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New ComRes Poll – Tories Take the Lead

There is a new ComRes telephone poll published in tomorow’s Independent which shows the Conservatives taking a lead over Labour for the first time in a ComRes poll since October 2010:

           Conservative            37% (no change)

                                        Labour                      36% (down 2%)

                                        Lib Dem                    12% (up 1%)

Only 24% find Ed Miliband to be a credible future Prime Minister with 57% of the opposite view. Only 27% think that Ed Balls is more credible as Chancellor than George Osborne; with 43% disagreeing.

ComRes telephoned 1000 GB adults between September 23-25, 2011.  Data were weighted by past vote recall.

September 26, 2011 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New ICM Poll – Labour and Tories Neck and Neck

There is a new ICM poll in today’s Guardian showing the Conservatives and Labour neck and neck:

       Conservative              37% (no change)

       Labour                        38% (up 2%)

                                                  Lib Dem                      14% (down 1%)

After two months with the Conservatives ahead in the ICM polls, we now have one with Labour slightly ahead. ICM are the “gold standard” of opinion polls and along with YouGov are my preferred pollster.

ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,003 adults aged 18 and above by telephone on 20-21 September 2011.

September 24, 2011 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New ComRes Poll – Labour Loses Lead

There is a new ComRes online poll published in tomorow’s Independent on Sunday/Sunday Mirror which shows the Conservatives catching Labour at the start of the Conference season:

              Conservative             38% (no change)

                                        Labour                      38% (down 2%)

                                        Lib Dem                    11% (no change)

Changes shown are compared to the last ComRes telephone poll published on 21 August.

In other findings:

David Cameron is turning out to be a good prime minister
                               Dec      Jan       Apr      May      June     July      August  September
Agree:                    38%      38%      37%       39%       37%      33%       34%         33%
Disagree:                 41%      43%      46%       43%        44%      45%      48%         46%
Don’t know:             21%      19%      17%       18%        19%       22%      18%        21%
Net                           -3         -5           -9           -4           -7          -12        -14         -13

Older people are more likely than younger people to think that David Cameron is turning out to be a good prime minister – 42% of people aged 65 and over agree compared to 22% of people between the age of 18-24.
Ed Miliband is turning out to be a good leader of the Labour Party:
                                 Dec      Jan       Apr      May      June     July      August  September
Agree:                       17%      22%      24%      22%      18%      27%       24%       20%
Disagree:                    32%      35%      38%     39%      45%       41%       44%       44%
Don’t know:               50%      43%      37%     39%      37%       32%       32%       36%
Net                             -15        -13       -14        -17        -27       -14        -20         -24 
Half of men (51%) disagree that Ed Miliband is turning out to be a good leader compared to 38% of women.
Nick Clegg is turning out to be a good leader of the Liberal Democrats:
                               Dec      Jan       Apr      May      June     July      August   September
Agree:                     26%      28%      24%      21%      20%       22%        22%        20%
Disagree:                 49%      49%      55%      56%      57%        53%         55%        53%
Don’t know:             25%      23%      21%       24%      23%       25%        23%        27%
Net                          -23        -21        -31        -35        -37         -31          -33           -33

One in five (21%) Liberal Democrat supporters think that Nick Clegg is not turning out to be a good leader.

