There is a new YouGov poll in today’s Sunday Times newspaper showing the Conservatives just 1% behind Labour:
Conservative 35% (no change)
Labour 36% (down 2%)
Lib Dem 8% (no change)
UKIP 13% (up 2%).
Labour is failing to regain the leads it enjoyed about a year ago when it was regularly 5-8% ahead of the Conservatives. UKIP’s rating is up in this poll but it has generally been sliding since the Euro election results.
The poll above is compared with the YouGov poll published on 24 July.
There is a new Populus online poll out today which shows Labour’s lead over the Conservatives cut to just 2%:
Conservative 35% (up 3%)
Labour 37% (no change)
Lib Dem 9% (no change)
UKIP 9% (down 4%)
The UKIP rating has been sliding since the Euro elections and this poll suggests that some of the UKIP vote is returning to the Conservatives!
Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,070 adults online between 23rd-24th July 2014. Interviews were conducted across Great Britain and the results have been weighted to be representative of all British adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
There is a new ICM poll in the Guardian tomorrow which the Conservatives taking a 1% lead over Labour following last month’s 1% Labour lead:
Conservative 34% (up 3%)
Labour 33% (up 1%)
Lib Dem 12% (up 2%)
UKIP 9% (down 7%)
This is a huge drop in UKIP support taking them down into single figures. However, the net effect of the changes this month is a small Conservative lead which will cheer David Cameron as he embarks on his reshuffle.
The over-65s are much more likely to support the Conservatives than other age groups, with 52% backing the party compared with less than 30% across most of the rest of the age groups. There is also a strong regional variation in Conservative support with 21% in Scotland (up on previous elections), 18% in Wales and 21% in the north of England. In the crucial marginal-rich area of the Midlands the Conservatives are on a healthy 46%.
ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 11-13 July 2014. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.
Hundreds of workers who have helped to build the HMS Queen Elizabeth, along with the ship’s company, joined the Prime Minister, Defence Secretary, military Chiefs and dignitaries to witness Her Majesty christen her namesake with a bottle of whisky. The ceremony, held at Rosyth dockyard near Edinburgh, marks the completion of the flagship which at 72,000 tonnes is the largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy:
- With a height of 56 meters she is taller than Niagara falls;
- At 280 meters long she has a flight deck the size of 60 tennis courts;
- Four jumbo jets could fit alongside each other on the 70 meter wide deck;
- Her range is 10,000 nautical miles and she carries enough fuel to transport a family car to the moon and back twelve times;
- She is fitted with a long range 3D radar that is capable of tracking more than 1,000 targets at once or can spot a tennis ball travelling at 2,000 miles per hour.
Operating with Lightning II fifth generation stealth Joint Strike Fighter jets, the QE Class will be versatile enough to be used in a full range of military tasks from warfighting to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Today’s naming ceremony comes just a week before Lightning II is due to take to the skies in the UK for the first time, marking another step towards the return of carrier strike operations.
The construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth has sustained around 8,000 jobs at more than 100 companies across the UK. Blocks of the ship were manufactured at six yards in Devon, Rosyth, Portsmouth and on the Clyde and Tyne before being assembled in Rosyth.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first warship to be christened by Her Majesty in 15 years. To honour the ship’s birthplace in Scotland, a bottle of Islay whisky from the first distillery the Queen visited was smashed against the bow.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said, “HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest ship that the Royal Navy has ever had and is a true demonstration of the UK at its best, with over 10,000 people across the country working together to deliver her. This occasion marks a major milestone in regenerating the UK’s aircraft carrier capability, enhancing our ability to project power anywhere in the world.”
Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord, said, “The naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth heralds a new dawn, not only for the Royal Navy but for the delivery of our Nation’s security. Her journey ahead will be global, strategic and one of inter-Service and international partnership. Powerful, versatile and credible, this ship will be at the heart of the UK’s defence capability for the next 50 years, but she already stands testament to the best of British shipbuilding, engineering and technology. We are especially proud to welcome Her Majesty The Queen to Rosyth, and are honoured that she has graciously accepted the role of sponsor for our Nation’s future flagship.”
