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New Ipsos MORI Poll – Labour Take a 6% Lead

mori-logo1There is a new Ipsos MORI/Reuters poll reported today showing Labour taking the lead once again:

            Conservative               35% (down 3%)

                                                             Labour                          41% (up 3%)

                                                             Lib Dem                        12% (no change)

All three main party leaders recorded negative satisfaction ratings, with more voters saying they were unhappy with the job they were doing than satisfied.

Mr Cameron’s personal rating was down 10 points since last month on minus 11, with 40% saying they were pleased with the job he was doing as PM, compared with 51% who were not. Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg scored minus 32 and Mr Miliband minus 25.

For the first time since he became leader in 2010, the monthly Political Monitor found more Labour supporters dissatisfied (48%) than satisfied (44%) with Mr Miliband’s performance.

Satisfaction in the Government’s performance was down 21 points since last month to minus 34.

MORI tends to show more dramatic fluctuations than other pollsters but the findings that Miliband is losing the confidence of Labour voters could be significant for the chances of his survival.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 5 Comments

New YouGov Poll – Tories Lead Labour by 1%

There is a new YouGov poll out tonight for the Sun newspaper tomorrow showing the Conservatives ahead of Labour by 1%:

                   Conservative               40% (up 1%)

                   Labour                         39% (up 1%)

                                                     Lib Dem                         9% (down 1%)

In other findings 30% approve of the Government’s record to date with 54% disapproving, giving a net approval of -21%.

Changes shown are compared to the last YouGov poll I covered on 20 February.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New ComRes Poll – Labour Move 3% Ahead

There is a new ComRes telephone poll published in tomorrow’s Independent which shows Labour taking a 3% lead over the Conservatives:

           Conservative            37% (down 2%)

                                        Labour                      40% (up 2%)

                                        Lib Dem                    13% (up 3%)

A majority of people want George Osborne to raise taxes for the rich in next month’s Budget in order to take more low paid workers out of tax, according to the poll. Some 60 per cent of the public support the Liberal Democrats’ flagship policy and key Budget demand while 34 per cent disagree.

The poll also suggests public support for demands by Tory MPs for any Budget tax cuts to be aimed at business rather than individuals in order to get the economy moving. Some 58 per cent of people back this approach while 32 per cent disagree.

There is public scepticism about Labour’s call for tax cuts even if that means higher than planned borrowing in the short term. By a margin of 59 to 31 per cent, people believe the Chancellor should use any spare money to reduce the government deficit rather than spend it on tax cuts.

According to ComRes, voters back Mr Osborne’s plans to end child benefit to families with at least one higher rate taxpayer from next January.  It is supported by 61 per cent of people and opposed by 33 per cent.

ComRes surveyed 1,001 GB adults by telephone on 24-26 February 2012. Data were weighted to be demographically representative and by past vote recall.

February 27, 2012 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

Reading Borough Council Launches Meadway Consultation

Residents who live near or use the Meadway Precinct are being asked to help shape what their local shopping centre could look like in future years, as part of a local planning consultation.

Built in the 1960s, The Meadway Precinct on Honey End Lane has been in decline for a number of years now. Some parts of it are in a poor state of repair, around one in three shops is empty and the layout is badly designed, meaning it does not attract as many visitors as it could.

The owners of the precinct, Chillingham Ltd, have indicated to Reading Borough Council that they intend to redevelop the site and that they are exploring options.

With future investment at the Precinct imminent, the Council wants to pull together some key planning guidelines  known as a ‘Planning Brief’  which will help guide future development. The Council is asking local residents for their views so that they can be fed into the planning guidelines. These are intended to guide the owners as they develop their plans.

The Meadway Precinct serves a residential area including Honey End Lane, The Meadway, Cockney Hill and Usk Road, as well as areas such as Dee Park and Southcote. A leaflet, which contains a questionnaire, is being put through letter boxes in these areas and will also be given to local businesses which cover these areas. It can also be found online at

People can return the freepost questionnaire included in the leaflet to LDF Planning Team, Civic Offices, Reading RG1 7AE or you can email comments to The closing date for responses is 13th April 2012.

The current Meadway Precinct is based around a central courtyard with around 30 shop units, flats above the shops and car parking. It is also home to an Asda superstore, built in the late 1970’s, with its own dedicated parking area. Reading Borough Council also intends to approach Asda to see if they will join the other landowners to help radically improve the centre for local residents.

