People vs Parliament

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9881074/election-choice-johnson-corbyn-majority/

A report from Missy in the UK


At the beginning of September Parliament returned from summer recess and boy has it been interesting. First of all is the news that after a summer of threatening a Vote of No Confidence Jeremy Corbyn, (as I predicted), bottled it and failed to table a Vote of No Confidence, however, it doesn’t mean that Parliament has been short of drama.

The opposition managed to take control of the order paper with the assistance of a number of Remain supporting Conservative MPs, and they passed the Withdrawal Act 2 (also known as the Benn Act), immediately after this passed in the House of Commons the PM tabled a motion for a General Election to be held on 15 October which was defeated.

This Act states the PM must ask for an extension to Article 50 by 19 October, and that it has to be until 31 January at the earliest, however, it also states that if the EU offer a longer extension he must accept it unless Parliament rejects it within 3 days. At first many thought it would be defeated as the Conservative Lords were heading for an epic filibuster on the Thursday and Friday, however, all of a sudden the filibuster was called off amidst reports that Corbyn agreed to vote for a General Election if the bill passed. The bill duly passed and the motion for a General Election was tabled again, however, Corbyn reneged and voted against it, prompting accusations of him being a chicken, the reality is most likely that Corbyn is aware of how badly he is doing in the polls and that Boris Johnson would get a good majority.

Whilst the Party Conferences were taking place after Prorogation, a number of court cases were taken out against the PM for the proroguing of Parliament. In Scotland a number of MPs went to court, and the Scottish High Court found in favour, ruling not only that the Prorogation was illegal but that the PM had lied to the Queen, though how they could say he lied to the Queen without actually calling the Queen as a witness to know what he said to her I don’t know. In England Gina Miller took a case to the High Court, which ruled that proroguing Parliament is a prerogative power making it a political process and therefore non justifiable. Both cases were appealed and last week the Supreme Court ruled that the proroguing of Parliament, whilst legal in itself, was prorogued for an excessive period of time and was therefore unlawful (as opposed to illegal). This means the Supreme Court have set a new legal precedent, and have made the proroguing of Parliament for excessive length of time unlawful.

So, last Wednesday Parliament resumed and despite the MPs saying they had to return to urgently debate Brexit they didn’t spend any time on Brexit. MP after MP lined up to have a pop at the PM and Attorney General, Boris however managed to still get the better of them. On a day that the Leader of the Opposition should have been able to have the PM on the ropes, it was the Leader of the Opposition that was on the back foot and the PM that came off the best.

Corbyn kept saying that the PM should resign, and called on Boris Johnson to resign several times, the response of the PM was to refuse to resign and tell Corbyn that if he wanted to get rid of him to agree to a General Election. The PM gave a one time offer that he would accept a Vote of No Confidence from any party that had the courage to call it, many were hoping the DUP would gazump Corbyn and call the vote, they didn’t however. Despite all opposition MPs saying that Boris Johnson should resign and wasn’t fit to be PM they stopped short of calling a Vote of No Confidence to trigger an election. The Government tabled a motion to recess Parliament for their Party Conference next week, they are the only party who have yet to have their Conference, and predictably the opposition spitefully blocked it, however, the Conservatives will go ahead with their conference in spite of it, but it is rumoured that the opposition will do everything they can to disrupt it.

It was reported today that the SNP have come to an agreement with Labour whereby they will support a Government of National Unity with Jeremy Corbyn as PM in return for Corbyn approving a second independence Referendum. This Government will be formed for a period time to gain an extension, have a second referendum which they hope will vote Remain so they can then revoke Article 50 before holding a General Election. This of course will have to depend on rebel Conservative MPs (who have mostly indicated they would abstain or vote against the Government, some even saying they would prefer a hard left Marxist Government to leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement), and the Liberal Democrats who have indicated they wouldn’t support Jeremy Corbyn as PM, but would support someone else. And here is where we get into the most likely campaign strategy for the Government if they can force a General Election in the next couple of months. Whether or not they extend Article 50 the Government’s strategy is most likely going to be the people vs Parliament angle, with Boris Johnson and the Conservatives on the side of the people and the rest the elitist establishment who want to tie the UK into the EU Empire.