Following today’s naming ceremony the dock will be flooded to enable HMS Queen Elizabeth to float for the first time. Work to prepare the ship for her sea trials in 2017 and flight trials with Lightning II aircraft in 2018 will continue.
Work is already underway on the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship HMS Prince of Wales which will start to be assembled in Rosyth dockyard later this year. The Defence review next year will decide whether Prince of Wales is to enter service or be mothballed or even sold. In my view the Government would be simply mad not to bring both carriers into service and provide the necessary funding to the Defence budget to make this affordable.
Now that the economy is growing robustly it is time to begin to increase the Defence budget back up to a level closer to 2.5% of GDP with an aim of 3% of GDP. That would allow the Navy a few more escorts which will be necessary to escort the carriers and fulfil all the other RN commitments around the world.
There is a new ICM poll in the Guardian tomorrow which has Labour recovering to be just 1% ahead of the Conservatives following last month’s plunge in Labour support:
Conservative 31% (down 2%)
Labour 32% (up 1%)
Lib Dem 10% (down 3%)
UKIP 16% (up 1%)
So Labour has recovered to a slim lead after a 2% Conservative lead last month but the Lib Dems have slipped to their worst rating with ICM since they switched to telephone polling in the 1990s.
ICM also asked leader approval ratings, finding drops for all three leaders. David Cameron’s net rating fell back to be just into negative territory at -5, after +2 last month. However, Cameron is well ahead of Nick Clegg whose rating plunges from -21 to -37, and Ed Miliband also plunges new depths of unpopularity down from -25 to -39. George Osborne’s approval rating is now +6, ahead of all the others.
ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 13-16 June 2014. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.
1. Governments usually get a kicking (Conservative-led Governments especially)
2. An effective party of opposition usually makes significant gains and often takes seats off the Government of the day
At this stage in the Parliament and in a seat which Labour held from 1997 to 2001 (albeit on slightly different boundaries), it was reasonable to expect that Labour would be looking to take Newark from the Conservatives if they wanted to be in with a chance of winning next year’s General Election. After all the last time a Conservative Government won a by-election in one of its own seats was as far back as 1989! Labour ran a lack-lustre campaign almost as though they hoped that UKIP would beat the Conservatives to set up trouble in Cameron’s party.
The Conservatives surprised commentators by running a high energy and very effective campaign. Large numbers of young and enthusiastic Conservative supporters were bussed in from around the country and MPs and candidates were strong-armed to support the campaign. This is something which I had been advocating ten years ago to senior party officials to no avail. Party Chairman Grant Shapps put hundreds of experienced and motivated activists onto the streets of the constituency and this was reflected in surveys which showed that more people had received a leaflet, a telephone call or a knock on their door from the Conservatives than any other party.
Much has been made of UKIP’s gains in recent local Council elections but in reality they have been small and not led to control of a single higher tier local authority. What UKIP really needs is to gain a Westminster seat. They came close in Eastleigh against the depleted Lib Dems and there was some talk that they could take Newark. The climate was right for them, the by-election followed hot on the heels of UKIP’s Euro-election success and it was caused by a Conservative MP resigning under a cloud. At the beginning of the campaign UKIP were ramping their chances with talk of a “volcano” following on from the claimed “earthquake” of the Euro-elections. When the veteran MEP Roger Helmer was chosen as the UKIP candidate expectations dimmed slightly but we still had claims of the by-election being “neck and neck”. I was watching the live coverage in the early hours of this morning when Nigel Farage conceded the seat but stated that UKIP were “2-3,000” votes behind the Conservatives, that UKIP had gained “over 30% of the vote”, and that this was “UKIP’s best result ever”.
