Conservatives have welcomed the announcement that the bid for a new free school to serve the west of Caversham has been given the go ahead by the Department for Education. “The Heights Free School” will be a 2-form entry primary with 50 pupils per year group and will open in September 2014.
Cllr Isobel Ballsdon, Conservative Group Education spokesman, said, “This is fantastic news. At last families in Caversham Heights will have a realistic chance of getting a local primary school place. The part of Caversham Heights which I represent (Mapledurham Ward) always has parents who are disappointed, because they are unable to get their child into their designated local school. For many years parents have been forced into their cars to drive their children to schools on the other side of Caversham or even out of Reading Borough.”
“I’m particularly thrilled for the parents who have worked so hard on the bid to get to this point. Their dedication and commitment is inspirational and I look forward to helping them get the school up and running for next September.”
Cllr Tim Harris, Leader of the Conservative Group said, “This is fabulous news and I congratulate the parents involved who have been supported throughout by Cllr Isobel Ballsdon and Reading East MP Rob Wilson. They have embraced the opportunity provided by the Conservative-led Government’s reforms and galvanised local support for their Free School bid. They have achieved what the Labour Council over the last decade has failed to deliver: a new school for Caversham.”
Conservative 29% (down 1%)
Labour 35% (down 3%)
Lib Dem 8% (no change)
UKIP 19% (up 4%)
All recent polls show Labour’s lead falling and UKIP up, which suggests that the proposition that UKIP takes support mainly from the Conservatives may be false.
In further findings:
Which of the following party leaders do you think would make the best prime minister?:
David Cameron 32%
Ed Miliband 24%
Nick Clegg 6%
Don’t know 38%
Of UKIP supporters, 29% say David Cameron would make the best prime minister, 6% Ed Miliband, 3% Nick Clegg and 62% don’t know.
David Cameron is turning out to be a good Prime Minister:
_____________Dec 2010 Today
Agree 38% 26%
Disagree 41% 51%
Net Agree -3 -25
The proportion who agree, 26%, is the lowest recorded by ComRes.
Ed Miliband is turning out to be a good leader of the Labour Party:
_____________Dec 2010 Today
Agree 17% 31%
Disagree 32% 42%
Don’t know 50% 27%
Net Agree -15 -11
The proportion who agree, 31%, is the highest recorded by ComRes.
Two-thirds, 66%, of Labour voters agree that Ed Miliband is turning out to be a good leader of the party, but one in seven, 15%, disagree.
Ed Miliband is likely to be Prime Minister after the next election:
Don’t know: 32%
Although 59% of Labour voters agree, 10% disagree and 31% don’t know.
If a referendum were held on Britain’s membership of the EU, I would vote for Britain to leave the EU:
_____________May 2012 Jan 2013 Today
Agree 46% 43% 46%
Disagree 30% 31% 24%
Don’t know 23% 26% 30%
Net Agree +16 +12 +22
UKIP voters are the most likely to agree with this statement (85%). Conservative voters are more likely to agree (49%) than disagree (19%). Labour voters are divided: 37% agree they would vote to leave while 36% disagree. Lib Dems are most pro-EU: 44% disagree and 30% agree.
If some EU powers are restored to the UK then I would vote in a referendum to stay in the EU:
Don’t know: 34%
Conservative (54%), Labour (48%) and Lib Dem voters (67%) are all more likely to agree with this statement than disagree. Only UKIP voters are more likely to disagree (46%) than agree (23%).
If a party wants my support at the next general election, it is important to me that they offer a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU:
Don’t know: 24%
Older voters are more likely to agree with this statement than younger voters. Two-thirds (67%) of those aged 65 and over agree compared to just a third (35%) of those aged 18-24. Conservative voters support the Prime Minister’s position with more than half (56%) saying that they agree compared with 23% that disagree. Labour voters are divided on this issue, 36% agree whilst 39% disagree. Of UKIP voters, 87% agree and only 6% disagree.
The Conservative Party is more divided over Europe now than it was when John Major was Prime Minister:
Don’t know: 29%
Even Conservative voters are more likely to agree (43%) than disagree (26%). Three-quarters (74%) of UKIP voters agree.
David Cameron has the authority over his party that he needs to be an effective Prime Minister:
Don’t know: 24%
Two-thirds of UKIP voters (65%) disagree with this statement as do one in five (18%) current Conservative voters.