This strategy could work, and I am sure those working in Number 10 are gathering the soundbites, videos etc to use, and the most useful for them will be from the Liberal Democrats. Jo Swinson, the Lib Dems leader, has already stated on the record that she would not accept a second referendum outcome for Leave, which most are using as justification for not supporting a second referendum as they believe she would not implement such a vote if she was leader, further the Liberal Democrats have voted to revoke Article 50 if they become Government without a vote, (so this contradicts their previous policy of a second referendum), lastly Guy Verhofstadt spoke at the Liberal Democrat Conference and his speech talked about the future EU Empire, now it is hard to know if the words were chosen incorrectly due to English being his second language, but regardless it does play into Leavers hands on the future empirical ambitions of the EU.

Boris Johnson’s reference to the Benn Act as the Surrender Act is, I believe, part of them positioning for a General Election campaign, it angers the opposition and the more it angers them the more that the PM uses that phrase and the more support he gets. Surrender Act was trending on Twitter when Boris used it, and many Leavers (not just Conservatives) are using the phrase. That is a key thing, May did not have the ability to bring together people from different political views, Boris however is managing to do that, a number of voters in the North of England who are being interviewed are saying they have never voted Conservative, but will vote for Boris.

All in all, I believe that sometime in the next 2-3 months there will be an election in the UK, and the Conservatives will be using the People vs Parliament strategy, it won’t be a formal or official slogan (that is most likely to be Get Brexit Done – which has also been trending on Twitter) but everything said by the Conservatives will be underpinning that message.

 

A UK rethink

While UK Labour are resurgent under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership the Conservatives are trying to manage a mess of their own making.

ODT editorial:  Political lessons not learned

British Prime Minister Theresa May is holding on to power with the slimmest of margins and, if predictions from her own MPs are to be believed, she is categorised as a “dead woman walking”.

Mrs May has literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by calling an early election, seeking a stronger mandate to trigger a hard exit from the European Union — Brexit.

Instead, she witnessed a resurgent Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn, a man previously so reviled in his own party he had to win two leadership challenges and watch as some of his MPs resigned before the election in the “secure knowledge” Labour was doomed.

The snap election was one of the biggest political misjudgements ever.

Mrs May had no need to call an early election; she was secure for another two or so years.

Already Mrs May has been forced to sack key advisers. One of her challengers, Michael Gove, has been reappointed to Cabinet and the other challenger Boris Johnson, instead of being sacked as expected, retains his Foreign Ministry role.

This is a complete shambles for a woman who staked so much on the result of an early election. Her power as Prime Minister and party leader has been eroded.

There are lessons in British political history of parties coming second in the Commons ending up forming a minority government.

The Tories based their election campaign on fear — fear of immigrants, fear of EU influence in the courts and, selfishly, fear of losing control. The electorate rejected the fear politics and looked for a new approach. There is no appetite for more austerity or a hard exit from the EU in Britain. A rethink has been forced by millions of voters.

May is remaining staunch. She has just told the Conservative caucus that she got them into their current mess and she will get them out of it.

But she has lost the confidence of many in her own party.

The final step will be another election later this year.

She has also lost the confidence of voters. If as many predict another election will be necessary soon May could make an even bigger misjudgement staying on as leader – it’s on the cards she would end up taking the Conservatives from a position of strength to a chaotic and embarrassing lost of power.

May in UK: chaotic and unpopular

There are reports of chaos in the UK as Theresa May puts together her new Cabinet, and a post-election poll puts the Conservatives behind Labour.

The Telegraph:  Labour take five-point lead over Tories in latest poll

Labour have gained a five-point lead over the Conservatives following a disastrous general election night, according to the latest poll.

A Survation study puts Jeremy Corbyn’s party on 45 per cent and the Tories on just 39 per cent.

A month ago a Survation poll had the Conservatives 18% ahead on 48% to Labour’s 30%.

The dramatic reversal in the Labour leader’s fortunes comes after the most damaging 48 hours of Theresa May’s career.

A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has also revealed almost half of Britons believe Mrs May should quit as Prime Minister.

A total of 48 per cent of the 1,720 people interviewed between June 9 and 10 thought she should stand down, with 38 per cent saying she should stay.

