Richard Willis's Blog

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HMS Queen Elizabeth is Named

HMS Queen ElizabethThe Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier has been officially named by Her Majesty the Queen at a ceremony in Scotland today.

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.

HMS Queen Elizabeth Graphic

July 4, 2014 Posted by | Defence | Leave a comment

New ICM Poll – Labour Just 1% Ahead

ICM logo2There 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.

State of the parties, 17 June 2014.


June 17, 2014 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

The Conservative Newark By-Election Triumph

Polling StationYesterday we had the Newark Parliamentary by-election. By-elections can be unpredictable affairs but two things are usually certain:

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.

June 6, 2014 Posted by | National | 3 Comments

Reading Borough Council Election Results 2014

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.

May 23, 2014 Posted by | Local | Leave a comment

An Eve of Election Message from Rob Wilson MP

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.

Conservatives have also shown that they are willing to take the initiative, to lead the way on important projects that will be of great benefit to Reading and the surrounding area. It was the Conservatives who put in place the plans for the pedestrian/cycle bridge, who campaigned to ensure that Crossrail will come to Reading and who are now working to make progress on a Third Thames Bridge.
I therefore read with disbelief last week Cllr Tony Page’s comments in GetReading. The party which brought you the one way IDR, plus zealous parking and bus lane fines says that if we are successful with a Third Thames Bridge bid, Labour may well implement a toll system on Reading and Caversham bridges to avoid through traffic.The point of the Third Bridge and a by-pass around the town is specifically to avoid through traffic! Cllr Page says his scheme would exempt people living in the area but would place a charge on those who do not. He even broached the possibility of eventually placing tolls on all three bridges.
Leaving aside that for economic reasons (retail  shopping etc.) Reading Conservatives are continually  working to encourage people into the area, it seems  that Cllr Page and Reading Labour are advocating  the complete opposite, whilst thinking of new ways to make a quick buck.
Experience shows us what this means. Under Labour, any toll might start by being low and avoiding certain groups, but quickly, the creep will begin with a smaller area being exempt and a larger charge made for use of the bridges. It won’t be long before we will all be paying to use Caversham and Reading bridges.  It’s the same old Labour, you cannot trust them.

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.

If you require any further information on your local or European candidates, this can be found by visiting: and

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Local | 1 Comment

New Populus Poll – Conservatives 1% Ahead!

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.

May 19, 2014 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

Five Labour Councillors Resign From the Party in Middlesborough

Middlesbrough Labour councillorsI 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.

May 16, 2014 Posted by | National | Leave a comment

New YouGov Poll – Conservatives and Labour Level Pegging

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.


May 13, 2014 Posted by | Polls | , | Leave a comment

New ICM Poll – Conservatives Take a 2% Lead as Labour Support Collapses!

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.

ICM Poll - May 14


May 12, 2014 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New YouGov Poll – Labour is Now Barely Ahead!

There is a new YouGov poll in tomorrow’s Sun newspaper showing Labour’s lead close to vanishing again at a mere 1%:

                   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.


May 8, 2014 Posted by | Polls | , | Leave a comment

Reading Conservatives Launch Manifesto

????????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.

May 6, 2014 Posted by | Local | 2 Comments

New Populus Poll – Labour’s Lead Just 1%!

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.

May 2, 2014 Posted by | Polls | 2 Comments

New YouGov Poll – Labour Lead is 3%

There is a new YouGov poll in tomorrow’s Sun newspaper showing Labour’s lead at 3%:

                   Conservative                33% (down 3%)

                   Labour                          36% (down 1%)

                                                     Lib Dem                       10% (up 1%)

                                                     UKIP                             14% (up 3%).

Labour is now getting leads of a maximum of 6% with most polls in the 2-4% range. It is also noticeable that Labour’s vote share is now usually 35-37%. Once the Euro elections have passed and the focus shifts away from UKIP I expect the Conservatives to move ahead of Labour.

The poll above is compared with the YouGov poll I reported on 23 March.

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Polls | , | Leave a comment

Reading Borough Council Candidates – 22 May

rbc-hex1Reading Borough Council has now published the full list of candidates nominated for the local Council elections on Thursday 22 May.

There are some interesting  points to note. Firstly, despite all the bluster UKIP have failed to field a full slate of candidates, with nominations in just 10 of the seats up for election. Secondly, despite publishing names of candidates for Katesgrove and Whitley, the Trades Union and Socialist Coalition are only standing in Caversham ward! Is this designed to hurt Labour in one of their top target wards?