Methodology: ComRes interviewed 1,001 GB adults online 15 - 16 May 2013. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults and by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at www.comres.co.uk.
Conservative 31% (up 2%)
Labour 34% (down 4%)
Lib Dem 10% ( no change)
UKIP 13% (down 2%)
To be just 3% ahead of the main governing party during the mid-term of a government implementing austerity is nothing short of sensationally bad for Labour. This is the lowest reported support for Labour since the 2010 General Election.
As ever when a single poll shows dramatic changes I would urge caution until we see whether this is repeated in other polls. However, it is broadly in line with a narrowing Labour lead in the last month or so.
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,010 aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 11-14 May 2013.
For as long as I have lived in Reading the nearby Woodley Town Council (in Wokingham Borough) has been under Lib Dem control. Indeed when I moved here in 1995 the Conservatives only had a single Councillor on the authority, in Loddon Airfield. At the last local elections in 2011 the Lib Dems held onto control with a slender majority of 13 seats to the Conservatives’ 12. Since then 1 Lib Dem and 1 Conservative have gone Independent leaving the Council as 12 Lib Dem, 11 Conservative, and 2 Independent. At tonight’s Annual Meeting of the Council the 2 Independents sided with the Conservatives to ensure a change of control for the first time since Woodley Town Council was formed.
Woodley TC is not like most Town Councils. It has power and a sizeable budget. The average precept on the Council Tax is around £115 and overall expenditure is just under £2m per annum. With 26,000 residents, the Council provides leisure facilities and deals with the lower level issues which are delegated by the Conservative controlled Wokingham Borough Council. The 25 Town Councillors are unpaid.
At the Annual Meeting Cllr Bill Soane was elected to be Mayor of Woodley for the next year. Bill is a fantastic guy, who has been deeply involved in Woodley for many years. He is a local businessman and a key organiser of the Woodley Carnival Committee, the biggest single event in the town. Cllr Keith Baker was elected to be Leader of the Council dynamic local politician who has worked his way up to his current position the hard way, helping local residents with their issues and campaigning for many local Conservatives across Woodley and Earley. Keith with be well placed to take up the reins from Cllr Kate Haines who has ably led the Conservative Group for the last several years. He will be the first Conservative leader of the Council in 39 years!
I wish Keith and his team well. I am sure that they will do a great job!
Conservative 31% (up 1%)
Labour 38% (down 1%)
Lib Dem 10% (no change)
UKIP 14% (no change)
UKIP remain at a high level following their local election gains. However, Labour are failing to regain the lead they enjoyed at the start of this year which was consistently in double figures. I suspect that after a few days time lag the Conservatives will start to pick up some support from UKIP following tonight’s news about an EU Referendum Bill to be tabled in Parliament.
Changes shown are compared to the last YouGov poll I reported on 10 May.
There is a new ICM poll in the Guardian tomorrow showing Labour’s opinion poll at just 6% but UKIP surging to a record high of 18%:
Conservative 28% (down 4%)
Labour 34% (down 4%)
Lib Dem 11% (down 4%)
UKIP 18% (up 9%)
This is a sensational result for UKIP following their gains in the local elections and the coverage which they have attracted since!
All three of the bigger parties have lost support equally meaning that Labour’s lead remains at the low level it dropped to last month. UKIP can take considerable comfort from their 18% rating as ICM is the most respected pollster according to a vote of readers of Political Betting. More worrying is the fact that the BNP has risen from 1% last month to 4% this month. Not enough to make any real electoral impact but it seems that they have benefitted from UKIP’s rise and the drop in support for the other parties.
UKIP should enjoy the surge while it lasts because any big change in polls should be treated with caution and the history of opinion polling is littered with minor party surges which quickly dissipate. The test for UKIP now is how well they can covert their protest vote support into a longer lasting base. With several of their elected Councillors facing internal and Police investigations I suspect that UKIP support will drop away over the summer and rise again in the run up to the Euro Elections in June 2014.
ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,001 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 10-12 May 2013. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.
There is a new YouGov poll in today’s Sun newspaper showing UKIP losing some of their recent gains and Labour’s lead again in single figures:
Conservative 30% (up 1%)
Labour 39% (down 1%)
Lib Dem 10% (up 1%)
UKIP 14% (down 2%)
We will have to see whether the recent UKIP rise is a flash in the pan or one which delivers a more longer lasting boost in the polls.
Changes shown are compared to the last YouGov poll I reported on 7 May.
Just days after the County Council elections and as we begin to look forward to the 2014 elections, which include all of the London Boroughs, one of the ruling Labour Groups in London has split. Harrow is one of those authorities which has switched between Labour and Conservative control.
In 2010 Labour won back majority control from a Conservative administration which had been in place since 2006. However, the ruling Labour Group has long been riven with factions and personal feuds. This has culminated in “a significant number” of Labour Councillor resigning from the ruling Group to form an “Independent Labour Group” including the Leader of the Council Cllr Thaya Idaikkadar. This break follows a successful Group leadership challenge from Cllr David Perry who was elected Labour Leader last month.
The Independent Labour Group claims to hold true to Labour value and principles but the personality clash which has led to the split surely means that the two rival Labour Groups will not work together and that the Council must now be considered under “no overall control”. Before the split Labour had 34 Councillors, Conservatives 25, Independents 3, and the Lib Dems just 1.
It is not clear how many Councillor have formed the breakaway Independent Labour Group but my sources tell me it will be “between six and ten”. It will also be interesting to see what happens in next year’s London elections. Will the Independent Labour Group run candidates against the official Labour candidates?
UPDATE: I have been sent this link which indicates that NINE Labour Councillors have resigned to form the new Independent Labour Group. The Official Labour Group therefore has the same number of Councillors as the Conservatives!
Conservative 29% (down 4%)
Labour 40% (down 1%)
Lib Dem 9% (down 1%)
UKIP 16% (up 5%)
This UKIP rise is not surprising following the publicity around their gains in the County Council elections last Thursday.
Changes shown are compared to the last YouGov poll I reported on 16 April.
The elections on Thursday were the subject of much speculation in advance and the post-result analysis has not been any less comprehensive. I set out my thoughts and predictions here. So how did each of the parties do?
Overall it is UKIP which grabbed the headlines with its gain of around 140 seats, well ahead of what most pundits (including me) predicted. The average expectation was for gains of 40-50 seats, but the gains in three authorities alone busted through this number. UKIP did especially well in four Councils in Eastern England: Lincolnshire (16), Cambridgeshire (12), Norfolk (15) and Kent (17). They also did well in Hampshire (10) and West Sussex (10), Suffolk (9), and Essex (9) but failed to gain a single seat in Bristol, Cumbia, Derbyshire, Durham, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, and Warwickshire. They put in a very creditable performance in the South Shields by-election, coming in second place with 24%, but failing to match the 28% they achieved in Eastleigh.
The Lib Dems did about as badly as expected, losing around 130 seats. They managed to hold on reasonably well in some of their stronger areas such as Cornwall but were badly depleted in Bristol (-10), Cambridgeshire (-9), Northumberland (-15), West Sussex (-13) and Durham (-18). They had no outright control of any of the Councils up for election and ended the count with none. Of more significance in the longer term is that they have lost their largest party status in Bristol and Northumberland, and their position as the official opposition party to UKIP in Buckinghamshire, Kent, Norfolk, and West Sussex. In the Parliamentary by-election in South Shields the Lib Dems were pushed into a humiliating SEVENTH place, behind the BNP and some Independents.
Labour made modest gains, with a net increase of just 291 seats. This was fewer than even the most pessimistic forecasts suggested. The independent local government analysts Professors Ralling and Thrasher suggested around 350 gains would be the minimum Labour needed to suggest that they were making decent progress from their 2009 nadir. I expected around 400 gains, and others predicted 500-600 gains. Labour was expected to at least regain the four Councils they lost in 2009, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire, with Cumbria being a possible bonus. In the event they only managed to gain Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, the latter with the narrowest possible margin. Cumbria remained No Overall Control, Lancashire went to No Overall Control, and, most surprising of all, Staffordshire remained Conservative with a decent majority. The only authority where they swept the board was Durham where they already had a majority. Labour made small advances in most Councils but still ended the count with fewer than 10 Councillors in most southern authorities. Labour won the South Shields by-election with a reduced majority and also won the two Mayoral elections in Doncaster (Gain from Ind) and North Tyneside (Gain from Cons).