Mrs May is still reeling from the unexpected loss of seats at an election that she called to “strengthen her hand” for Brexit talks.

The Telegraph: Theresa May begins Cabinet reshuffle as DUP deal descends into chaos

Ireland’s prime minister warns Theresa May DUP deal could put Northern Ireland peace process at risk

Enda Kenny, the Irish prime minister, has said he is “concerned” about Theresa May’s plan to cut a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to prop up a Conservative minority government.

Mr Kenny, who has served as Ireland’s Taoiseach since 2011, said he feared the deal could put the peace process in Northern Ireland at risk.

“Spoke w PM May -indicated my concern that nothing should happen to put GoodFridayAgrmt at risk & absence of nationalist voice in Westminster,” he said on Twitter.

Also:

 

UK: Labour “should have won”

There are lessons from similarities and differences between the UK snap election and New Zealand’s general election.

There has been a lot of left wing rejoicing after Jeremy Corbyn led the UK Labour Party from a predicted drubbing to a respectable loss.

Here in New Zealand some at The Standard have been ecstatic :

Labour excels in the UK

Labour’s performance in the United Kingdom is phenomenal compared to expectations from even three weeks ago. What are the lessons for New Zealand Labour?

Lessons for NZ Labour?

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour just reshaped the political landscape of the UK.

Lessons for NZ?

Lesson 1 – in politics, as in sport, a loss is a loss. In sport “four more years” is a common retort to a losing world cup team. In the UK Labour could face five more years in opposition if the Conservatives manage to survive.

While Corbyn deserves some credit it’s fair to ask whether Labour there could have one the election with a less left wing and unliked (until the victorious election loss) leader than Corbyn. They started a long way behind due to turmoil in Labour under Corbyn’s leadership.

The Guardian:  Labour should have won against May’s ‘open goal’, says MP

NZ Labour ‘should’ win against a nine year Government whose popular leader resigned. But they are still a long way behind National.

Labour missed an “open goal” to beat Theresa May and should not pretend it achieved a famous victory, a former shadow chancellor has said.

Chris Leslie, who was Labour shadow chancellor during 2015, labelled it an “OK result” after Jeremy Corbyn’s party secured a higher-than-expected 262 seats and significantly boosted its vote share.

He added that Labour still lost the election, leaving his Nottingham East constituency, which he held in the election, with a Conservative government “they do not need”, and the party with questions about how to convince voters it can move from “protesting about a government into being the government”.

NZ Labour has similar questions to answer (as do NZ Greens and NZ First).

“We shouldn’t pretend that this is a famous victory. It is good, as far as it’s gone, but it’s not going to be good enough.

“Five years of Conservative government: I just can’t, I’m afraid, be a cheerleader for that particular outcome because this was an open goal for all of us. We should have been getting in there.”

Corbyn has been widely praised for running a good campaign and closing the gap between Labour and the Conservatives, but a loss is a loss.

Challenged if Labour could have won under another leader, Leslie said: “I’ve never known a more beatable prime minister than Theresa May – brittle, I think, very, very wobbly and shaky indeed.”

And at a very shaky time for the UK, which is in the process of exiting from the European Union after a close referendum result supporting ‘Brexit’.

Leslie said a lot of people see Corbyn as a credible prime minister, though stopped short of giving his endorsement.

He said: “We’re in an era of open, honest politics. I’m not going to pretend that I have suddenly changed my views about this.

“You know that I’ve got disagreements with Jeremy on particular issues, whether it’s security, economy. I think we’re past the period where we should be asking people to pretend they’ve got different views.”

So UK Labour does not appear to be exactly united in defeat.

On whether he would join Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, Leslie said: “My worry is, if I was to serve in the shadow cabinet there would come a moment where something would come up which I would disagree with, and these are my principles, whether it is to do with security or the running of the economy.

“I might have to then resign. Who knows what happens?”

Labour united during the \campaign to try to defeat a common enemy, the Conservative government.

But the enemies within the party, or at least significant differences within, haven’t disappeared with a sort of successful election loss.

NZ Labour could learn from this, and especially those to the left of the left who may be convinced that staunchly swinging left is the way to victory.