So what were the results? Here they are:
Jenrick (Conservative) – 17,431 (44.9%)
Helmer (UKIP) – 10,028 (25.8%)
Payne (Labour) – 6,842 (17.6%)
Baggaley (Ind) 1,891 (4.89%)
Kirwan (Green) 1,057 (2.73%)
Watts (Lib Dem) – 1,004 (2.6%)
Nick The Flying Brick (Loony) – 168 (0.4%)
Hayes (Ind) – 117 (0.3%)
Bishop (BP Elvis) – 87 (0.2%)
Rodgers (Stop Banks) – 64 (0.2%)
Woods (Pat Soc) – 18 (0.05%)
Conservative majority – 7,403 (19.1%)
Turnout – 52.8%
UKIP’s hype was massively over-blown and Farage was left looking ridiculous when the Conservative majority over UKIP turned out to be almost three times his claim and close to 20%! UKIP also failed to get the 30%+ share Farage had so confidently claimed. UKIP’s vote share was also LESS than it gained in Eastleigh making it a hat-trick of false claims! Today Farage has vanished and even cancelled a planned photo-call in the town square.
And what about the Lib Dems? They used to be past-masters of Parliamentary by-elections, winning seats from Labour and Conservative with huge swings all across the UK. 20 years ago they would have relished a contest in a seat like Newark. However, since entering coalition with the Conservatives the Lib Dems are a shadow of their former selves. They have lost two-thirds of their 2010 support and seemingly their “mojo” with it. In 2010 they managed just over 10,000 votes in Newark. This time they plunged to sixth place, losing their deposit with 2.6% behind the Green Party and an Independent. They did however manage to beat “Nick the Flying Brick” the Loony Party candidate! I won’t gloat too much because it seems quite likely that some Lib Dem supporters voted tactically for the Conservatives in order to keep UKIP out.
A few by-elections are defining moments in British politics. This one may be just such a by-election. With the development of anti-UKIP tactical voting and the apparent willingness of some Lib Dem voters to back the Conservatives, the prospects for 2015 suddenly look much brighter for David Cameron.
It may be the moment that UKIP was shown to have passed its peak and the Conservatives charted the course to victory in the 2015 General Election.
On 22 May the people of Reading went to the ballot boxes to vote for their local and European representatives. The election results for Reading Borough Council were:
Abbey Ward (Labour Hold)
BLACK, Richard (Green) – 315 (12.9%)
JAMES, Stephen (UKIP) – 236 (9.7%)
MOORE, James (Lib Dem) – 218 (8.9%)
TAYLOR, Laurence (Conservative) – 475 (19.5%)
TICKNER, Bet (Labour) – 1195 (49%) – ELECTED
Battle Ward (Labour Hold)
GOODALL, Glenn (Lib Dem) – 167 (7.6%)
HACKER, Sarah (Labour) – 1255 (57%) – ELECTED
ISHTIAQ, Imran (Conservative) – 442 (20.1%)
LOCKEY, Alan (Green) – 293 (13.3%)
PASCUAL, Jean-Marie (Roman Party-Ave!) – 43 (2%)
Caversham Ward (Labour Gain from Conservative)
BURDEN, Chris (Lib Dem) – 212 (7.3%)
CHRISP, Rachael (Labour) – 1081 (37%) – ELECTED
DIAMOND, Michael (UKIP) – 348 (11.9%)
HICKS, Jenny (Green) – 362 (12.4%)
POLAND, Geoff (Conservative) – 894 (30.6%)
VOUSDEN, Silvia (TUSC) – 23 (0.8%)
