Archive for the 'David Cameron' Category


Mr. Cameron might rue the day that his party was reluctant to embrace the reform of the House of Lords

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

The numbers look potentially tricky

A key moment in the last parliament was in July 2012 when CON back-bench rebels voted down a timetable motion on the Lords Reform bill thus making it highly unlikely that it would get through the house. A few days later Cameron pulled the plans completely – a move that led to Mr. Clegg pulling the plug on boundary reform.

So the upper house remains unreformed something that could be tricky for the government as it tries to move forward with its legislative programme. In the last parliament the coalition’s numbers made the task much easier. Now things might be different.

There’s a good article by UCL Prof Meg Russell on the challenges that might lie ahead. For although the LDs were almost totally smashed on Thursday the party still has 101 members of the Lords, who are there for life, and this could present obstacles in a whole series of ways.

She notes that the band of LD peers has “swelled impressively over time – in his 10 years as Prime Minister Tony Blair appointed 54 Lib Dem peers; in the five years 2010-15 David Cameron appointed a further 40.”. She goes on:-

“..So the Conservatives are in a relatively weak position in the Lords, holding less than a third of seats. The government can readily be defeated by various combinations of other forces – including Labour, Liberal Democrats, Bishops and Crossbenchers. These last two groups vote less frequently than party peers, and also do not vote as a block. So the key group is – once again – the Liberal Democrats. They are now numerically stronger than before, and following recent events are badly bruised. Despite having worked until recently alongside the Conservatives, their instincts may now often be to vote with Labour. The Lords has traditionally taken a stand on constitutional issues (recall the climbdowns forced on Blair over restricting trial by jury, detaining terrorist suspects, and introducing ID cards) – so we can expect clashes over the government’s plans to repeal Human Rights Act, reform parliamentary boundaries and hold an EU in-out referendum, where Labour and Lib Dems will readily find common cause…”

Of course Cameron could try to appoint dozen of new CON peers to bring the numbers into line but as Prof Russell points out the Tory manifesto had a commitment to address the size of the chamber and to have any effect a large number would have to be appointed.

Mike Smithson


Marf for tonight on Dave “being pumped up”

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015



“Cameron has wanted out for a while – just wants to go out on a high” : Tim Montgomerie

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015


Dramatic Tweet exchange with Andrew Neil

This is not the sort of message that the Tories want to come out just two weeks before the big day and at a key moment with postal voters.

Cameron’s great strength is that he’s always been seen as more popular than his party something that had appertained since he became leader nine and half years ago. There is little doubt that he is an electoral asset.

Even though Miliband’s ratings have risen during this campaign he still trails the CON leader by some margin. So questions about how long Dave wants to stay are central to the whole Tory “offer” as we saw right at the start of the campaign. Then he made clear that he would stay for the length of the next parliament.

The danger now is just as Labour’s likely reliance on the SNP is dominating the campaign speculation about Cameron’s staying power could change the narrative.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


ICM finds voters totally split by Cameron’s third term annoucement

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

A new Guardian/ICM poll, just issued, of those planning to watch tomorrow’s C4 leaders’programme finds voters split 38-38 on Cameron’s 3rd term announcement

As you’d expect Tom Clarke in the Guardian reports a partisan split in the responses. His report notes that with CON supporters, 56% to 27% believe his move was right. Among LAB supporters, the view was by 50% to 29% – that he got it wrong.

Where Cameron came in for more criticism was over his speculation about who his successor might be.

In the betting, meanwhile, the Tories remain strong favourites to win most seats.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The polling finds David Cameron would get the blame were the debates not to take place

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

But do the public understand Cameron’s strategy and tactics over the debates?

The polling by YouGov on the debates doesn’t make for good reading for David Cameron, such as 50% think David Cameron is scared to debate other party leaders. whilst 38% mostly blame Cameron for the stalemate over the debates, whilst 13% mostly blame the broadcasters, and below, David Cameron doesn’t come off as sincere in regards to the debates.


However, in the polling for the Times’ Red Box website, YouGov found the following “Who do you think has the most to gain in TV debates?”


As we can see, the public can’t see much advantage for Dave taking part, but a lot of advantages for both Nigel Farage and Ed Miliband, 9% of the voters think Cameron has the most to gain. As Stephan Shakespeare of YouGov observes

So if the TV debates fail to happen, the public will at least be left with the impression of the Prime Minister as an astute tactician.

So perhaps he and the Tories might not take a hit in the voting intention were the debates not to happen, it depends on how much salience this topic has, although this story has a bit more to run, as it is being reported that No ’empty chair’ humiliation for David Cameron as BBC considers giving him his own general election programme’



Does this explain the Tory optimism about May

Friday, March 6th, 2015

“Labour voters are also generally lukewarm about their leader in a way that Conservatives are not about theirs.” – Opinium

The above chart shows how well Dave and badly Ed do among their own supporters, as other pollsters generally find as well. I’m of the view, that Ed’s poor ratings are priced into the voting intention, and that the voting intention is largely correct.

We’re going to find out in nine weeks time if it is priced in or not. These types of findings might well explain why particularly on betfair, the prices are much more bullish on the Tories doing better than the current polling suggests.

Opinium have also been tracking this “For a while now we’ve been asking voters to predict the 2015 election with the options being majorities for either big party or a hung parliament with either Labour or the Conservatives as the largest party. We defined a “win” as a party winning a majority or being the largest party in a hung parliament.”

This probably also probably explains the Tory optimism and expectation about May and feeds through to betfair.

Back in 2013, when Labour was routinely recording 10-point leads, 54% of voters expected Labour to ‘win’ vs. just 24% for the Conservatives. Now that both parties are at parity, Labour’s figure has dropped to 33% while the Conservatives’ has risen to 49%.

Among Labour voters themselves, the proportion predicting a win was 82% in 2013 but just 67% do so now. Conservative voters have gone from 60% expecting a win to 82% now.

To an extent this is just voters reading the polls and coverage of them which show that, even if momentum may not exactly be with the Tories, Labour have bled support across the country to the SNP, UKIP and more recently the Greens.

This also feeds into who they expect to be prime minister after the election. Overall Cameron leads Miliband by 46% to 23% but while 75% of Conservatives expect their leader to stay at No. 10, just 47% of Labour voters expect Ed Miliband to replace him.

The full data is available here



Is this going to backfire for Dave as the one and only debate could be in three weeks time?

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Dave welcoming the debates 5 years ago

It is being reported

Downing Street has issued a “final offer” to broadcasters over the election television debates, declaring in a pointed email that David Cameron will take part in just one debate featuring seven party leaders before the formal campaign begins next month…..

…..The intervention by the prime minister’s director of communications, Craig Oliver, prompted an angry backlash. Nick Clegg accused Cameron of trying to hold the debates to ransom by dictating terms. Douglas Alexander, the chair of Labour’s general election campaign, accused Downing Street of an “outrageous” attempt to bully the broadcasters into dropping their proposal for a head-to-head debate between Cameron and Miliband.

The risks for David Cameron are that he ends up looking like a bully and gets the blame if there are no debates. There is polling that showed 67% of the public would view Cameron as a coward if he didn’t take part in the debates. Whilst a recent poll showed that 70% of the public wanted the debates to take place during the election campaign.

Dave is on the wrong side of public opinion, and like immigration yesterday, his past comments, in the above video shows, on the debates, have the potential to come back and damage him, two months from an election, that’s not a good place for any politician, especially the sitting Prime Minister to be in.

Some might cite Tony Blair’s agreeing then rejecting debates, but I would argue that was different, as we’ve now had debates in 2010, and that effects the whole situation in 2015 as they are considered part of the political landscape now.



Operation Save Dave is unlikely to succeed

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

The Sunday Times reports (££)

George Osborne held a dinner with Conservative whips on Monday night to discuss tactics for the days after the vote on May 7.

Two senior MPs revealed that Tory high command is preparing to argue that Cameron has won a “moral victory” if he secures more votes than Ed Miliband — even if he has fewer seats.

In the event of a fragile Labour-led coalition taking power, they would argue that there could be a second general election within months and it would be better to stick with Cameron than hold a bloody leadership contest.

Ministers close to Downing Street say even if Cameron wins the most seats, he is drawing up plans to run a minority government rather than seek another coalition.

Senior figures believe he could keep his MPs onside because going it alone would free up 23 ministerial posts held by Liberal Democrats.

One minister close to Cameron said: “If there is an opportunity to govern without going into coalition, we would seize it.”

The fact such contingencies are being planned by Cameron’s closest supporters is not surprising given the current polling, however moral victories aren’t worth much. The position of many in and out of the party is that Dave’s leadership ends the moment he ceases to be Prime Minister, as the Conservative Party has a history of ruthlessness when dealing with its leaders, as Margaret Thatcher and IDS would attest.

The Sunday Times says at least one former cabinet minister will call for Cameron to quit when the polls close on the 7th of May if Dave fails to finish ahead of Labour.

But the most interesting part of the article is that Cameron is drawing up plans to govern as a minority rather than seek another coalition, you can currently get 9/2 on such an occurrence, which in light of reports yesterday that Nick Clegg is ready to rule out a new coalition with the Conservatives over its plan to hold a European Union referendum, might be a very plausible scenario.

The article also says Michael Gove has been telling the Conservative parliamentary party, that not one Conservative MP will lose their seat, one wonders if Mr Gove will be willing to bet on that, as I’m sure several PBers would be willing to offer him odds on that.