New Zealand doesn’t have Brexit to deal with, we don’t have anything like Britain’s immigration issues and don’t have their terrorism tensions. And we don’t have Theresa May as Prime Minister. And we don’t have a snap election, we have a routine general election coming up.

We have had 9 years of a national led government, we have a less charismatic Prime Minister after John Key’s resignation last year, we have growing signs of arrogance, and we have a lack of progress on housing issues and Auckland infrastructure (Auckland City Council is at least as responsible for that as the Government).

NZ Labour ‘should’ be in a good position to win this election. However they conceded last year they would require the support of at least one other sizeable party after joining campaign forces with the Greens. And going by recent polls they are still well short of beating National.

Recent elections and referendums around the world suggest that polls and campaigns and election results are increasingly volatile and unpredictable.

UK voters punished May’s Conservatives for an arrogant power play calling a snap election, and an arrogant and poor election campaign – but they were well short of dumping them altogether.

Under MMP New Zealand voters have never given one party a clear majority, they have always chosen to require support from other parties to govern – this is probably partly by voter design and partly by accident.

That’s the most likely outcome of our September election – either National or Labour+Greens will require at least one other party to be able to form the next government.

When National ‘won’ (with the help of some minor parties) the election in 2008 one could have presumed that Labour ‘should’ win back power by 2017, but at best for them it looks like being at least Labour+NZ First or Labour+Greens, and while an Opposition coalition ‘should’ be in a prime position to win they are not, yet at least.

Some Labour in the UK are rejoicing their improvement in an election defeat, and some here in New Zealand applaud that also and hope that it is a good sign for their chances here.

But there are also signs that the Greens in particular and to a lesser extent Labour are resigned to a loss this year and are simply trying rebuild enough now so they can launch a real bid for power in 2020.

Corbyn and UK Labour probably went into their election with a similar longer term view, but reacted well to a pathetic Conservative campaign offering a virtual ‘open goal’. But they didn’t do well enough.

Labour here can’t bank on National stuffing up their campaign as badly as May – National should have also learned from the UK experience.

Labour supporters also can’t bank on their ability to score if presented with an open goal, some of their pre-campaign strategies have been questionable and unsuccessful – several ‘game changers’ have been left floundering at half way at best and have not got anywhere near the goal.

Labour are far from being in a position to win the election here. At best under our MMP system they may be able to put together a multi-party coalition despite the likelihood they will have fewer seats than National.

Labour and the Greens and NZ First are trying to defend three disparate goals, while National has to defend just one, patched up with a few bit players.

The outcome of our election will end up being determined by who voters think are most deserving of and capable of running New Zealand.

Unless voters effectively decide ‘a pox on both their houses’ as they have done in the US and the UK.

A sad indication of the sorry state of Western democracies is that voters are left trying to decide the least worst rather than the best.

That’s certainly how it looks to me in the US and the UK.

Will it be any different here in three months time?

Tory turmoil post-election

Two of Theresa May’s top advisers have resigned after (reportedly) she was told it was them or her who had to go. One Tory MP responded “Rasputin had gone! There is a God. :)”

And there is growing opposition to the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) enabling May’s Conservatives to form a new government after an embarrassing loss of a majority in the snap election.

BBC: Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill quit No 10 after election criticism

The BBC understands the PM was warned she faced a leadership challenge unless she sacked Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.

Labour said the pair had “taken the fall” for the prime minister.

Mr Timothy said he took responsibility for his role in the “disappointing” result and the widely-criticised manifesto package on social care.

The BBC’s assistant political editor Norman Smith said the pair’s departure bought the PM some “breathing space” following 24 hours of recriminations after the Conservatives lost their overall majority.

He said the two were so close to the PM that critical MPs believed that, unless they made way, she would not be able to change her leadership style to adopt a more “outgoing, inclusive, responsive, empathetic approach”.

Mrs May has said she intends to stay as prime minister and is seeking support for the Democratic Unionists to form a government.

But the pressure is still on May.

The Telegraph: Almost two thirds of Conservative Party members want Theresa May to resign as Prime Minister

Theresa May was facing a Conservative grassroots mutiny after leading her party to a disastrous set of election results which saw the Tories throw away their House of Commons majority and forced to form a minority Government.

A snap survey of 1,500 Tory party members undertaken in the immediate aftermath of the election revealed that 60 per cent believed Mrs May should resign and trigger a Conservative leadership contest.

The Telegraph: Backlash against Tory-DUP deal grows as petition hits 500,000 signatures

Over 500,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the Tories not to do a deal with Northern Ireland’s DUP.

The poll hosted by Change.org also calls on Theresa May to resign as Prime Minisiter following the General Election which resulted in a hung parliament.

“Theresa May should resign. This is a disgusting, desperate attempt to stay in power,” the petition reads.

It’s hard to know how much of this is anti-DUP and how much is anti-election result. Snap petitions are a common form of political posturing.

The Guardian: May ‘alone and friendless’ as key advisers resign over election result – as it happened

The election result might be sinking in, but the ramifications are a long way from being played out. Here’s a summary of today’s key developments:

  • After reports that Theresa May would face a leadership challenge as early as Monday unless she got rid of her unpopular chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, the pair resigned. Timothy said that he “took responsibility for the content of the whole manifesto”. One Tory MP reacted to the news of his departure by sending a message saying: “Rasputin had gone! There is a God. :)”
  • Notwithstanding those changes, May has faced a swathe of criticism over her campaign and speculation about her future. Stewart Jackson, who lost his seat, said that the party’s manifesto was “shockingly bad” and “electoral poison”. Former minister Ed Vaizey said that Tory MPs were actively discussing May’s position using the WhatsApp messaging system.
  • Angela Merkel said that Brexit negotiations should go ahead as planned in nine days time despite the political turmoil in the UK. “We are ready for the negotiations. We want to do it quickly, respecting the calendar,” she said.
  • After the confirmation that five senior cabinet members would stay in their posts on Friday, there was no reshuffle on Saturday – though changes could be announced tomorrow.
  • The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson denied reports that she wanted a breakway for the party in Scotland, tweeting: “B****cks”. The report had credibility in part because of Davidson’s success in securing 13 Tory MPs in Scotland. She had already sought assurances from Theresa May that an alliance with the DUP would not mean any compromise on LGBTI rights.
  • The Conservative chief whip Gavin Williamson went to Belfast to begin talks with the DUP “on how best they can provide support” to the government. The former Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson suggested that abortion time limits could be up for debate in the new parliament.

 

What does the UK election mean for NZ?

What does the UK election result mean for New Zealand politics? Not as much as some enthusiasts for a Labour revival here seem to think. The situation in the UK is vastly different to here in New Zealand, except perhaps that they both had unpopular leaders of parties struggling to be liked.

Brexit

New Zealand has nothing like Brexit. The UK is planning to go through a massive change by severing it’s European Union ties, while New Zealand is chugging along fairly well and uncontroversially.

Terrorism and Immigration

New Zealand doesn’t have a terrorism problem, and we also don’t have anywhere near the level of immigration issues that the UK has (many of their immigration issues are closely tied to being in the EU).

UKIP and SNP

The collapse of the UKIP vote and the significant losses for the Scottish National Party (they lost a third of their vote share and over a third of their MPS) and the redistribution of votes to Labour and to a lesser extent the Conservatives has no obvious parallel here.

FPP versus MMP

New Zealand has the moderating influence of MMP, under which no party has ever held an absolute majority and coalition governments are normal and expected.

This is in contrast to the UK which has the archaic FPP system still and the ‘hung Parliament’ scenario was big news. A governing  arrangement between the Conservatives and probably DUP is seen as potentially weak and there have been suggestions the UK may have to go to another election sooner rather than later.

The rise of Corbyn

Some on the left here are seeing Corbyn’s rise, albeit short of a victory, as a great ‘win’ for the left and will be encouraged.

No doubt there will be more and louder calls for NZ Labour to swing further left and campaign on similar issues that were successful for UK Labour. This may well influence Labour here, but it may not turn out to be wise.

Health

One issue in the UK that seems to have been important is their health system. Labour here have health as one of their key issues. Andrew Little has lost credibility over his persistence in talking up (erroneously) health cuts.  I presume Labour will keep trying to get some traction on it.

Housing

Housing doesn’t seem to have been a significant issue in the UK, but it is here, especially in Auckland. That is as much a local body issue as a national political issue but is likely to be a factor in our election in September.