I don’t really know what David Cameron stands for:
Agree               42%
Disagree           45%
Don’t know       12%
I don’t really know what Ed Miliband stands for: 
Agree               57%
Disagree           28%
Don’t know       14% 
A third of Labour voters (33%) agree that they don’t know what Ed Miliband stands for.
I don’t really know what Nick Clegg stands for: 
Agree              61%
Disagree          26 %
Don’t know      13% 
A third of Liberal Democrat voters (34%) agree that they don’t know what Nick Clegg stands for.
The Liberal Democrats have done a good job of moderating Conservative policies in the Coalition:
Agree               23%
Disagree           47%
Don’t know       31% 
66% of Lib Dem voters agree, compared to 33% of Conservatives and 11% of Labour
The Coalition Government’s policies share the burden of hard times fairly so that we are ‘all in it together’:
Agree               27%
Disagree           52%
Don’t know       21% 
There is a trend by age – just 17% of 18-24 year olds agree, compared to 42% of people aged 65 or over.
Being in coalition with the Conservatives has shown the Liberal Democrats to be a credible party of government:
Agree               24%
Disagree           52%
Don’t know       24% 
Just a third (35%) of people who voted Liberal Democrat in 2010 agree that being in the Coalition has shown the Liberal Democrats to be a credible party of Government.
I expect the Liberal Democrats to do much worse at the next General Election than they did at the last one:
Agree               68%
Disagree           11%
Don’t know       21%
·         53% of Liberal Democrat supporters agree
·         Men (74%) are more likely to agree with this than women (62%).
·         There is also a social trend – 74% of people from social group AB agree, compared to 63% of group DE
I would have voted differently at the election if I had known that the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives would enter into a coalition:
Agree               22%
Disagree           56%
Don’t know       22% 
46% of people who voted Lib Dem at the last election agree
The Coalition Government is right to try to reduce the number of MPs in Westminster from 650 to 600:
Agree              56%
Disagree           13%
Don’t know       31% 
77% of Conservative voters agree, compared to 67% of Liberal Democrats and 41% of Labour.

ComRes surveyed 2,000 GB adults online on 14-16 September 2011.Data were weighted to be demographically representative and by past vote recall.

September 17, 2011 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New Ipsos MORI Poll – Tories Close the Gap to 2%

There is a new Ipsos MORI/Reuters poll reported today showing Labour’s lead slashed to just 2%:

Conservative              35% (up 1%)

                                                        Labour                       37% (down 3%)

                                                        Lib Dem                      13% (down 2%)

In other findings:

Thirty-three percent of those polled thought the Conservatives had the best policies for the economy, against 23 percent who backed Labour and eight percent for the Lib Dems.

47 percent said they were dissatisfied with the way Labour leader Ed Miliband is doing his job, while only 31 percent were satisfied.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,008 adults aged 18+ between 10 and 12 September.

September 15, 2011 Posted by | Polls | 3 Comments

Both Reading Constituencies Unchanged in Boundary Review

The Electoral Commission has been undertaking a review of the boundaries of Parliamentary constituencies to take effect at the next General Election. The review is taking into account the Government’s policy of reducing the number of MPs in the House of Commons from the present 650 to 600 and in so doing reducing the cost of Government. The review will also ensure fairer representation by reducing the differences in the size of electorates which currently heavily favours the Labour party who tend to have more small constituencies in cities, and also Scotland and Wales. The proposed cut in constituency number will impact heavily impact on Wales which is set to lose a quarter of its seats, falling from 40 to 30 following the establishment of the Welsh Assembly. All new constituencies should have around 76,500 electors +/-5%.

Previous rules which prevented constituencies crossing County boundaries have been scrapped meaning that some radically new constituencies may be created. The Commission’s initial report has now entered the public domain with its detailed recommendations for England. I was not expecting much change in Reading due to both constituencies being close to the target size but it was always possible that changes elsewhere could have an unexpected knock on effect.

The Electoral Commission proposes the following for Berkshire:

“30. There are currently eight constituencies in this county. We are proposing no change to the number of constituencies. Of the existing constituencies, six have electorates within 5% of the electoral quota. Of the remaining two constituencies, Slough is above the 5% limit and Windsor is below it.

31. We propose to keep unaltered all six constituencies that are within the 5% electoral quota (Bracknell, Maidenhead, Newbury, Reading East, Reading West, and Wokingham).

32. In order to reduce the large electorate of the Slough constituency and to increase the electorate of the neighbouring Windsor constituency, we propose to transfer the Foxborough ward of the Borough of Slough to our proposed Windsor constituency. We note that the neighbouring ward of the Borough of Slough, Colnbrook with Poyle, is already in the existing Windsor constituency. Apart from this one alteration, we propose no further changes.”