Church Ward (Labour Gain from Conservative)
CARNELL, Paul (Conservative) – 577 (26%)
JOHNSON, Vivienne (Green) – 238 (10.7%)
MACNEILL, Margaret (Lib Dem) – 108 (4.9%)
PEARCE, Ashley (Labour) – 919 (41.4%) – ELECTED
ZEBEDEE, Ann (UKIP) – 380 (17.1%)
Katesgrove Ward (Labour Gain from Lib Dem)
DEARING, John (UKIP) – 248 (12.1%)
JAMES, Sophie (Labour) – 992 (48.6%) – ELECTED
KEANE, Louise (Green) – 278 (13.6%)
KINSLEY, Peter (Lib Dem) – 191 (9.4%)
WARMAN, Emma (Conservative) – 334 (16.4%)
Kentwood Ward (Labour Gain from Conservative)
DENNIS, Glenn (Labour) – 989 (35.3%) – ELECTED
SHAFFREY, Ruth (Green) – 178 (6.4%)
STEELE, Tom (Conservative) – 897 (32%)
THOMAS, Howard (UKIP) – 601 (21.5%)
WALLS, Jon (Lib Dem) – 135 (4.8%)
Minster Ward (Labour Hold)
BLACK, Katie (Conservative) – 664 (27%)
DILLON, Patrick (UKIP) – 351 (14.3%)
FANTI, Jon (Lib Dem) – 128 (5.2%)
LIVINGSTON, Marion (Labour) – 1090 (44.3%) – ELECTED
MURPHY, Hazel (Green) – 226 (9.2%)
Norcot Ward (Labour Hold)
ABSOLOM, Debs (Labour) – 1369 (57%) – ELECTED
HUGHES, Georgina (Lib Dem) – 169 (7%)
PATTERSON, David (Green) – 289 (12%)
VOSE, Clare (Conservative) – 573 (23.9%)
Park Ward (Green Hold)
ARMSTRONG, Anne (UKIP) – 119 (3.8%)
BASHARAT, Mohammad (Conservative) – 320 (10.2%)
KAUR, Anrish (Labour) – 936 (29.9%)
RYE, Rebecca (Lib Dem) – 84 (2.7%)
WHITE, Rob (Green) – 1669 (53.4%) – ELECTED
Park Ward By-Election (Green Hold)
AKHTAR, Shanaz (Conservative) – 391 (12.7%)
JAKEMAN, Francis (Lib Dem) – 93 (3%)
LAWRENCE, Matthew (Labour) – 1015 (33.1%)
WILLIAMS, Josh (Green) – 1569 (51.1%) – ELECTED
Peppard Ward (Conservative Gain from Independent)
DAY, Kate (Green) – 186 (5.8%)
KNIGHT, John (UKIP) – 460 (14.3%)
PLATTS, Natalie (Labour) – 509 (15.8%)
RALPH, Mark (Independent) – 886 (27.5%)
ROBINSON, Simon (Conservative) – 1027 (31.9%) – ELECTED
WOODS, Jenny (Lib Dem) – 152 (4.7%)
Redlands Ward (Labour Gain from Lib Dem)
ABSOLOM, David (Labour) – 1047 (45%) – ELECTED
ALLAN, Robert (UKIP) – 173 (7.4%)
BAYES, Kirsten (Lib Dem) – 341 (14.7%)
HOPPER, Helen (Conservative) – 430 (18.5%)
MURTAGH, Kizzi (Green) – 337 (8%)
Southcote Ward (Labour Hold)
ADAMS, Maddy (Lib Dem) – 110 (4.9%)
CRESSWELL, Doug (Green) – 213 (9.5%)
ENNIS, John (Labour) – 1286 (57.5%) – ELECTED
WIGGINS, Ellis (Conservative) – 626 (28%)
Thames Ward (Conservative Hold)
DICKSON, John (Independent) – 332 (10.2%)
MCNAMARA, Sarah (Green) – 385 (11.8%)
PENMAN, Guy (Lib Dem) – 293 (9%)
STAINTHORP, Richard (Labour) – 766 (23.5%)
STEVENS, David (Conservative) – 1486 (45.6%) – ELECTED
Tilehurst Ward (Lib Dem Hold)
BANARAS, Haji (Labour) – 429 (15.8%)
DUVEEN, Ricky (Lib Dem) – 1013 (37.2%) – ELECTED
KENNET, Miriam (Green) – 107 (3.9%)
MACPHEE, William (UKIP) – 530 (19.5%)
VICKERS, Robert (Conservative) – 643 (23.6%)
Whitley Ward (Labour Hold)
BLATTLER, Janel (Lib Dem) – 93 (4.3%)
BROWN, Nick (Conservative) – 488 (22.4%)
EDEN, Rachel (Labour) – 1162 (53.3%) – ELECTED
JOHNSON, Keith (Green) – 167 (7.7%)
WAKE, Jamie (Independent) – 269 (12.4%)
The Council is now comprised of 31 Labour Councillors, 10 Conservatives, 3 Greens and 2 Lib Dems.