Snap Election

One message that should have been clearly received by New Zealand parties and leaders is the folly of calling a snap election for no good constitutional reason. We haven’t had a snap election under MMP and are unlikely to in the foreseeable future.

Polls

Another key message is that polls are an approximate indication of support only, and they can move quite quickly in a short time in an election campaign.

There are signs also that a significant proportion of voters either don’t give accurate responses to pollsters, or change their minds late.

English and Little

I think in our election a lot will depend on how Bill English and Andrew Little shape up.

English is not very colourful but has vast political and governing experience and has an in depth knowledge of economic issues and a wide range of other issues.

Little is dour. He may find a way of connecting during the campaign, but I think his biggest weakness contrasts with English’s strength – he doesn’t seem to have picked up a huge amount of in depth knowledge of issues, and he is poor at thinking on his feet during interviews. Unless he masters this he may get caned in debates with English, and that may well decide this election.

In fact May campaigned poorly, avoided debates and was strongly criticised for bland recitals rather than sounding intelligent and being on top of the issues. That sounds more like how Little is.

Labour here will get a lot of confidence from the resurgence of UK Labour and the improvement of Corbyn. Little badly needs a confidence boost. He may lift himself after the UK result.

National should also have learned from the UK result, from May’s poor performance, a poorly run campaign, and arrogance.

There are some things to learn here from the UK experience, but there are also  significant differences.

UK election results today

Voting continues in the UK general election at the moment. Polling stations close at 10 pm – UK time is 11 hours behind (their daylight saving time) – so that will be 9 am NZ time.

Polling stations will close at 10pm this evening and an eagerly anticipated exit poll will follow shortly after.

The reason it is so eagerly anticipated? Exit polls are almost always in the right ball park when it comes to predicting the final result.

So we should get an idea from the exit polls mid morning here, with more detailed results coming out through the our day.

Despite the polls closing dramatically during the campaign it seems unlikely they will have closed enough for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour to beat the current Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Telegraph:  General Election 2017 Live: Polls predict Tory win as May and Corbyn vote 

Theresa May is on course to increase her majority in the House of Commons with a final General Election 2017 poll giving the Tories a lead of eight points over Labour as the nation heads to the ballot box.

The Conservatives had as much as a 24 point lead when the snap election was called by the Prime Minister.

But Ipsos MORI’s final 2017 election survey for the Evening Standard, which was undertaken on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, puts the Conservatives on 44 per cent and Labour on 36.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll that was published on Wednesday evening put the Tories on 42 per cent and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party on 35, a lead of seven points.

So it looks like the Conservatives should win fairly comfortably unless there is an unprecedented poll discrepancy.

The results will emerge from the UK during our day here.

EVENING UPDATE:

BBC Summary

  1. General election ends in a hung Parliament
  2. Conservatives set to win 318 seats
  3. Labour predicted to get 262
  4. Theresa May promises ‘period of stability’, but Jeremy Corbyn urges her to quit
  5. Nick Clegg loses his seat, but Sir Vince Cable is re-elected
  6. SNP’s Westminster leader loses his seat

http://www.bbc.com/news/live/election-2017-40171454

There are 650 seats so 326 are needed for a majority, theoretically, but Sinn Fein don’t front up, and as they have 7 seats (at this stage) 323 should be enough.  But May’s gamble has come up short. She may be able to get support from one or more other parties but that weakens the Conservatives considerably, which is the opposite of what May wanted.

A blatant pitch for more power has backfired. The big lesson for New Zealand is the danger of having self serving snap elections.

Final day of UK campaign

Can Theresa May lose what appeared to be an unlosable election for the Conservatives?

Can Jeremy Corbyn claim a miracle victory, despite the Labour caucus being in turmoil before the campaign began?

The Telegraph:  General election polls: Latest tracker and odds

The final General Election polls – all published before polling booths open – have showed that the gap between the Tories and Labour has remained at six points, after a Labour surge that saw the gap close dramatically.

The poll from Survation has the Tory lead at just one point over Labour, while ComRes has it standing at 12 points, as Jeremy Corbyn appeared on the BBC’s Leaders Debate while Theresa May boycotted it.

The Telegraph’s UK General Election polling averages:

UKPollTracker2017

According to the latest forecast by the University of East Anglia’s Chris Hanretty, the Conservatives would still gain a strong majority in Parliament.

Thanks to seat gains in the North of England and Scotland, Theresa May would benefit from a swing of 45 seats and end up with 375 MPs in Parliament.

The election is on Thursday 8 June, with polling between 7 am and 10 pm, so the results should be known sometime during Friday in New Zealand.

UK election campaign

What the hell has happened to the UK election campaign, and in particular the Conservative campaign and Theresa May?

The latest YouGov poll 30-31 May:

  • Conservatives 42%  (was 48% 2-3 May)
  • Labour 39% (was 29%)
  • Lib Dems 7% (was 10%)
  • UKIP 4% (was 5%)
  • Other 7%

The Telegraph: General election 2017: Latest polls and odds tracker

Labour continue to narrow the gap on the Conservatives with one new forecast from YouGov suggesting that Theresa May could actually lose seats on June 8.

At the start of the campaign some polls had the Tories at almost double the vote share of the Labour Party, indicating that the most likely outcome would be a landslide victory that would increase Theresa May’s current working majority of 17 in the House of Commons.

However, May’s lead has dropped from 17.8 points to below 10 in our poll tracker since she called the election on April 18.

Wikipedia: Opinion polling for the United Kingdom general election, 2017

May could end up failing worse than Hillary Clinton.

Theresa May calls for snap election

Missy has details of the big news from the UK overnight:


This morning Theresa May has called for a snap General Election on 8 June. She will take it to the House of Commons tomorrow for the vote, she needs 2/3 majority to overturn the Fixed Parliament Act for this election. Labour have indicated they will vote for the snap election.

She reportedly spoke to the Queen yesterday to tell her of this decision, and discussed it with Cabinet this morning. At just after 11am local time she spoke to media.

It appears the disruptive politics of the opposition parties, and the threats to undermine and disrupt Brexit, has led her to this decision. She is essentially calling the bluff of the opposition who say that the Government has no mandate for their Brexit strategy.

This is a smart move. There was talk a month or so ago that she would call a General Election before triggering Article 50, but when she didn’t, all talk of it stopped. However, by having the election now it means that instead of about a year post Brexit, there will be about 2-3 years post Brexit before the General Election.

There was no indication that she would be calling an early election, though some speculation began this morning when No. 10 said there would be an announcement by the PM, but it was still a surprise to everyone in the media and other MPs. Corbyn was interviewed on GMB this morning and nothing was mentioned about the possibility of a GE.

Theresa May reportedly made the decision over Easter, and has moved quickly on the decision.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/18/breaking-theresa-may-make-statement-downing-street-1115am1/

The radio this afternoon has been interviewing MPs from other parties (all men) who have all been very negative, and suggesting that Theresa May is running scared, and that she wants to have an election before her disastrous Brexit plan becomes public, to be honest they were sounding more desperate and scared than May.


Nicola Sturgeon has claimed that calling an early General Election is a huge political miscalculation because Scots will reject the PM’s divisive agenda. It is a little ironic that she is calling the PM’s agenda divisive since her agenda since last June has been divisive.

Nicola Sturgeon didn’t answer questions as to whether her case for a second referendum would be undermined if the SNP performed worse than in 2015. She claimed that the 2016 Holyrood election result has given her the mandate for a second referendum, however, Ruth Davidson – leader of the Scottish Conservatives – plans to make opposition to a second Independence referendum central to their campaign, and send a strong message that they oppose the SNP’s divisive plan for a second referendum.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/18/nicola-sturgeon-surprise-general-election-political-miscalculation/


Labour seem to be in disarray – again.

There is a lot of speculation on what will happen to Jeremy Corbyn after the election and the expected severe losses that Labour will suffer. Already he is being asked if he will resign after the election if Labour loses seats, but he is not being drawn on that.

One senior Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, said he will not stand in the election due to differences with the labour Leadership, and not long after his announcement another MP, Alan Johnson also said he will not stand again, it is expected that more will follow.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/18/jeremy-corbyn-refuses-say-will-step-labour-loses-snap-election/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4420822/Corbyn-admits-mistakes.html