European election poll puts Lib Dems ahead of the Conservatives

There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

Don’t get too excited, but look at this…

It is only one poll.

Although another by the same company on Westminster voting intention yesterday gave us a similar rise and the Tories a similar fall.

Let’s hope that we are starting to build momentum, because the size of the Brexit Party vote is scary.

It is quite incredible that we have a poll in which the two main parties only command a third of the vote between them.

We’ve had a very good start to the campaign. Let’s keep going and knock as many doors as we can over the next 12 days.

UPDATE: You wait years for decent poll results and two come along at once…


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Nom de Plume 11th May '19 - 8:20pm

    Don’t get too excited about polls. Not long ago they were predicting a Tory election victory. The vote does appear to be more volatile than it was in the past. Do knock on doors.

  • Andrew McCaig 11th May '19 - 9:00pm

    The Brexit Party is harvesting most of tge Leave votes at the moment. 34% for the Brexit Party is nowhere near a majority for Leave

  • Lib Dems up to 14% with Comres for the Euros – also 1% above the Tories (13%)

    Conservatives polling 19% for Westminster with Comres – their worst EVER opinion poll rating – third 1% below Brexit Party – Lib Dems on 14%.

  • 2 polling companies who usually have fairly low figures for Lib dem put us ahead of the Tories for the European elections. Things are changing but there are a couple of weeks to go. My postal vote is safely on its way.

    ComRes not so high for Brexit for Europe, 27%, but just ahead of the Tories for Westminster.

  • Michael Chandler

    The combined UKIP and Tory vote share has fallen over the last couple of months by a bit more than Brexit has risen so there is no pro-Brexit surge.

  • I wonder if the people who are polled understand that “The Brexit Party” is the name of a specific political party and not a generic reference to “any party that supports Brexit”?

  • @Michael Chandler
    “It just seems strange that the brexit party should be polling such high figures when polls for past several weeks have shown that the majority of people are in favor of remaining in the EU. ”

    Could it be the case for some people that although on balance they might prefer to remain over Brexit, does not necessarily mean that they want a complete europhile representing them in the EU who will Kowtow to the EU, they might just feel that should we end up remaining in the EU, they want to ensure that they have an MEP who will act fully in the UK’s interests and not constantly surrender to the EU.
    I have heard from a few people who feel that way, whether there is a wider held opinion on this, well, we shall see

  • Because of the astonishing incompetence of the Government we have this unique situation of one Nationwide Election following 3 Weeks after another (nearly). The Polling boost from Elections is usually temporary but its helping us now, just when we need it. So far all the Polls since The Locals put us in the range of 11%-14%, we need to keep pushing the argument that we are THE Remain Party.

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '19 - 11:00pm

    @ Chris Egerton,

    Any energy the party has is directed at challenging Labour, which is a shame really, given that ultimately it will be the battle between the Labour Remainers and Leavers that will determine whether we remain in the EU or leave.

  • Ashley Pragnell 12th May '19 - 12:26am

    If my memory serves me rightly , since the introduction of a form of PR for Euro elections , we have never got more than 12 percent of the vote. Our best seat tally was 12 in 2004. I think we could get a bigger share of the vote. I think we could get anything from 6 to 10 seats. I would not be surprised if we take two seats in London. I think Tig are being very foolish, if the formed a pact with us , we would be doing even better.

  • Deep breath everybody. Long way to go – keep delivering those leaflets and knocking on those doors. But clearly this is not a bad environment to be doing so. 🙂
    Anyone reading this who is not actually campaigning, maybe this the time to start?

  • Peter Martin 12th May '19 - 8:54am

    @ Andrew McCraig,

    “34% for the Brexit Party is nowhere near a majority for Leave”

    But 12% for the Lib Dems shows there is a majority for Remain? I don’t think so.

    We can add in 4% for UKIP to give 38% for the Ultra Leave Parties.

    Then we have another 3% for CHUK, 8% for Greens to get to 23% for Ultra Remain. Presumably this poll is for England? There’s no mention of the SNP.

    Which would suggest that there are more Ultra Leavers than Ultra Remainers. There are also more than a few Left Ultra Leavers, like myself, who don’t have anyone to vote for and therefore will abstain on the 23rd.

    The 21% who’ll vote Labour and 11% who’ll vote Tory will be the ones who will decide the balance if there is another vote and assuming that the question being asked is one that gives everyone something to vote for.

  • Alex Macfie 12th May '19 - 8:58am

    Chris Egerton: Definitely no debates with Farage! Last time all that did was validate him. There is simply no point in engaging with him or any Brexiteer, as their voters will never vote for us. The important thing is to get our supporters out. Attack, but do not engage.
    Jayne Mansfield: “Any energy the party has is directed at challenging Labour” in other words, we are challenging Labour, which you are opposed to us doing at all. Challenging Labour’s ambiguous policy on Brexit and winning votes from them will be very effective in helping Labour Remainers to win the battle within the Labour party.