Tomorrow many local people in Reading East will have the chance to vote for who represents their interests at both a local and a European level. These are important elections and I encourage everyone to vote.
Locally, your Conservative team in Reading is focused on the issues that matter to people most, working diligently to improve the lives of hardworking local people whilst continually taking the fight to the Labour-run Reading Borough Council (RBC).
Whether it is voting against Labour’s Council Tax increase of 1.9%, striving to deliver first class educational institutions, protecting our green spaces or campaigning to protect vital community services such as the Arthur Clark Home and Albert Road Day Centre from closure –your Conservative team has continually shown that it listens to and acts upon the views of local residents.
Just as with Council Tax increases, we Conservatives will fight adding these extra costs on local people and I encourage people to get out tomorrow and pledge their support to their local Conservative candidate.
At a European level, our Conservative representatives are once again demonstrating their determination to listen to the views of the British people and to deliver the real change that the people desire. Conservative MEPs are continually fighting Britain’s corner in Europe, standing up for our interests and working to bring back power from Brussels.
We are the only party that will guarantee you an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU: Labour and the Lib Dems refuse to give you a referendum and UKIP cannot deliver one. The Conservatives plan to negotiate a better deal for Britain and then, regardless of the results, give you an in/out referendum by the end of 2017.
Remember, a vote for the Conservatives in Europe is a vote for change.
There is a new Populus online poll out today which shows the Conservatives taking a 1% lead over Labour:
Conservative 35% (up 3%)
Labour 34% (down 2%)
Lib Dem 8% (down 2%)
UKIP 14% (up 1%)
This is the first time that Populus have had the Conservatives ahead this year and the first online poll to have them ahead since March 2012!
Interestingly the second Ashcroft poll out this afternoon has figures of Lab 35%, Cons 29%, UKIP 14%, LD 9%, a complete reversal of last week’s 2% Conservative lead. With YouGov continuing to show small Labour lead’s it suggests that the real picture is roughly neck and neck with variations due to normal sampling and margins of error.
Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,026 adults online between 16h-18th May 2014. Interviews were conducted across Great Britain and the results have been weighted to be representative of all British adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
I am grateful to the reader who has sent me the link to the story about the ructions in the Labour Party on Middlesbrough Council. Five sitting Labour Councillors have resigned from the party to form a new Independent grouping. The Council is still majority Labour controlled but it seems to have numerous Independent groups of a variety of names. The five will form the “Association of Independent Middlesbrough Councillors” (AIM Group). They will sit alongside 3 Councillors of the “Middlesebrough Independent Councillors Association”, 8 Councillors who are “Independent”, 2 from the Marton Independent Group, and there is also Ray Mallon the Independent directly elected Mayor of Middlesbrough.
The five defectors are Councillors Len Junier (who represents North Ormesby and Brambles Farm ward), Pervaz Khan (Middlehaven), Sajaad Khan (Gresham), Derek Loughborough (North Ormesby and Brambles Farm) and John McPartland (Middlehaven).
– Cllr Junier said in his resignation letter: “I can no longer sit back and watch our fractured group implode through lack of direction, lack of leadership and more importantly lack of Labour values”;
– Cllr Pervaz Khan said he felt “ashamed” for belonging to Middlesbrough Labour Group which “is treating some of my Asian family and friends in a manner which they perceive to be racist and, incidentally, so do I”;
– Cllr Sajaad Khan also criticised the current Labour leadership saying it was “different under Sir Stuart Bell, who would not have stood for all this”;
– Cllr McPartland said he was “not prepared to tolerate any longer” a Middlesbrough Labour Group leadership which he considers to be “morally bankrupt”;
– Cllr Loughborough said though he won his appeal he was unhappy with questions raised at his appeal panel about his involvement with union issues.
This is somewhat similar to the situation in the Harrow Labour Party which saw NINE of their Councillors resign the Labour Whip and ultimately led to Labour’s loss of control of the Council.