I was intrigued to see that Labour has switched their Park ward candidates around so that Lawrence is now standing in the by-election and Kaur in the main election against Green Leader Rob White. Presumably they think that their candidate from West Reading has a better chance than their candidate from leafy Emmer Green?!

On the amusing side of things it is fun to see that in Peppard ward voters will have a chance to vote for Day or Knight!

Abbey Ward

BLACK, Richard – Green

JAMES, Stephen – UKIP

MOORE, James  – Lib Dem

TAYLOR, Laurence – Conservative

TICKNER, Bet – Labour

Battle Ward

GOODALL, Glenn – Lib Dem

HACKER, Sarah – Labour

ISHTIAQ, Imran – Conservative

LOCKEY, Alan – Green

PASCUAL, Jean-Marie – Roman Party-Ave!

Caversham Ward

BURDEN, Chris – Lib Dem

CHRISP, Rachael – Labour

DIAMOND, Michael –  UKIP

HICKS, Jenny – Green

POLAND, Geoff – Conservative


Church Ward

CARNELL, Paul – Conservative

JOHNSON, Vivienne – Green

MACNEILL, Margaret – Lib Dem

PEARCE, Ashley – Labour


Katesgrove Ward


JAMES, Sophie – Labour

KEANE, Louise – Green

KINSLEY, Peter – Lib Dem

WARMAN, Emma – Conservative

Kentwood Ward

DENNIS, Glenn – Labour

SHAFFREY, Ruth – Green

STEELE, Tom – Conservative

THOMAS, Howard –  UKIP

WALLS, Jon – Lib Dem

Minster Ward

BLACK, Katie – Conservative

DILLON, Patrick – UKIP

FANTI, Jon – Lib Dem

LIVINGSTON, Marion – Labour

MURPHY, Hazel – Green

Norcot Ward

ABSOLOM, Debs – Labour

HUGHES, Georgina – Lib Dem

PATTERSON, David – Green

VOSE, Clare – Conservative

Park Ward


BASHARAT, Mohammad – Conservative

KAUR, Anrish – Labour

RYE, Rebecca – Lib Dem

WHITE, Rob – Green

Park Ward By-Election

AKHTAR, Shanaz – Conservative

JAKEMAN, Francis – Lib Dem

LAWRENCE, Matthew – Labour

WILLIAMS, Josh – Green

Peppard Ward

DAY, Kate – Green


PLATTS, Natalie – Labour

RALPH, Mark – Independent

ROBINSON, Simon – Conservative

WOODS, Jenny – Lib Dem

Redlands Ward

ABSOLOM, David – Labour

ALLAN, Robert – UKIP

BAYES, Kirsten – Lib Dem

HOPPER, Helen – Conservative

MURTAGH, Kizzi – Green

Southcote Ward

ADAMS, Maddy – Lib Dem

CRESSWELL, Doug – Green

ENNIS, John – Labour

WIGGINS, Ellis – Conservative

Thames Ward

DICKSON, John – Independent

MCNAMARA, Sarah – Green

PENMAN, Guy – Lib Dem

STAINTHORP, Richard – Labour

STEVENS, David – Conservative

Tilehurst Ward

BANARAS, Haji – Labour

DUVEEN, Ricky – Lib Dem

KENNET, Miriam – Green


VICKERS, Robert – Conservative

Whitley Ward

BLATTLER, Janel – Lib Dem

BROWN, Nick – Conservative

EDEN, Rachel – Labour

JOHNSON, Keith – Green

WAKE, Jamie – Independent

April 28, 2014 Posted by | Local | Leave a comment

New Opinium Poll – Labour Lead Falls to 2%

 There is a new Opinium poll in todays Observer newspaper showing Labour lead dropping to just 2%:

            Conservative            32% (up 2%)

                                                           Labour                      34% (down 2%)

                                                           Lib Dem                      7% (no change)

                                                           UKIP                         18% (no change)

This poll is broadly the same as the Populus poll which had both the Conservatives and Labour on 35%.

David Cameron’s personal rating has improved slightly from -11% to -8% while Ed Miliband’s has fallen from -20% to -22%. 38% approved of Cameron’s performance against 46% who disapproved, while 24% approved of Miliband’s performance against 46% who disapproved. Nick Clegg’s net rating is -42%. 16% said they approved of his performance and 58% said they disapproved.

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1,965 GB adults aged 18+ from 22 to 25 April 2014. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

Opinium Parties - Apr 14

April 27, 2014 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment