August is normally a quiet time for polling – partly because the political agenda is often quite bare, partly because both pollsters themselves and the journalists who normally commission public polls will likely be taking their holidays (There’s also a question to be asked about sampling when a fair chunk of the country will be on its holidays, though personally I suspect that doesn’t actually make a difference once it’s spread over a month). It means polling in late August was very light, with only the regular YouGov/Times poll, which was published on Friday and had topline figures of CON 39%(-1), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 10%(+1), UKIP 5%(-1).

Parliament returns next week, and hopefully a busier political agenda will be equally reflected in some more interesting polling.

359 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 39, LAB 37, LDEM 10, UKIP 5”

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  1. Labour are clearly in further internal conflict about a second Brexit referendum. Graham Stringer, clearly a democrat, in an article for the Manchester Evening News wrote “I can think of nothing that would do more to damage our democracy than a failure to deliver on the Eu referendum, which after all was the largest single vote in our democratic history. The establishment with its overgrown sense of entitlement cannot believe that the electorate rejected its self-interested advice. Democracy, progress and the economy are not threatened by those of us who stand by their electoral promises, but by those who want to sabotage the referendum.”

    I don’t often agree with Labour politicians but I can totally agree with that, exactly what I have been saying since the referendum.
    There were similar comments from the mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham called campaigners for a second EU referendum “arrogant” and warned that the demands for a fresh vote on the UK’s relationship with Brussels risked making voters feel the political class “isn’t listening”.

  2. Good to hear that Barnier is furious over the prime Ministers suggestion that Britain diverge from the EU on services. According to Politico one of his team have highlighted a study which estimated that Britain’s service sector would save £5.5B a year by freeing itself from just seven EU regulations. Yet another nail in the coffin of project fear and how much more could be saved by more deregulation?

    Some observers think there has been a considerable softening of the EU attitude to the negotiations from comments Barnier made this week. Personally, I don’t think the EU are interested in meaningful negotiations and, I would not trust Barnier as far as I could throw him.

  3. On Monday BBC Parliament had a speech by Professor John Denham (ex Labour MP) on English identity. I thought the following very telling indeed: –

    “And the survey at least hints at the emergence of minority amongst British identifiers who are not just ‘not English’, but positively antipathetic to the English.

    The clue is in the people who say they would be embarrassed to call themselves English, about just 7% of the total sample.
    The embarrassment is not felt by people who identify as English, or equally English and British, but by those who emphasise their British identity or who otherwise say they are not English.
    This anti-English fragment of Britishness seems to be highly educated, found more in cities and university towns, and much more likely to identify strongly as European than the general population. Contrary to what you might expect, this anti-English outlook is not stronger amongst ethnic minorities than white people.
    Minority though it may be, I’d suggest this anti-English fraction is over-represented within the institutions of government, within the leadership of the public sector, within the media, within corporate capitalism, and in academia (in short, a large part of what is sometimes called the elite). It is of course found within politics, and on the left in particular.

    That observation is based on personal experience, rather than hard data, though I suspect most of you will recognise what I am describing. I’m often struck by how many people in powerful positions say they are British not English while expressing disparaging views about English identity. They seem blissfully unaware that being British not English puts them in less than on in ten of the population, and by being antipathetic to Englishness, in an even smaller minority.

    We saw their influence in Remains’ decisions to campaign as Scotland Stronger in Europe, in Scotland; as Wales Stronger in Europe, in Wales, and – only in England – as Britain Stronger in Europe. The English were, apparently, not worth even speaking to.”
    Again, I can totally agree with his analysis, a majority who currently post on this website would fit into that 7%, and his definition.
    His whole speech is well worth a read by anybody who cares about the UK, and has concerns for its future cohesion. He even makes some suggestions how the problem should be addressed. The full text can be found at

    h ttps://

  4. So, Frank Field resigned the Labour whip over antisemitism and bullying in the party. I have a lot of time for much of what Field says on issues like benefit strategy and Brexit, but surely, he must have been aware of Corbyn’s views on Palestine and Israel when he nominated him. How many others will have the courage to follow his lead. Labour is clearly the “nasty party” at the moment IMO.