February 27, 2012 Posted by | Local | 1 Comment

BREAKING NEWS – Labour MP is Suspended

Labour MP for Falkirk Eric Joyce has been suspended from the party following reports that last night he was arrested for allegedly “head-butting” and punching Conservative MP Stuart Andrew in a House of Commons bar.

The Metropolitan Police have issued the following statement, “A man aged in his 50s was arrested by officers on suspicion of assault. He remains in custody in a central London police station. Inquiries are continuing.”

February 23, 2012 Posted by | National | 1 Comment

A Conservative Council Tax Freeze is Delivered in Reading

It was a quite surreal situation in the Council tonight. We gathered for the annual setting of the Council Tax in the knowledge that the minority Labour administration was proposing to adopt Conservative policy, accept a consequent grant from the Conservative led government and freeze the Council Tax. This prompted the Green party to move a proposal to INCREASE Council Tax by 3.5% which if adopted would lead to the Council forfeiting a grant of £1.7m from the Government but avoiding the inconvenience of having to put the increase to a local referendum. The Green motion was rejected by all other Councillors.

We Conservatives moved an amendment to take £25,000 out of the increased Publicity and Mayoral budget and put it into the Voluntary Sector Grant budget, ring-fenced for services to older people. The Lib Dems refused to back this so we accepted a Labour proposal to refer the proposal to the Cabinet for consideration.

We supported the overall budget proposal as Labour had followed our example last year, when for the first time ever we froze Council Tax. Indeed colleagues happily branded the budget as essentially a Conservative budget. There are minor areas of disagreement but basically it is broadly what we would have continued to do. Labour’s task this year was much easier than ours last year. They had to find savings of around £12m (last year we had to find £19m), and of the £12m, £3.9m of savings stemmed from measures we took last year and which Labour has not reversed. Thus their real task was less than half of what faced us last year.

After the budget passed with the support of Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems (but not the Greens) we moved onto motions. I moved a motion congratulating Her Majesty the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee and instructing the Mayor to write to the Royal Household to pass on the loyal greetings of the Councillors and citizens of Reading. This sparked a bizarre speech from Cllr Ricky Duveen (Lib Dem) who declared himself a Republican and became the only Councillor to vote against the motion which was passed with the support of all the other Lib Dems, all Conservative and Labour Councillors, but with the Greens abstaining!

The other highlight of the evening was right at the beginning in public questions when the Labour candidate for Caversham ward asked the Lead Councillor for Strategic Planning and Transport a clearly scripted question about improved cycle parking at Reading Station and the proposal for a new cycle/foot bridge over the Thames. He clearly was noyt aware that these were both Conservative proposals which were taken forward during our year in control. We bid for the money for the new bridge in the small LSTF (Local Strategic Transport Fund) bid which was granted by the Conservative led Coalition government last summer. These are all facts which we will be reminding voters in Caversham ward in the run up to polling day!

It was rather surreal to be in opposition and yet see one of our major policies being delivered tonight. It is right to freeze Council Tax at a time when most people’s household budgets are under pressure and it was entertaining to see some Labour back-benchers squirm as they received Conservative support for the freeze. It was also odd to see the Greens proposing taxing local people a lot more but effectively handing more than half of it straight over to central government to be spent in other areas outside Reading. Stranger things have happened in Reading Borough Council but not many!

February 21, 2012 Posted by | Local | 1 Comment

New YouGov Poll – Tories Ahead by 1%

The third poll out tonight is a new YouGov poll for the Sun newspaper tomorrow showing the Conservatives ahead of Labour by 1%:

                   Conservative               39% (no change)

                   Labour                         38% (down 1%)

                                                     Lib Dem                       10% (up 1%)

In other findings 32% approve of the Government’s record to date with 53% disapproving, giving a net approval of -21%.

Changes shown are compared to the last YouGov poll I covered on 17 February.

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 1 Comment

New Populus Poll – Labour Have a 2% Lead

There is a new Populus poll published in tomorrow’s Times which shows the Conservatives two percent behind Labour:

              Conservative             37% (up 2%)

              Labour                       39% (no change)

                                                                   Lib Dem                     11% (down 1%)

Changes shown are compared to the last Populus poll I covered on 20 December last year.

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New ICM Poll – Labour Takes a 1% Lead

There is a new ICM poll in the Guardian tomorrow showing Labour taking a 1% lead over the Conservatives reversing a 5% deficit:

         Conservative              36% (down 4%)

                                                    Labour                        37% (up 2%)

                                                    Lib Dem                      14% (down 2%)

This poll is broadly in line with other recent polls which show the two main parties neck and neck. I would sound a note of caution though in that 4% net seems to have transferred to “others” with Labour making only a small advance. We will have to see if other polls bear this out.

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New ComRes Poll – Tories Move Into a 1% Lead

There is a new ComRes online poll published in today’s Independent on Sunday which shows the Conservatives moving 1% ahead of Labour:

           Conservative            39% (up 2%)

                                        Labour                      38% (no change)

                                        Lib Dem                    10% (down 4%)

The Martin Baxter calculator suggests that on current boundaries Labour would be 10 seats short of a majority and the Lib Dems would be reduced to just 11 seats. It is also worth noting that, despite a lot of nonsense about Cameron’s problem connecting with women voters, 40% would vote Conservative, compared with 36% of men.


Private firms should have more involvement in the delivery of NHS services Agree: 27% Disagree: 43% Don’t know: 30%

David Cameron is a sincere supporter of the principles of the NHS Agree: 31% Disagree: 41% Don’t know: 28%

Unsurprisingly, Conservative voters are more likely to agree than Labour voters – 73% and 10% respectively. However, one in five Conservative voters (21%) and a third of Lib Dems (35%) answer ‘don’t know’.

The NHS would be safer under Labour than under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition Agree: 36% Disagree: 34% Don’t know: 30%

A quarter of Lib Dem voters agree (26%).

The Budget

The Chancellor should make tax cuts a priority in the forthcoming Budget Agree: 37% Disagree: 33% Don’t know: 30%

People in lower income groups are keener than those in higher income groups on tax cuts. DEs agree by 40% to 26%, while ABs disagree by 41% to 34%.

The Chancellor should not make any tax cuts until the country’s public debt is better under control Agree: 41% Disagree: 32% Don’t know: 27%

The top rate of income tax at 50p in the pound on earnings over £150,000 a year should be raised to 60p in the pound Agree: 48% (-6) Disagree: 34% (+5) Don’t know: 18% (+1) (Change since ComRes October 2010)

Of Labour voters 61% agree, compared with 52% of Lib Dems and 38% of Conservative voters.


The public sector should not pay bonuses to its staff who are paid more than £40,000 a year Agree: 71% Disagree: 14% Don’t know: 15%

Younger people are less likely to agree than older generations (59% of 18-24 year olds, 79% of 55-64 year olds, and 84% of those aged 65 and over).

Abu Qatada

The Government should ignore the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights and deport the Islamist cleric Abu Qatada immediately Agree: 73% Disagree: 10% Don’t know: 17%

Nine in ten Conservative voters (89%) agree, compared with two thirds of Labour and Lib Dem voters (67% for each).

David Cameron

Here is a list of things both favourable and unfavourable that have been said about various politicians. Please select those that you think apply to David Cameron:

Out of touch with ordinary people 49%

Tends to talk down to people 32%

Has strong moral principles 30%

Patriotic 26%

Puts loyalty to friends ahead of doing the right thing 24%

Too inflexible 22%

Narrow-minded 21%

More honest than most politicians 21%

Inexperienced 20%

Is more interested in foreign affairs than in running the country 19%

Good in a crisis 18%

Down-to-earth 15%

Is good on the detail of policy 12%

Seems to have similar views to those of Tony Blair 10%

None of these 10%

Scots are more likely than other Britons to say that David Cameron is ‘out of touch with ordinary people’ (62%), that he ‘tends to talk down to people’ (44%), ‘puts loyalty to friends ahead of doing the right thing’ (36%), and that he is ‘too inflexible’ (34%).

The Prime Minister is most likely to be viewed by Cconservative voters as having ‘strong moral principles’ (66%), ‘patriotic’ (56%), ‘more honest than most politicians’ (51%), and ‘good in a crisis’ (45%).

Half of Lib Dem voters believe that Cameron is ‘out of touch with ordinary people’ (48%).

ComRes surveyed 2,014 GB adults online on 21516 February 2012. Data were weighted to be demographically representative and by past vote recall.

February 19, 2012 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New YouGov Poll – Tories and Labour Neck and Neck

There is a new YouGov poll in the Sun newspaper today showing the Conservatives and Labour neck and neck on 39% each:

                   Conservative               39% (down 1%)

                   Labour                         39% (up 1%)

                                                     Lib Dem                         9% (down 1%)

In other findings 30% approve of the Government’s record to date with 55% disapproving, giving a net approval of -25%.

