personally, I agree, but I feel compelled to point out that it also appears to be the preferred strategy of the Tory Right and, crucially, of the Tory press cheerleaders.

  35. It is in labour’s interests to say the Chequers plan is not really soft so they can oppose and in May’s interest to agree to try to keep as many Tory leavers as possible on board.

    How soft in reality – I guess we will have to wait until the White Paper and even then it may not be clear.

  36. Personally I quite like the Chequers plan, or at least the 3 page version so far. Its also about the ‘type’ of deal which could get through the HOC as well.

    That said, I can understand why the say 60-80* leave-supporting Tory MPs are coming out vocally against it – its simply because they’re worried about their own seats…the two who resigned yesterday said as much. They need to be able to say to their constituency that they stood up for something stronger. I expect the vast majority of that group to back the plan come October simply because the alternatives will be either worse or non-existent.

    Obvious questions for later in the year are: (i) how many of those 60-80 don’t fall into line in Oct and whether their number is made up by the Leave support Lab MPs to get the deal through and (ii) whether the vocal ones who people listen to, like JRM, back the plan

    * I think its ‘only’ 60-80 given that I read the Con MPs were split something like 180-200 Remain with the balance being Leave, and then some of the Leave people being pragmatic leavers (eg Gove, Fox, Raab) who have, at least publicly supported the Chequers deal whilst the others are the noisey group speaking out against Chequers.

  37. The question that Colin poses really gets to the nub of the matter. If not this, then what? is a question that nobody has even attempted to answer because it is almost impossible to get consensus on any proposal.

    The proposal now on offer is the only game in town. It has a moderate chance of being accepted by the EU, probably with a few tweaks, because the realisation must be dawning that it is either this or chaos. There is simply no time to work up any other, dramatically different proposal. The Labour right must know this too so may well support it in sufficient numbers to get it through parliament.

    As I have already said, the alternative is no deal or, at best, minimum deal meaning keeping a civilised relationship and respecting the rights of expats and EU citizens already in the UK. There is no time for anything else.

  38. Possibly the most extreme outcome as far as politics that could occur is a realignment of parties with a new centrist pro EU party emerging. Some Lab MPs are already laying the ground for something like this with talk of a national Government. It is fairly clear that some of them would prefer that to a Corbyn led one anyway. We could see a repeat of 1931

  39. NearlyFrench

    I agree and agree that it’ll have some tweaks – a few concessions to the EU, but then some things to help sell it in the UK (e.g. whilst people can move to the UK for work and to study, they can’t claim benefits for [x] months).

    I disagree with your point about not being ‘time’ to work up an alternative though….the issue is that there IS no alternative!! No alternative that is which meets the various criteria around the Irish issue, leaving the EU, CU and SM, etc etc…and people like loud mouthed Boris haven’t come up with one despite having had 2 years to do so.

    Think we’ll get to October with something resembling the Chequers agreement and then see whether enough MPs support it. My guess is that it’ll sneak through if it doesnt change radically, but will be a close one certainly….


  40. May’s approach is 100% aligned with her previous modus operandi as Home Secretary:
    – loud pronunciations of firm intentions to stand up to the EU, followed by a fudged compromise in a smoke-filled room that has the appearance of a principled stand but actually gives pretty much everything away on a ‘voluntary’ basis.

    It’s all spin, all eminently predictable from her past behaviour, and all about what is best for the Tory party, not what is best for the country.

    For what it is worth, I think the EU will try to cobble together some kind of agreement form this basis, but it will require some further concessions and creative obfuscation – fortunately the UK and EU civil services are experts in the latter.

    It will be up to the ERG and Labour ultras to stop this proposal I suspect…

  41. @ Colin

    Labour has a (political) option for officially abstaining which would make it a Tory only issue.

    What the final proposed deal looks like will determine whether Labour remainers would get cross with their party for not voting for/against this.

    Labour probably won’t have to worry too much about offending Labour leavers in the event that the proposal looks pretty remainy as long as it isn’t Labour who made it happen (hence abstaining being best option). They have probably suffered from some depression in their vote in places like Mansfield and Nuneaton on the basis Tories would see through a hardish Brexit. In the event that it is a softish Brexit proposal then that levels the playing field in those areas and may even send some Tory voters to UKIP so standing still gives Labour the seat,

  42. I struggle to see what else apart from something like the Chequers plan could ever get through the HOC….any suggestions?

    Anything similar to what mad Boris wants wouldn’t even get 25% of MPs supporting it. Anything which commits to staying in the CU and SM would be vetoed given >50% of MPs would say it doesnt respect the result of the referendum.

    What else is there??

  43. Adam B,

    Labour believe that given a free vote, which they will call on the Government to give at some point, the HOC would vote for the UK to be in A customs union with the EU.

    If HMG refuse Labour will not abstain but vote against the deal in October.

    I don’t think Labour remain (EEA rebels) would vote for this in anywhere near enough numbers to compensate for the ERG et al votes lost at the other end.

  44. OldNat (and maybe Laszlo?)

    You might find this brief article on what’s gone wrong with Central European nationalism interesting. It seems an interesting idea, but I don’t know enough of the history to comment on its plausibility.

  45. Jim Jam,

    Isn’t Customs Union Labour policy? This should mean there is a three-line whip and all Labour members will be expect to vote for it.

  46. Maybe someone should remind Trump that the only time a NATO member has invoked the mutual defence clause was the USA in Afghanistan.

    The US was pretty useless when NATO member the UK had it’s territory invaded in the Falklands War, so as with much else, so much of Trump’s shouting is misinformed and misguided, but still dangerous.

    Claiming Germany is in Putin’s pocket is just hilarious, coming from a man who connived with the Russians to get himself elected.

  47. Yes Hal.

    But they would give a free vote if the Tories did likewise as they believe there is a HOC majority for it.

  48. JIM JAM

    @”they will call on the Government to give at some point, the HOC would vote for the UK to be in A customs union with the EU.”

    The difference with the Chequers proposal being what exactly, Jim Jam ?

  49. ALEC

    He is talking about German energy policy-Nordstream 2.

    Even Tusk thinks it is a bad idea. The EU is trying to stop it with rules on competition.

    I know a lot of people object to Trump’s Bull in a China Shop directness. But sometimes beneath the bluster & lack of diplomacy is a nugget of an uncomfortable truth.

  50. I mentioned on the last thread my key worry about the Chequers Plan is that it won’t provide a stable basis for future relations between the UK and EU, nor will it resolve the decades long abiding tensions within the Tory party. rather, it sets the field very neatly for continued destabilising war between the two factions, with the result that businesses will remain feeling nervous about investing and developing.

    As I understand the proposal, this instability stems from the fact that May wants to secure free movement for goods via an acceptance of EU regulatory standards, but without the legally binding discipline of submitting to EU rules of law via the ECJ. In effect, we are voluntarily agreeing to enter into the EU trading system, while retaining the right at any time of our choosing, via parliamentary action, to remove ourselves from these regulations. The proposal to accept not just existing, but also future EU regulations in this manner just compounds the problem.

    This opens up the prospect of a continuous battle front emerging within UK politics, with the hard Brexit side retaining the ability to scupper any agreement at any future time by forcing a divergence of standards. As the entire point of the referendum was to provide a once and for all answer to the internal Tory strife over Europe, this outcome would be entirely unacceptable. Rather than end the Seventy Years War, it would actually establish a far clearer tactical battleground, and my guess is that it would actually intensify the conflict – if that were remotely imaginable!

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