  • Alex Macfie 12th May '19 - 9:09am

    matt: Your comment on 11th May ’19 – 10:24pm should a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of MEPs. They do not represent their respective nation states, that’s the Council’s job. They sit and vote according to ideology, so Liberals sit together, Socialists sit together, Eurosceptics sit together, and so on, regardless of nationality. And it’s not a question of “kowtow[ing] to the EU”; the question of whether MEPs are for or against the EU doesn’t come much into decisions they make. Whether or not they support the EU, they vote on any proposed EU law according to its merits, as they see it. This is usually based on ideology, similar to MPs in any national legislature.

  • @Ashley Pragnell

    Actually since 1999 when the current system was introduced our best vote tally was 14.4% in 2004 (when as you say we got 12 seats but equivalent today to 10 as the number of seats was subsequently reduced) and we got 13.3% in 2009 and actually equivalent to 1 more seat – 11.

    I point this out not to be nit-picking but to point out that on our current rating with the famed “d’Hondt threshold” problem we are on the cusp of either getting one MEP or none in a region. It may well come down to the equivalent of one vote per ward across a region. .

    Last time we missed out on an MEP in the South West by 0.4%. Some regions may well be as tight as that again.

    It really is beholden on everyone of us to persuade people to vote Lib Dem – even if you are not an activist – talk to your family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues. May be establish if they are remainers and then get them to switch from Labour (Brexiteers, no referendum, only half-hearted at best for Remain and having an internal battle over Remain) and from Green and CHUK (can’t win an MEP – a poor fifth and a very poor sixth. And point out the problem with the voting system.

    Building up as big a vote behind one Remain party and MEP numbers behind one Remain party is crucial to persuade Labour of Remain and that Remainers and not Brexiteers are winning and the media.

    A talk with just one friend may be what gets us a people’s vote!

  • @Jayne Mansfield

    I appreciate the point.

    But winning over Labour voters will give Labour MP remainers more power to argue for a referendum. And I understand that Labour MP, Lisa Nandy who represents a northern constituency has pretty much come round to a referendum after being dead set against it.

    If all the Green and CHUK voters plus some Labour and Tory remainers were to back us we would now overtake the Brexit Party which would be seen as very significant by the media.

    It is crucial that in Southern (particularly) Tory battlegrounds – Tory MPs are frightened of us and move towards a people’s vote as more are – but especially don’t get frightened by the Brexit party and move towards a no deal Brexit and a hard Brexiteer is elected as their leader.

    But the battleground is especially Labour and how many remainers leave them and how frightened Labour MPs are of us – if that happens we may then get a majority for Remain in Parliament.

  • I think that Tony Blair’s interview just now for Sky News was very, very interesting.

    He came as close as he can that is still compatible with his continued membership of the Labour Party – of saying to Remainers don’t vote Labour, vote for one of the Lib Dems, CHUK, the Greens.

  • Peter Martin 12th May '19 - 10:17am

    “European election poll puts Lib Dems ahead of the Conservatives”

    This headline reminds me of the time my chosen football team lost its first match of the season 2-1, but Manchester United had lost 3-1. So some supporters took comfort in the fact that we were above them in the league on goal difference!

    There should be no comfort in the fact that the neo-fascist parties are on 38% of the vote between them. That should be the headline. It’s not just in the UK. The policies of the EU have led to the rise of the far right and the demise of the left and centre left, in just about all EU countries. So what is it about the EU that is creating this phenomenon?

    You’ll know that I think it’s all a result of the cr*p economics of the EU. I wouldn’t expect you to necessarily agree but you might at least give it some serious thought!

  • 1. The rapid rise of the Brexit party reminds us that Nigel Farage is the only well-known Leave figure beyond the established parties and a highly charismatic media performer.

    In the case that Brexit is not delivered, the Brexit party will conitnue to hoover up Leave voters and will be a very significant player. If it is delivered, Brexit party will lose its point.

    [email protected] Chandler 11th May ’19 – 8:44pm
    “There seems to be something wrong about the polls.
    It just seems strange that the brexit party should be polling such high figures when polls for past several weeks have shown that the majority of people are in favor of remaining in the EU.”

    There is nothing wrong with the polls.

    A majority of the population now say they are against Brexit. But that is perfectly compatible with a strong showing for the Brexit party. They don’t have 50%+ of the vote!!