  5. I am sure we can all agree that it is good to hear that unemployment is getting lower in Europe. Mind you it needs to, as unemployment in the EU is more than twice as high (at 8.2%) as the UK (4%). France, Italy, Spain and Greece are all well above the EU average and youth unemployment in Italy, Spain and Greece is still over 30%.

  6. Good to see this from May:-
    ““In the summer of 2016, millions came out to have their say,” the prime minister said. “They trusted that their vote would count; that after years of feeling ignored by politics, their voices would be heard. To ask the question all over again would be a gross betrayal of our democracy – and a betrayal of that trust.”

    Exactly what I have been saying ever since the idea was mooted.

  7. 1st and first.

  8. @TOH

    Couldn’t agree more with your first post.

    Outside a cosy cabal of academics in cushy jobs, ne0-lib charlatans and vested big business interest, there is no demand for this mythical 2ns ref.

    The overwhelming view is “get on with it”.

  9. In other news, Manchester United are 1-0 up at half time.

    Jose Mourinho said “It would be grossly disrespectful to the result of the first half if anyone kicked the ball in the second half. To continue playing would be a betrayal of the trust of the fans and totally anti football.”

  10. Would have been more balanced if The Other Howard had mentioned Frank Field invoking Sir Keith Joseph’s jewishness when comparing his proposals on children to the Nazis

  11. Powerful speech by Gordon Brown , I must say.

  12. I don’t think the anti semitism issue has any more potency at this point as most people think Jeremy Corbyn is anti semitic or he isn’t. The most recent row concerning remarks about ‘zionism’ seemed very confected.

  13. I wonder when the Conservative party will adopt what they are criticising Labour for not adopting in full?


    Perhaps nothing too surprising in this survey, except for the finding that 6% of Liberal Democrats have a positive view of fascism!

  15. @ ALEC (last thread) – I’m happy to let your lack of previous understanding of A50 be forgotten and let bygones be bygones, time to move on.

    Will you at least now agree that we haven’t signed the WA but that we are now talking[1] about the future trade deal[2] with everything hinging on resolving the NI issue (legacy issue from phase1). IMHO, neither side is able or willing to capitulate on that (my view being both sides are exaggerating the NI issue and using it as a “proxy war” to get what they want on a broader UK-EU deal – various polls shows the vast majority of folks think the same!)

    [1] I use “talking” in a very lose term. We’ve put Chequers “on the table” but so far we haven’t had a full response, just some mild rebuttals – Barnier is no fool! We await Barnier’s “amazing” offer which I expect will look very much like EEA+CU with very modest fudge on FoM, etc so he hopes enough HoC MPs will approve it and use the legislation that is coming in Autumn to box May into UK “choosing” this for ourselves (a process I expect she and/or HMG might not survive and hence I hope she foresees!).
    [2] Barnier’s offer will be the “framework” of a future relationship (as stipulated in A50) it will not be 100% on all the details but it will cover the important issues otherwise HoC and EP won’t be able to sign off the WA. The “framework” will be subject to finalisation, revision and ratification after 30Mar’19 when we become a 3rd country – at which point any “fudge” on FoM, etc could well be removed by someone on their side and my guess is they will drag out transition (should we ever get to this point!)

  16. @ ALEC – Regarding NTBs.

    I’m not saying new NTBs with EU will be zero (some already exist). I’m saying they won’t be as high as HMT Jan’17 forecast if we continue to unilaterally recognise EU standards, regs, etc on the relevant and critical sectors such as food (a lot of the standards that EU adopt on non-food goods are global anyway!) This isn’t just about the economic consequences, our reliance on EU food imports means it is a vital practical requirement!

    You will note from their Jan’17 forecasts that HMT come in at the high end of other group think tanks who use basically the same approach (gravity models, status quo, etc).

    I certainly expect a Clean Brexit will create a small short-term economic hit and hence how UK responds will be of critical importance. This is why I mention areas where HMT, HMG and BoE can respond, ie

    HMT: not an Osborne ‘punishment budget’ but a ‘mitigation and opportunity capturing’ budget
    HMG: sensible immigration, trade and domestic policies designing to mitigate the risks and maximise on the opportunities.
    BoE: not Carney the 4rse-onist ’emergency rate hikes’ but Carney the fire-fighter ’emergency rate cuts’

  17. @ TOH – Your post regarding the gains available from diverging from EU on services fits in with some points I’ve been making.