Nationally only 77 constituencies remain unchanged and six of them are in Berkshire! There is still a long way to go before the proposals become law and they will probably face some stiff resistance from the Labour party along the way but for the Berkshire MPs this can only be good news.

September 13, 2011 Posted by | Local | 2 Comments

9/11 – We Will Remember Them

Today marks the 10th anniversary of a day, which for many, will never be forgotten. Today 10 years ago two aircraft slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and another into the Pentagon. Only the bravery of passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 prevented another aircraft being used to murder hundreds or thousands on the ground.

I remember the events as if it was yesterday. I was at work (as an insurance broker) when I heard that an aircraft had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Centre. We quickly turned on a TV with very poor reception and saw the second aircraft hit. I remember the sense of shock and disbelief, and the fear for those I know. One of the most chilling sights was of people who realised that there was no hope of rescue and decided to jump to their deaths rather than face incineration. I cannot begin to imagine what they must have felt as they came to that decision.

My parents were in the air that day in an Air France aircraft and my immediate thought was for them. But I also have friends in the USA and some of them were directly affected. One friend from Oklahoma told me how her father was in New York and spent some time immediately after the attacks, helping the rescue teams with the offer of shoulder and back massages. For stressed firemen and other rescue workers such a free service was much appreciated to relieve tired muscles.

I have only been to New York city once. I was privileged to spend Millenium New Year there, seeing in the 21st Century in Central Park with champagne, and a Union Jack on my back. When, one day, I go back I will have to visit the site of the twin towers and see the memorial garden. I have also been privileged to visit the Pentagon. In 1998 I was on exchange with the US Air National Guard and was given a tour with a US Marine Corps Corporal impressively walking backwards throughout the tour as he described each section whilst watching us to ensure no-one slipped away from the group. I understand that there is now a memorial at the Pentagon as well.

In all on that dreadful day there were 2,977 victims; 2,606 people in the towers and on the ground; 246 on the four aircraft; 125 at the Pentagon. 55 victims were military but all the rest were civilians. 411 emergency workers died as they tried to rescue people or put out the fires; of these 341 were firefighters; 60 were police officers from the NYPD and Port Authority; 10 were medical personnel or paramedics. 175 former colleagues from Aon Corporation died. In all people from 70 nations were killed in the attacks including a number of Britons.

On this 10th anniversary day my thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those who died, and with the survivors for whom the orgy of documentaries and news items will bring back painful memories. Sadly there are still twisted people out there plotting a new wave of terrorist attacks. We owe thanks to the security services who have prevented many subsequent attacks around the world and we owe it to the victims of 11 September 2001 to do everything possible to ensure that such evil is never repeated.

We WILL remember them!

September 11, 2011 Posted by | International | 1 Comment

Canada Reinstates the Queen in all Embassies

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper continues to delight supporters of the Monarchy in Canada and around the world. Following anouncement that the Canadian Air Force and Navy are to regain their “Royal” pre-fixes comes the news that all Embassies have been instructed to ensure that a portrait of Queen Elizabeth is displayed prominently in their premises by the end of next week.

Under previous Liberal administrations there had been a slow but incremental process of removing titles and images that emphasised Canada’s links with the United Kingdom but Harper seems determined to reverse the process. This has delighted many in Canada but irritated some on the left and in French speaking Quebec.

Canada is probably the closest member of the Commonwealth to the UK, with its House of Commons, bearskinned Guardsmen, and Tory and Liberal Parties. Until 1949 Newfoundland (now a Canadian province) was still a British colony. As Australia moves seemingly inexorably towards becoming a republic, it is heartening to see Canada cherishing its historic links with the Queen.

September 10, 2011 Posted by | International | 4 Comments

A Fifth Former Labour MP is Charged With Expenses Fraud

Following a succession of former Labour MP’s (Jim Devine, David Chaytor, Eric Illsley and Elliot Morley) and two Conservative Peers, who have been charged and convicted of fiddling their Parliamentary expenses, today we have learned that a FIFTH former Labour MP is to be charged. Margaret Moran, former MP for Luton South, is to be charged with 21 offences – 15 of false accounting and 6 of forging invoices.

The total amount involved is “more than £60,000” used to refurbish her main home, in breach of Parliamentary expenses rules. This makes her case possibly the most serious case to be brought before the courts. It has been delayed due to Moran’s claims of ill health but it seems that prosecutors have lost patience and decided to press charges.

Moran will appear before City of Westminster Magistrates on 19 September.


September 6, 2011 Posted by | National | Leave a comment

New ComRes Poll – Also Shows Labour’s Lead Cut to 1%

There is a new ComRes poll published in tomorow’s Independent which shows the Conservatives closing the gap with Labour to just 1%:

              Conservative             37% (up 3%)

                                        Labour                      38% (down 2%)

                                        Lib Dem                    11% (down 2%)

This poll is very much in line with other recent polls showing Labour’s and the Conservatives neck and neck. As we enter the Conference season Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are still failing to make an impact or gain credibility.

A majority of people (57 per cent) agree that abolishing the 50p rate would show we are not “all in it together” as the Chancellor has claimed when defending the Government’s spending cuts.  This view is shared by 67 per cent of Liberal Democrat supporters, 64 per cent of Labour supporters and 54 per cent of Conservative supporters.  Overall, only 31 per cent disagree. However, the poll also found that 56 per cent of people believe that scrapping the 50p rate, which applies to earnings over £150,000 a year, would encourage entrepreneurs to stay in Britain, while 34 per cent disagree.

There is strong support across the spectrum for Liberal Democrat calls for new taxes to be imposed on wealth such as property, rather than income, to ensure the very rich pay their fair share. Some 71 per cent agree with this proposal, while 24 per cent disagree. Some 63 per cent believe that tax cuts for businesses should be given more priority than for individuals in order to stimulate growth, while 27 per cent disagree.

Changes shown are compared to the previous telephone poll. ComRes telephoned a random sample of 1,000 GB adults on September 2-4  2011.  Data were weighted demographically and by past vote recall.

September 5, 2011 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

Conservatives Demonstrate Support for Reading’s LGBT community

Reading Conservatives were delighted to take part in the well attended Reading Pride festival in Kings Meadow on Saturday.  Hundreds of local people signed a petition at the Conservative stall calling on the Council to support local group “SupportU” in their goal to create a Reading LGBT drop-in centre.

The team of Conservative activists from Reading East and West marching in the parade through the town centre included Councillor Tim Harris, Councillor Dave Luckett and Councillor Emma Webster.  Reading Conservatives are proud to have been supporting Pride for many years and to have been the first political party to join the Reading Pride march.

Cllr Tim Harris said ‘The march just gets better every year!  Reading Pride is now a cornerstone of the Reading calendar.  We have always been firm supporters of this awesome event.  We wanted to use our presence at Pride to support a local cause which would make a real difference for Reading residents.  It’s fantastic that the festival visitors were so enthusiastic about the need for a support centre and that the Council should offer genuine assistance to establish and maintain an LGBT centre inReadingopen at accessible times.’

Previously at Pride, a Reading Conservatives’ petition collected signatures urging the Council to try harder to tackle homophobic bullying within Reading schools.  As a direct result of this petition Cllr Tim Harris presented a motion to implement the ‘Stonewall Education Champions programme’.  This was passed and has been implemented.

September 5, 2011 Posted by | Local | Leave a comment

New YouGov Poll – Labour and Tories Neck and Neck

There is a new YouGov poll published in today’s Sunday Times newspaper showing Labour’s just 1% ahead of the Conservatives :

                Conservative 38% (down 1%)
                Labour 39% (down 1%)
                                                 Lib Dem 10% (no change)
 Labour’s lead has been falling over the last week or so and this is the second YouGov poll show a lead of just 1%. ICM had the Conservatives 1% ahead for the second month in a row.
Changes shown are compared to the last daily YouGov poll I reported on 30 August.

September 4, 2011 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment