Archive for the 'Tories' Category


The CON minister in charge of immigration resigns for employing someone who didn’t have permission to work in the UK as his cleaner

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

Another boost for UKIP?

Further details from the Spectator blog here.


The Tory survival plan is based on the Lib Dems staying strong in CON-LAB battlegrounds but collapsing in CON-LD ones

Friday, January 24th, 2014

The evidence suggests that it’s working the other way round

It’s been repeated often enough on PB that an essential part of Labour’s polling position is based on the very large proportion of 2010 LD voters who’ve now switched to Labour. If this hadn’t happened or starts to slip away then EdM’s dreams of becoming PM are in trouble.

So far, at least, the evidence is that such a move that is even more pronounced in the key LAB-CON marginals that the Tories have to hold to prevent a LAB government.

The other side of the equation is that in the LD-CON marginals there’ll be a collapse in the LD vote which will help the Tories secure the easy pickings that will boost their seat totals. This was seen earlier in the week I featured a projection from Martin Baxter’s Electoral Calculus on the projected seat outcome with CON 35: LAB 35: LD 12: UKIP 10 and Miliband’s party were 5 seats short of a majority. Amongst the changes were 18 CON gains from the yellows.

But there’s strong evidence from the most recent marginals polling that we have is the LDs would do much better. That was published by Lord Ashcroft in September and, clearly, it could have take a knock by recent events. But if “Rennardgate” works out like “Falkirkgate” and “Plebgate” the effect could ease off in the days and weeks ahead.

The chart above based on that data suggests a LD>CON swing of just 0.5% in seats that the blues will be defending against the yellows. If that was translated to seats that the LDs are defnding against the Tories it would lead to just two changing hands.

    At the moment the LD collapse is underpinning Labour but not offering much to the Tories. That could make the blue GE2015 challenge even harder.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


MEMO to CON MPs who think that an EU referendum is the magic bullet that’ll help them save seats: It isn’t

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Check this YouGov polling – Europe has little salience

Quite simply there are too few potential converts

Judging by the intensity of many backbench CON MPs over the EU referendum issue you’d have thought that they firmly believe if only they could get this sorted it would be the magic bullet that would ensure their re-election at GE2015.

The blunt fact is that it isn’t. For the vast bulk of voters Europe, even those saying UKIP as the chart shows, is way down on their priority list as the issues trackers from YouGov and Ipsos-MORI make clear.

    They are making the mistake of believing that the fact that they personally feel strongly about it means that others do as well. Not so.

The problem, as I repeatedly point out, is that the issue of Europe has very little salience. It’s not something that most voters care that much about and it’s hard to see this being a vote driver.

It certainly, to judge by the latest polling from YouGov, is not something that is not going to win converts from 2010 LAB and LD supporters.

Mike Smithson

Ranked one of the top 33 most influential people aged 50+ on Twitter


The “Plebgate Aftermath”: A Sutton Coldfield by-election could now be nailed on

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Will Mitchell be resigning this year anyway?

The guilty plea in the trial of the PC who falsely made up evidence about the Plebgate affair has been used by Andrew Mitchell’s friends as vindication of his position.  It’s not quite that – if he wasn’t there then the substance of what was said remains disputed – but it hasn’t done anything for the police case.

Demands for Mitchell’s reinstatement to cabinet would be, however, unrealistic even if he is completely exonerated.  Apart from anything else, there aren’t any vacancies at the moment.  What Cameron will soon have to do though is nominate an EU commissioner.  Given that Mitchell has expressed his interest in that post in the past, he looks an ideal fit for what was never going to have been the easiest of nominations for the PM.

Apart from the internal party politics as to how Eurosceptic a nomination to make, there would be the tricky issue of a by-election were he to choose an MP – with all the risks of embarrassment and defeat.  The idea of a Lib Dem nomination is surely now off the table: the increasing differentiation between the coalition parties, the Tory reaction that would ensue, and the probable Lib Dem performance in the European elections all serve to rule it out.  A peer would solve the by-election question were there a suitable one available, but is there?

On the other hand, if there does have to be a by-election, Sutton Coldfield probably carries fewer risks than most constituencies, having been heavily Conservative since the nineteenth century, even in the Blair landslide elections of 1997 and 2001.  That’s not to say upsets can’t happen – Labour is in second place, albeit a long way back, and there is a sizable Lib Dem vote to squeeze, though it’s one that’s well established – but it would take an earthquake rather than a tremor.

David Herdson


Labour believes that Gove has become the Tories’ weakest link

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Get ready for more attacks on him like the latest by Tristram Hunt

Both Labour and Lib Dem strategists have told me in recent months that they now regard the education secretary, Michael Gove, as the Conservative party’s biggest electoral liability.

The newly published YouGov polling showing Labour with a 41% lead amongst this voter group underlines the view that there’s a big benefit to be had in attacking Gove hard and personally whenever the opportunity arises.

They believe they that Gove’s overly-confrontational approach with teachers is simply driving more of what is the largest professional group in the country away from the Tories.

    It’s reckoned that more than a quarter of that key swing group, LD>CON switchers, work in education and teaching and it is vital for the red team for them to be kept on board on May 7th 2015

So that’s the context for today’s fierce attack on Gove’s comments on the causes of the First World War by his Labour shadow, Tristram Hunt.

Seeking to spin an interpretation of history for political ends takes Gove into a difficult area.

My reading is that Gove’s big mistake is in confusing the teaching unions with the profession as a whole which continue to be very well regarded by the public. See this from Ipsos-MORI last year.

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble 2004-2014


It’s 2014 prediction time: Will it be another year when the Tories fail to secure a lead?

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

How many times will ICM, last to report CON ahead, have one in 2014?

On how many occasions during 2014 will the Guardian’s monthly ICM phone poll report a CON lead

This from March 2012 was last to have CON ahead

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004


Theresa May tops Boris for the first time in CONHome survey as preferred next party leader

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

This could mean something or it could mean nothing but the December CONHome survey of party members sees a change at the top as preferred next party leader.

This is the first time that the state school educated Home Secretary has been in this position in the site’s monthly survey of members. This might take on increasing importance over the next 18 months – for we could be less than a year away from the next contest. In recent times Tory leaders have had a tradition of resigning in the immediate aftermath of a general election defeat.

I’ve never been convinced that the party would choose another ex-Etonian and former member of the Bullingdon club. An election defeat, if that indeed that is what happens, will lead to a lot of soul searching. The Nadine Dorries description of Dave and George being a “couple of posh boys who didn’t know the price of bread” could easily resonate.

Theresa May has had a good period as home secretary managing to push moves which appeal to the party’s base. Unlike a number of predecessors in the job her time there has enhanced her position.

I got on her two years ago at 16/1.

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004


Unless the weekend polling produces a shock 2013 will be the first year since 2002 that the Tories didn’t record a lead in any opinion poll

Friday, December 20th, 2013

I saw this Tweet earlier and thought I’d check it out. It is correct. At some point in every single year from 2003 to 2012 the Tories recorded at least one lead.

On two occasions they’ve been level-pegging and this week they got within 2%.

What this means electorally we’ll have to wait and see. It is worth noting that even in the worst days for the Thatcher and Major governments the party recorded leads in 1991, 1995 and 1990 which were at the same stage before the following general elections.

Mike Smithson