    May (with/without Hammond) has the opportunity to “evolve” the HMT’s economic forecasts. The only argument Remain seem to have is Project Fear 2.0 and Hammond keeps dropping a “turd in the punchbowl” with his dire economic warnings.

    The Jan’17 HMT analysis left open several areas where the -ve numbers can be “revised” lower and more +ve numbers can be brought it (e.g. the services number you mention)

    May has the means, method and motive to embrace “no deal” and sell it to the public, possibly even HoC?

    Whether she will or not, no idea! I’d like her gone but if she gets Hammond to wake up (or sacks him) them I can see why it is probably better she stays on until after 29Mar’19.

    The talk of a “coup” is important as it should focus her attention and it is there as a last resort either played out via leadership challenge (which May might fight and win) or via confidence vote in HoC (numbers required for this route being much much lower)

    Some exciting months ahead!

  18. Barnier despatches Chequers to the bottom of the sea (again):

    Michel Barnier has said he is “strongly opposed” to the prime minister’s Chequers proposals on future trade, as he advised European car manufacturers that they will have to use fewer British-made parts after Brexit.

    In his most damning condemnation yet of the UK government’s plans, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said the British offer on customs was illegal and its suggestion of a “common rulebook” on goods would kill the European project.

    Instead, in an intervention that will concern the 186,000 people directly employed by the car industry in the UK, Barnier warned European manufacturers that the streamlined system of imports and exports between the UK and the rest of Europe would come to an end.

    Full interview in the FAZ (German).


    It would not have been relevent to what i posted.


    I think there will be a challenge to May if she doesn’t ditch the Chequers plan.

    Watching the cricket, India batting well after early losses and looking to win the fourth Test.

    Have a good week all.

  20. If David Davies, the ERG, the Labour Party and Barnier speaking for the EU oppose the substance of the Chequers proposals and David Liddington says the only alternative to Chequers is no deal and Theresa May says (in the DT) that the substance of Chequers is not negotiable, where is there left to go but no deal?

    Only the Conservative Party Rebels, in full number, can prevent a no deal Brexit.

    May the Lord have mercy on us all!

  21. “Perhaps nothing too surprising in this survey, except for the finding that 6% of Liberal Democrats have a positive view of fascism!”


    We’re you expecting it to be a lot more?

  22. @Trevor Warne – thanks, but my understanding of A50 has been clear all along and vindicated by events. At least I didn’t try to claim that “the framework for its future relationship with the Union” means the same as a trade deal.

    To be honest, this sort of banal tit for tat posting is not very edifying for other posters, and I think it’s best to let others judge who was more right and more wrong with their observations – after all, it’s all written down in black and white.

    “Will you at least now agree that we haven’t signed the WA but that we are now talking[1] about the future trade deal”

    No – this isn’t what is actually happening. We are talking about the framework for its future relationship with the Union, which isn’t the same thing as a trade deal – I think this is the bit you are misunderstanding. We are still trying to decide what the general framework of the relationship will be. Until that is agreed, we won’t be talking about a trade deal.

    Now – your turn.

    Will you agree that once we sign the WA we will be legally committed to the payments contained therein and that these won’t be contingent on any trade deal, and that once we sign the WA we will still have to negotiate a full trade deal?

    On NTB’s – again, my view is that you have a fundamental misunderstanding on this issue. Starting from a fully aligned position is largely irrelevant. The issue is about who has the legal responsibility for ensuring everything is correct, in terms of goods traded.

    It doesn’t matter what the theoretical position regarding whether UK exports etc are meeting EU regulations – the issue is the processes that are required to give certainty that this is the case.

    For example, if the UK doesn’t have legally binding regulations on non EU imports, the EU will require some level of checks (NTB’s) to assess re-exports, regardless of what the present regulatory regime is.

  23. WB61

    I have been saying for a very long time now that “No Deal” is the most likely outcome.

    After an initial economic hit the UK will become very much better off and we will have our sovereignty back. Something to celebrate surely?