The Conservatives were expecting a kicking in these elections from both Labour and UKIP. Rallings and Thrasher predicted losses of around 310 seats, I expected losses of around 400, and others predicted losses of over 600 seats and all but 2 authorities. In the end the net seat losses were constrained to just 335 and the Conservatives retained most of the Councils they were defending. In those they lost to No Overall Control most have the Conservatives as the largest party and will therefore likely retain control as a minority administration or as part of a coalition. There were a number of surprises in all respects: the Conservatives kept control of Somerset and Staffordshire against all expectations but lost Lincolnshire and Norfolk to No Overall Control as a result of the UKIP surge. They even managed to increase their Councillor numbers in Surrey and Northumberland! The Daily Mail produced the swingometer (right) which suggested that losses of around 300-350 would be mildly dangerous for Cameron but well below the level which would be considered a catastrophe. The black spot for the Conservatives was the loss of the North Tyneside Mayoralty where Linda Arkley had done an excellent job and was a useful example of a Conservative winning in a northern urban area.
At the end of the counting process the Conservatives won over 1,100 Councillors (-335) and 18 Councils (-10), Labour won 538 Councillors (+291) and 3 Councils (+2), Lib Dems won 352 Councillors (-124), Independents won 165 Councillors (+24), UKIP won 147 Councillors (+139), and the Greens won just 22 Councillors (+5). The BNP were wiped out with zero Councillors elected. Conservatives control County Councils in all parts of England, North, South, East and West, while Labour has just two in the northern Midlands and one in the North.
Undoubtedly UKIP did very well on a turnout of just over 30%, but is it a “breakthrough”? We have seen similar surges before which have turned to dust. We only have to think of the SDP in the 1980′s, the Greens in 1989, the BNP in the last 10 years, and previous UKIP gains in Euro elections. Almost certainly UKIP will come first or second in next year’s Euro elections but to make a real impact on British politics UKIP will need to gain control of a number of higher tier Councils (town and parish councils don’t count!) and/or several MPs. It is therefore premature to talk of a “four-party system” or Nigel Farage taking part in a series of Parliamentary Leaders debates in a General Election.
Of more interest is the debate over how the major parties should respond to UKIP’s success. I profoundly disagree with friends like Dan Hannan and Nirj Deva who argue for some sort of electoral pact. Even if that were possible what could UKIP bring to the party? They have no MPs and are not likely to win any in 2015. Such a pact would mean the end of the current coalition and would alienate some Conservative members and supporters without delivering any tangible benefit.
The best thing that David Cameron can do is to stake out clear and consistent policy positions which unite the Parliamentary Party and the wider membership and stop pursuing policies which alienate our natural supporters. There are signs that this is the path which will be followed in the run up to the General Election with tougher stances on immigration, law and order, and welfare benefits. He could do more on making an EU Membership referendum a guarantee rathen than an aspiration, and he must stop allowing the Chancellor to cut Defence spending while wasting it on Overseas Aid. He must also swiftly ensure that Equal Marriage proposals get onto the Statute Book and avoid picking any more fights with his own side. It is also time to say thankyou and goodbye to Kenneth Clarke who has long outlived his usefulness. If he combined this with a Cabinet reshuffle which reduced the number of people attending the weekly Cabinet meetings he might lead a more focussed and coherent government.
Overall I am optimistic following last week’s local elections. Labour has failed to make any meaningful recovery from the dark days of Gordon Brown’s administration and the Lib Dems are greatly weakened. UKIP will prove to be an irrelevance come the General Election when the turnout will be much higher than last Thursday. A revitalised and emboldened Conservative Party can therefore win the next General Election with a working majority provided that the leadership leads and the Parliamentary Party unites and stops bickering in public. There is everything to play for!
UPDATE: There is a really sensible and reflective piece by Martha Andreasen here.
There are a number of elections taking place tomorrow. They are being held in 27 traditional County Councils in England, 8 Unitary Authorities in England and 1 in Wales (Anglesey), 2 Mayoral elections (Doncaster and North Tyneside), and one Parliamentary by-election in South Shields.
There are over 2,300 seats up for election. In the same Council elections in 2009 (minus Anglesey) the Conservatives had a landslide winning 1,531 seats, Labour won just 178, the Lib Dems 484, UKIP 7 and the Greens 18. This time around only the Conservatives and Labour are standing in virtually every seat. The Conservatives are putting up 2,263 candidates, Labour 2,168, the Lib Dems 1,763 (down from last time), UKIP 1,745 (more than double last time), Greens 893, BNP 99, and English Democrats 38, with around 900 independents.
In 2009 the Conservatives won all bar one of the County Councils with a vote share of 38%, the Lib Dems were second with 28%, and Labour third on 23%. This was at the depths of the unpopularity of Gordon Brown’s Labour government and therefore the Conservatives swept the board. Losses are now simply inevitable in the mid-term of a coalition government implementing austerity. It is the likely scale of the losses which are the subject of much debate. The additional factor which makes it more unpredictable is the fact that UKIP has become the repository for the protest votes which used to prop up the Lib Dem support base.
In the Unitary Authority elections the Lib Dems would like to be taking majority control of Bristol Council but more likely face losses to Labour. Cornwall is another Unitary where the Lib Dems will be hoping to take back largest party status from the Conservatives even if the authority remains hung. In Northumberland the Lib Dems are all but certain to lose their position as the largest party in the Civic Offices. In the only election in Wales, the Unitary Authority of Anglesey is likely to remain dominated by Independents.
The respected local government analysts Professors Ralling and Thrasher have made an attempt to predict the likely gains and losses based on current polling compared with 2009. Their estimate suggests Conservative losses of around 310 seats, Labour gains of at least 350 seats, with Lib Dems losing around 130 and UKIP gaining just 40 seats.
Others have suggested that UKIPs intervention may help Labour to gain more seats and the Lib Dems to defend others, whilst UKIP fails to pick up more than a few tens. Some others believe that UKIP will exceed all expectations and gain up to 100 seats.
My personal view is that the Conservatives will lose around 400 seats net, Labour gain around 400 seats net, the Lib Dems lose around 100 seats net, and UKIP gain around 50 seats. The balance will be accounted for by Independents, Greens and others. Labour is expected to regain councils like Derbyshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire but their biggest test will be whether they can make any impact in the South of England, or whether they are confined to areas in the north and midlands which were gained by the Conservatives in 2009.
There are executive Mayoral elections in Doncaster and North Tyneside. In the latter, Conservative Mayor Linda Arkley faces a tough fight to hold on against a strong Labour challenge.
Tomorrow the South Shields Parliamentary by-election will also take place. This will be an interesting test of whether UKIP can make a dent in what is a Labour heartland, or whether their appeal is largely confined to areas which are usually Conservative voting. UKIP is playing UP its chances of “giving Labour a bloody nose”, so they will look pretty silly if they don’t manage a good share of the vote.
Conservative 32% (up 4%)
Labour 38% (no change)
Lib Dem 9% (down 3%)
UKIP 13% (down 1%)
There is a consistent pattern at present of reduced Labour leads across the board with every recent poll showing the lead in just single figures. For a mid-term government delivering austerity measures that is nothing short of amazing and a measure of how badly Labour is doing under Ed Miliband’s leadership.
In further findings:
Some 58% feel that the Government’s economic plan has failed while 31% disagree. However, 44% feel that the government should be allowed to finish the job of restoring Britain’s economic prospects with 46% disagreeing.
Methodology: ComRes interviewed 1,001 GB adults by telephone 26 - 28 April 2013. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults and by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full tables at www.comres.co.uk.
Much has been made of UKIP’s rise in the polls over the last year. Partly as a result the party is fielding a record number of candidates in the local elections next Thursday. However, it seems that in their rush to find as many candidates as possible basic checks have been neglected. As a result, candidates have been embarrassing the party in the last few weeks, some of whom have subsequently been disowned by UKIP.
Sue Bowen was selected and nominated to stand for UKIP in the Tintagel ward of Cornwall Council. However, it came to light that as well as having been a member of Cornish independence party Mebyon Kernow, she had also once been a paid up member of the British National Party. UKIP has now withdrawn its support for her candidacy but she will still be on the ballot paper as it is too late to withdraw.
Up in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, Caven Vines has been selected and nominated to stand in the Rawmarsh ward of Rotherham Council. Vines used to work closely with the BNP’s Rotherham organiser in a campaign group called Council Watch. He wrote a semi-literate blog when standing for re-election in 2009: “If are a Muslim in Britain you can almost do what you want with the good old Labour Governments blessing. Muslims go to war warring the same cloths as ordinary people who they hide behind they cover their faces, they hide behind women and children they set up rocket launches in school yards they use children to push wheel barrows into crowds and soldiers then detonate it killing innocent people SO WHO ARE THE COWARDS. Its about time the Government and the Police stopped pandering to these so called British Muslims and other foreign nationals”. To date UKIP is standing by Vines!
Another candidate in trouble is in Crowborough, East Susssex, who has been caught out making appallingly offensive remarks about the Holocaust. Anne-Marie Crampton reportedly wrote, “Holocaust means a sacrifice by fire. Only the Zionists could sacrifice their own in the gas chambers. The Second World Wide War was engineered by the Zionist Jews and financed by the banksters to make the general public all over the world feel so guilty and outraged by the Holocaust that a treaty would be signed to create the State of Israel as we know it today.” She has since claimed that her account was hacked but clearly even UKIP don’t believe her as they have suspended her.
Just today David Nixon, the candidate in Stone Rural ward in Stafforshire, has been found to be distributing a highly misleading and homophobic leaflet as part of his election campaign.
It should not be a surprise that UKIP has some oddball and unpleasant candidates. In May 2012 UKIP Stocksbridge Town Councillor and former PPC, Grant French, was exposed as having some nasty anti-semitic and homophobic views. UKIP MEP Tom Wise (elected in 2004) was jailed for two years for fiddling his expenses in the European Parliament; UKIP MEP Ashley Mote (elected in 2004) was jailed for fiddling benefits; and in 2012 UKIP MEPs Derek Clark and Graham Booth were forced to repay expenses they had wrongly claimed.
UKIP has also lost quite a few more of its elected MEPs for a variety of other reasons. In 2010 Nikki Sinclaire MEP won a sex discrimination case against the party when they expelled her for refusing to sit with a homophobic party in the European Parliament; in 2011 David Campbell-Bannerman MEP defected to the Conservatives; and earlier this year Martha Andreasen MEP also defected to the Conservatives citing Nigel Farage’s “Stalinist” leadership style.
Some of UKIP’s party officials have also been found to have close associations with extremist groups. The Chairman of UKIP in the London Borough of Hillingdon, Cliff Dixon, has been shown to have close links with the anti-Muslim English Defence League; and the UKIP Chairman in Oxford (and former Council candidate), Dr Julia Gasper, was removed from her post for comparing homosexuality to bestiality and paedophilia.
On the other side of the argument, earlier this year UKIP officials removed the party’s youth wing Chairman and one of its Parliamentary candidates because they supported Equal Marriage. Many younger members resigned in disgust at the reactionary stance of the party. It has done nothing for the image of the party and reinforced the impression that it is becoming an intolerant refuge for racists, homophobes and some who are just frankly weird.
Party leader Nigel Farage MEP has even admitted this week that other candidates with links to the BNP or criminal records could have slipped through the party’s cursory selection process. All parties have some unpleasant candidates but UKIP seems to have more than its fair share! When considering who to vote for next Thursday voters should reflect on UKIP’s recent history of dodgy candidates, expenses fiddlers and some outright racists.
UPDATE – Police have been called in to investigate alleged electoral fraud by UKIP candidates in Norfolk and the Isle of Wight. They are investigating allegations that signatures have been forged on candidate nomination papers. If this is proven then candidate and/or agent could be going to prison!
UPDATE – 27 Apr 13 – UKIP candidate for Kent County Council Geoffrey Clark has been suspended for publishing a leaflet which calls for “compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, Spina Bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, could render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family. “
There is a new Opinium poll in tomorrows Observer newspaper showing Labour down 3% to just 35%:
Conservative 29% (up 1%)
Labour 35% (down 3%)
Lib Dem 8% (no change)
UKIP 17% (no change)
All the reports suggest that UKIP is up 1% to 17% and yet the last Opinium poll I reported two weeks ago also had UKIP on 17%, so until I have resolved this, I have shown them as unchanged.
Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1,969 GB adults aged 18+ from 16 to 18 April 2013. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.