There is a new YouGov poll in tomorrow’s Sun newspaper showing the Conservatives and Labour level pegging:
Conservative 34% (no change)
Labour 34% (down 1%)
Lib Dem 8% (no change)
UKIP 15% (up 2%).
Labour has now been behind or level pegging in THREE polls from different companies in the last 48 hours. I hear that a sense of panic is now gripping the Parliamentary Labour Party as the realisation begins to dawn that the 2015 General Election is no longer the near certainty that many of them had thought it was! It will be fascinating to see what impact the current polling position has on the local elections here in Reading.
The poll above is compared with the YouGov poll I reported on 8 May.
There is a new ICM poll in the Guardian tomorrow which has the Conservatives 2% ahead of Labour following a plunge in Labour support:
Conservative 33% (up 1%)
Labour 31% (down 6%)
Lib Dem 13% (up 1%)
UKIP 15% (up 4%)
It seems that there has been a significant shift from Labour to UKIP in this poll. ICM is not a pollster who usually shows big month on month changes (unlike say MORI).
ICM also has a European Election poll which has Conservatives in the lead and Labour in third place. It has Conservatives on 27% (+2%), UKIP 26% (+6%), Labour 24% (-12%), LD 7% (+1%), Green 10% (+4%).
These findings will be a huge boost to the Conservatives and UKIP just 9 days before the local and Euro elections. It is likely to cause a tremor throughout the Labour party and could lead to internal discontent becoming more vocal.
ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 9-11 May 2014. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.
Conservative 34% (up 1%)
Labour 35% (down 1%)
Lib Dem 8% (down 2%)
UKIP 13% (down 1%).
Labour leads now seem to have fallen to the 1-3% range with Labour firmly in the mid-30’s. As Mike Smithson from Political Betting has noted “Labour’s current poll position is the worst for the party since early 2012”. Whatever the results in the Euro elections, Labour is not well placed to win the 2015 General Election!
The poll above is compared with the YouGov poll I reported on 1 May.
Reading Conservatives have launched their manifesto for the Reading Borough local elections which will be held on Thursday 22 May.
The Manifesto includes pledges to freeze or cut Council Tax, switch to four-yearly elections, work for a third Thames bridge, plant more trees, increase recycling levels, protect our heritage and our parks, expand good local schools, provide better services to our elderly residents, and protect grants to our voluntary and community sector.
Conservative Leader Cllr Jeanette Skeats said, “In the tough economic times Reading Conservatives cut out waste in order to be able to help residents by freezing the Council Tax. Now that the economy is improving we must ensure that we continue to get best value for money so that any savings are passed on in frozen or reduced Council Tax. The Conservative-led government has invested massive sums into Reading’s transport infrastructure and more school places, and we would have taken the Council Tax Freeze Grant which was on offer. Labour has chosen to reject this cash and instead take more money from the pockets of local people which continuing to subsidise their Trade Union friends.”
She continued, “Reading receives the second highest government grant in Berkshire, second only to Slough, and per resident it is more than three times that received by neighbouring Wokingham. However, under Labour too much is still wasted. We will fight for every penny of investment into Reading and to deliver high quality Council services for those who need them.”
The Manifesto also details the 16 Conservative candidates across Reading, which include 1 sitting Councillor seeking re-election, 2 former Reading Councillors, 3 Asian candidates (more than any other party), 5 women, and 8 who have stood before.
Download it here.
There is a new Populus online poll out today which shows Labour’s lead over the Conservatives at just 1%:
Conservative 34% (up 2%)
Labour 35% (no change)
Lib Dem 9% (down 1%)
UKIP 13% (no change)
The Labour party has now sunk to a consistent rating of the mid-30’s, its worst polling level since Ed Miliband became Labour leader. It is also notable how Labour’s lead has not been above 6% for some weeks now. The game is really now on for next year’s General Election!
Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,060 adults online between 30th-1st May 2014. Interviews were conducted across Great Britain and the results have been weighted to be representative of all British adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.