  24. Good afternoon all from a warm and sunny Winchester.

    “Parliament returns next week, and hopefully a busier political agenda will be equally reflected in some more interesting polling”

    Well the polls might had been in short supply over the past few weeks but it’s been an interesting few weeks on the ol political front with Salmond-gate, Antisemitism-gate and Theresa May dancing-gate so I’m expecting some of this gate stuff to be reflective in future polling.

    On recent polling….I don’t believe for 1 minute the Lib/Dems are on 10%. I haven’t seen anything credible or of interest that would catapult the Lib/Dems from the fringes of politics up into small party status.

    And a shout out to Liverpool & Celtic…Well done YNWA.


    The contract lost was worth £14 million a year. To put that into context Celtic sold Moussa Dembele to Lyon for £19.4 million or probably a more suitable statistic, the contract lost is equivalent to 47p per person in the UK yet look at the dramatic headlines.

    Parts of the economy will take a hit but I really do think in a few years time we will be looking back and asking what the hell was all the fuss about?


    the contract lost is equivalent to 47p per person in the UK yet look at the dramatic headlines.

    And the 900 EMA jobs?

    BREXIT, death by a thousand cuts

  27. Hireton et. al.,

    The costs to the private sector are much larger. From the same article:

    Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry: Companies are having to build extra laboratories to try to prepare to batch-release medicines made in the UK on the continent. That’s a huge cost for us. Hundreds of millions of pounds that we’re having to spend that frankly we’d rather spend on researching new medicines. We have no choice because we have to ensure what we do is legal. It’s probably wasted money in the end.

  28. Well done to England for beating India and taking the series victory. Also, well done to Moeen Ali, the grandson of a Pakistani immigrant, who was man-of-the-match. It shows how immigration makes our country stronger and why a ‘hostile environment’ is such a mistake.

  29. @ ALEC – I’m sure folks are capable of using the scroll feature if they see the @ symbol.

    Anyway, let’s just ignore the past and deal with present and future. So, my answers:

    1/“once we sign the WA we will be legally committed to the payments contained therein”
    Yes In return please suggest how you think May will be in a position to do this, taking note of HoC arithmetic, the upcoming Autumn legislation, Barnier informally saying Chequers won’t work, NI issue and the broader issues concerning timing (or lack of)

    2/“these (payments) won’t be contingent on any trade deal, and that once we sign the WA we will still have to negotiate a full trade deal”
    A politician’s answer required I’m afraid!

    As per A50 and the Dec joint statement the “framework for future relationship” will IMHO need to contain a fairly detailed political commitment on what the future trading relationship will be. It cannot be a FULL trade deal until we have left (tangent: your view on this is yet another reason why a 2nd ref is stup1d).

    We continue to disagree on the extent of what constitutes the “framework”. I can not see HoC or EP signing off on some vague wishy-washy commitment. It is possible we could agree some “timings and triggers” (ie agree Florence 20bn for transition and hold the rest back pending a stronger framework on future relationship including details on the bones+flesh of the trade deal. Also since payments will be phased then upon a major breach of understanding after 29Mar’19 we should ensure we can then stop the remaining phased payments – I’m pretty sure HoC will demand this). Obviously EC will take us to court to try and force us to honour the payments – but which court? ;)

    (quick tangent, I note Nick Boles, CON-Remain MP did today suggest we seek to agree a slimmed down WA. I disagree with his 3yrs of political purgatory in the EEA (business needs clarity, not drawn out uncertainty) but good to see folks finally talking about slimming down the WA and if everything can’t be agreed then at least agreeing as much as we can!)

    3/ NTBs. “Starting from a fully aligned position is largely irrelevant”. I’m not sure if you are joking? Assuming you might be serious then:

    Taking back control means we will, as you say, have “legal responsibility for ensuring everything”. This is why it is vital we leave the CU, SM and ECJ – as May has promised. Once we have full control we can then make pragmatic decisions – such as the obvious need to continue food imports with minimal additional “friction” or NTBs (not zero, just minimised!) That pragmatic decision is solved by ensuring we continue to fully recognise EU standards on food – just unilaterally and without ECJ’s ultimate jurisdiction.

    The alternative, is what? Start checking all EU imported food on 30Mar’19 just because we can? Since it was OK to “wave it through” on 29Mar’19 then why would we start doing sanitary checks, etc the next day? Bonkers!

    NB EU countries might adopt this approach and taking them to court due to some breach of WTO etc would be very time consuming. The EU 27 nations’ decisions are obviously not something we can control.
    NB2 Food is very rarely re-exported (if you want I can try and get the %, I’m guessing less than 1%ish?). We import it, we possibly process it but we almost always then eat it. We’re not going to import Dutch chickens, give them a quick bath in chlorine and then re-export them! Cars, etc different and more complex but not “the end of the World” either. However, if LDEM folks want to buy a new Porsche or Audi I would suggest they do so soon, I’m quite happy with my 6yr old UK built car myself ;)

  30. @ EOTW – even if we somehow now decided to Remain do you think EMA and EBA would come back to UK?

  31. Thanks AW

    Normal service is resumed (for the next two weeks at least :-)

  32. One thing is certain for me:

    Calling for a vote can be called many things but “undemocratic” can never be one of them.

    Unless the vote is restricted to one option (totalitarian States) or options that are so so poorly defined that people put their own interpretation on the result after the event. An example of the latter is people who say that people voted in 2016 “to leave the Single Market” when polls have shown that >5% of Leavers thought no such thing…

    As for Englishness, my passport says I am British and that is what I am. I am also a proud Yorkshireman. I am also a European. Somewhere in there I am also English, but British is first. Of course I support England at cricket, especially since the captain is a Yorkshireman! There is no British cricket team..

    I am very proud of being British, and the things I am most proud of are our history of tolerance and free speech. It saddens me when such values are eroded or denigrated. British democracy in the form of FPTP I regard as highly outdated however and in need of reform so that the will of the people can be more accurately reflected. I am also a patriot and I regard tax avoiders (by elaborate schemes to exploit loopholes) and people who take their wealth and profits offshore as highly unpatriotic, seeking to withhold money that is needed by the State to be used for the good of all. Such people should certainly not be given honours, although many have…

  33. “”Objectively in the British system nothing has changed,” says one EU diplomat. “They’re still deeply divided.” ..

    …At the last round of talks between Michel Barnier and Dominic Raab on 14 August, sources described a heated discussion on the issue [backstop]….

    One way out of the deadlock is that the political declaration accompanying the Withdrawal Agreement, will spell out in such generous and positive terms what the future trade relationship will be that it gives Theresa May just about enough political cover to convince the DUP and Brexiteers that the backstop – though conceded – will never be needed.

    “That’s what the Commission is thinking,” says a senior EU official.

    “If we can accommodate presentation-wise the UK a bit more, be it with drafting the declaration in such a manner that May can claim that in the future framework, once agreed, we will end up with quasi-frictionless trade….

    …the Chequers plan is riddled with unworkable demands, but that it is a vehicle – a harbinger – of a proper discussion….

    In a nutshell, the EU might help Theresa May with a generous political declaration alongside the Withdrawal Agreement; but only if she can keep the Chequers plan afloat….

    “Time is running out,” says another EU source. “We can’t do the future relationship – the political declaration – in a heartbeat. It’s everything that the EU is. It doesn’t need to be entirely detailed, T’s crossed and I’s dotted. But it needs to be clear about what we mean by our future relationship.”…..

  34. @allanchristie

    Why so defensive? After all its what you want and voted for. You should be pleased.

  35. TOH

    “After an initial economic hit the UK will become very much better off …”

    Unsubstantiated and unevidenced tosh.

    Where is the evidence for this view.

  36. Personally I don’t support a second referendum, at least not until the choice is binary ( I may do should it become leaving on WTO v Remain) but to say it is undemocratic is hyperbole imo.

    We are a parliamentary democracy and if the HOC votes for a course of action it is a decision reached democratically.

    Was not Brexit in part at least about HOC sovereignty?

  37. @Leftie!iberal

    “Well done to England for beating India and taking the series victory. Also, well done to Moeen Ali, the grandson of a Pakistani immigrant, who was man-of-the-match. It shows how immigration makes our country stronger and why a ‘hostile environment’ is such a mistake.‘


    Of course, some people might be more concerned about losing their relative advantage, than making the country stronger, which is something that tends to get sidelined.

  38. Andrew111

    Everyone has their own set of identities. I’ve never understood why some folk insist that one must be “better” than another, and certainly not why folk are “proud” of having a particular one because of where and to whom they were born.

    I know that lots of people describe themselves as “patriots”. Again, such an emotional link, that people will “vigorously support their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors”, seems at best irrational and, at worst positively dangerous!

    Supporting whatever you consider to be your country when you think its behaviour is right is sensible : supporting it when you consider that it is palpably wrong is utterly deranged.

  39. Oldnat,

    I agree with you. “My country right or wrong” is the origin of many evils. A dangerous extension of “Nationalism” that I am sure does not affect you!

    We are all products of our upbringing of course. I lived in Canada for two years and it did not suit me. I think it was the lack of the same sense of casual history all around. I love old stone, with all its memories (as I imagine it!). I feel quite at home in Scotland though..

  40. @The Other Howard
    When Field nominated Corby, he had known him for more than 30 years. He praised him as a man of principle and honour.
    if you believe his current criticism is anything other than scheming to get of a leader whose policies he doesn’t subscribe to, then you are a little naive.
    Field had fallen out with every Labour leader since he became an MP.

  41. @LeftieLiberal and of the course the other key player for England was Sam Curran, the son of a Zimbabwean immigrant

  42. @TW

    even if we somehow now decided to Remain do you think EMA and EBA would come back to UK?

    Cut 100 and 101 of the 1,000.

    And I see no way we can remain, all I see is pain and recrimination when we leave.

  43. And Stokes came over from New Zealand as a 12 year old with his family as his dad was a professional rugby league player.

  44. Andrew 111

    So just to be clear. You are withdrawing your claim to be a “patriot”, and you are no longer “proud” of Britain – you just like being in a place that has “old stone” with its (imagined) memories.

    You are unconcerned as to where the legislative capital (of the bit of the EU you live in) is situated, or which legal system it applies to your life.

    With no particular adherence to anything which is specifically English/British/UK, you could not be described as any kind of “Nationalist” (other than, perhaps, a European Nationalist).

    Yet, such a position is totally contradictory to the one you adopted at 6:35.

    Such a transformation in such a short time seems remarkable! :-)

  45. @ JIM JAM

    “We are a parliamentary democracy and if the HOC votes for a course of action it is a decision reached democratically.

    Was not Brexit in part at least about HOC sovereignty?”

    Yes, but the Blairite-Miller plan to scupper Brexit in the Houses of Parliament turned out to be a failure.

    Hence why they now conspire for the ridiculous” People’s Vote”.

  46. @Oldnat @Andrew111

    Your interchange reminds me quite why concepts of nationalism have always seemed odd to me.

    I have never felt that I could be proud of something I haven’t worked towards. Therefore the ‘proud to be British’ line doesn’t work for me. I’ve not contributed to British history, nor British values (whatever those are supposed to be).

    My nationality is British by the accident of where I and my parents were born. Being proud to be British is no different to being proud of having two eyes. Not remotely logical.

  47. EOTW

    “the contract lost is equivalent to 47p per person in the UK yet look at the dramatic headlines”
    And the 900 EMA jobs?

    BREXIT, death by a thousand cuts

    Where’s the other 100 coming from?

  48. OLDNAT,

    Where did I say anything about legislative capitals??

    I think it is perfectly possible to be proud of one’s country without being a Nationalist. I also think it is quite possible for me to be a British patriot under this definition:

    “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors”

    I am quite happy to defend Britain against enemies and detractors, unless the detractors have a good point. Then it would become “my country right or wrong”

    I could be a European patriot under that definition too. I have often defended the EU against its enemies and detractors.

    The thing I could never call myself though is a “Nationalist”

    “a person who strongly identifies with their own nation and vigorously supports its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations”

    How about you?


    Why so defensive? After all its what you want and voted for. You should be pleased

    I’m not being defensive as all… I was just pointing out a sensationalist headline that had all the traits of Armageddon turned out to be something equivalent to costing 47p for each of us in the UK.

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