Changes shown are compared to the last YouGov poll I covered on 8 February.

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 3 Comments

Armed Forces to Pay Tribute to The Queen at Windsor

In honour of The Queen’s 60 year reign, the Armed Forces will mount a special Parade and Muster at Windsor with Her Majesty on Saturday 19 May.

Nearly 2,500 troops from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force will parade through Windsor Castle and town before Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh. They will then muster in the Castle grounds for a unique event before an audience of more than 3,000 Armed Forces personnel, their families, and veterans. An impressive, tri-Service flypast of current and historic aircraft will conclude the celebrations.

Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards said: “Her Majesty The Queen’s support and encouragement over the years has created a very special bond between our monarch and her forces. That link is felt by all those who have the privilege to wear Her Majesty’s uniform both in the UK and on many varied operations overseas.The Parade and Muster will truly be a day to remember. It is an opportunity to highlight the unique relationship The Queen has with the men and women of the Armed Forces and of the role she fills in our lives.”

The custom of the Armed Forces paying tribute to the Monarch during a Jubilee year is an established tradition. Similar celebrations were held during the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the Silver Jubilee of King George V, and the Silver and Golden Jubilees of the present Queen.

The Parade and Muster will be the first time all three Services have visited The Queen for a dedicated event, and will be broadcast by BBC Television. Further details, including information on those marching in the parade and the aircraft taking part in the flypast, will be released in due course.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Defence, National | Leave a comment

The RAF to Get an Eighth C-17 Globemaster

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday announced that the MoD is to order an additional C-17 Globemaster, taking the number of aircraft in the RAF’s fleet to eightThe purchase of an extra C-17 will help to support the airbridge which transports Armed Forces personnel and equipment between the UK and frontline operations. This is a significant increase to the RAF’s heavy lift capability, following from the initial decision to lease just four aircraft.

The newest C-17 is currently being built by Boeing in the USA and is due to come off the production line next month. It is then expected to enter service with the RAF in July 2012. The aircraft, which will cost £200m, will be based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire along with the other aircraft in the fleet which are operated by 99 Squadron. The multi-million pound C-17 aircraft can fly over 4,500 nautical miles, meaning it can fly directly from Helmand Province to the UK. 

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “The C-17 has shown its worth in Afghanistan ensuring that our troops are given the fastest, most efficient passage home. It is a vastly impressive aircraft that can carry three Apache helicopters, or take a whole Chinook helicopter. This latest addition to the RAF fleet will further strengthen the vital airbridge between Britain and Afghanistan, ensuring critical deliveries are made to the front line. Buying equipment off-the-shelf allows us to quickly deliver equipment that our troops need on operations at best value prices for the tax payer and is a great example of the White Paper, announced last week, in action.”

As well as transporting troops and equipment, C-17s can also be converted rapidly to offer Intensive Care provision in support of the Aeromedical Airbridge. One aircraft is on standby 24-hours a day to fly seriously injured personnel back to the UK at short notice. The aircraft can also be deployed to help with humanitarian and disaster relief efforts around the world.

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Defence | 3 Comments

New YouGov Poll – Tory Lead Increases to 2%

There is a new YouGov poll in the Sun newspaper tomorrow showing the Conservatives increasing their lead over Labour to 2%:

                   Conservative               40% (down 1%)

                   Labour                         38% (down 2%)

                                                     Lib Dem                         10% (up 2%)

In other findings 33% approve of the Government’s record to date with 52% disapproving, giving a net approval of -19%.

It suggests that yesterday’s 5% Labour lead was very much an outlier!

Changes shown are compared to the last YouGov poll I covered on 6 February.

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Polls | 1 Comment

Conservatives Welcome Reading’s City “Favourite” Status

Reading Borough Conservatives have welcomed the news that the town is the Ladbrokes betting favourite to win City Status in this year’s Diamond Jubilee announcement. The application for City Status was taken forward at no cost to the Council Tax-payer by the Conservative / Lib Dem Coalition with support from Labour. Only the Green party refused to support the initiative.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr Tim Harris said, “It is very encouraging news that punters see Reading’s case as so strong. I very much hope that the deciding committee agree with them and recommend our Borough to Her Majesty for City Status. Reading is a city in all but name and with the major investment in Reading Station, Station Hill and in South Reading, we are an economic force to be reckoned with. City Status would be a welcome further boost for investment and jobs here.”

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Local | 3 Comments