  • David Becket 12th May '19 - 10:38am

    Stop crowing about 12-14% and get real. Farage is way ahead with his promise to leave the EU and hang what happens afterwards. It is a sad fact that some 40% of the population would leave the EU with no plan or concern for the future of this country.
    The remaining 60% are split from wanting to leave with a deal to wanting to stay in. There is no way to get the 60% voting for a single party. It would help if Labour would commit to a second referendum and Change UK and the Lib Dems would look at some way of working together, possibly each party not campaigning in agreed regions.
    It does not help that our recent press releases concentrate on attacking Tories and Labour whilst crowing about a Change UK MEP who is going to vote Lib Dem. Our only attack over the next week and a bit should be on Farage. A battery of press releases pointing out his inconsistencies and the dangers of No Deal against the benefits of staying in the EU. The most important thing is not how many votes go to the Lib Dems but how many do not go to Farage. This is looking like a rerun of the referendum. We got that wrong and it looks as if we are going to get it wrong this time.

  • nigel hunter 12th May '19 - 10:42am

    For all the Brexit parties,Lab,Con , Ukip Brexit Party voting for them gets an anti EU MEP Voting for Chuk,Greens on low base opinion poll%ages is counterproductive. .If you wish to remain in the EU VOTE LIB DEM ass the message to your friends get on twitter facebook etc and spread the message

  • Jayne Mansfield 12th May '19 - 11:20am

    @ Michael1,
    My great concern is turnout.

    I spend quite a lot of time persuading those who would vote remain, but intend not to vote, that turning out to vote in the EU elections is not a ‘waste of time’, because whether we remain in the EU or not, commenters will draw conclusions about the meaning of the result. I ask them to look at the record of UKIP MEPs that we have had, including Nigel Farage, and check what they did to further UK interests.

    By the way, I think you have cherry picked the part of Tony Blair’s interview that suits your purpose. I agree with him that Labour can still just about, be considered to be a Remain party.

    Tory brexiteers are doing their best to sabotage negotiations between their party and Labour. If the talks to reach compromise break down, I am clear who will be to blame.

    If one really does respect the decision of those who voted leave in 2016, and also the sizeable number who voted remain, it is, in my opinion, at that point that a call for a public vote will be unanswerable. Whether one is a leaver or a remainer, when all attempts at compromise have been abandoned, it will be the only way to deal with the seemingly intractable divisions in our society, and the failure of our elected politicians..

  • Based on the unprompted comments on my FB feed from people who never mention politics it will be a Lib Dem landslide! All a bit anecdotal but Something Seems To Be Happening.

  • nigel hunter 12th May '19 - 12:37pm

    The Conservatives are not our enemy it is Farage’s party AND the BBC. Farage has appeared TWICE on the BBc this week.Question time and today on the Marr show.The more coverage he gets the more the political system leans towards him.

  • Sue Sutherland 12th May '19 - 12:46pm

    I agree we should be attacking Farage but we have to be very careful in how we do it. It might be an idea to compare what Catherine Bearder achieved with what Farage achieved for the ordinary people of the UK. It might be an idea to talk about his friends in the city. It might be an idea to tell people that someone with his background isn’t sticking up for ordinary people, but sticking up for his posh cronies.
    The Sun has a story about Farage walking away from an accident between his car ( a chauffeur driven 4 x4) and that of his local pub landlord who has banned Farage from his pub. He says Farage just walked away from the accident without checking if anyone was hurt. Farage denies this of course but there are several points to this story that would be useful to pour scorn on him with. I think we probably need to use humour in attacking him.
    In case anyone is worried about personal attacks, his party has no policies and it’s been set up so that what he says goes. It’s a dictatorship not a political party.

  • nigel hunter 12th May '19 - 12:58pm

    Sue. I agree with you. Equally way back he was all for the Norway option, he now denies it.Yes point out Catherines achievements versus Farage who has done nothing for the UK.

  • David Becket 12th May '19 - 1:47pm

    @nigel hunter
    The enemy is the BBC, Farage hogging Question Time and Andrew Marr but Heidi Allen banned. Nothing anti Brexit on Andrew Marr. The BBC has broken impartiality rules over and over, and needs to be stopped from behaving in this way.
    I have complained again, but my first complaint only produced weasel words.

  • Chris Egerton 11th May ’19 – 10:26pm…………….I notice Heidi Allen has challenged Farage to a debate. I’m not thinking similar……………….

    Nor me! The last time this party went down that road it gave Farage’s self promotion a kick-start.

  • Bernard Aris 12th May '19 - 3:18pm

    I thought Andrew Marr did a briliant job just now in reminding people of the extreme libertarian (scrap NHS for all-private health care; enable citizens buying guns; how much Ayn Rand & Steve Bannon can the British stomach) Farage once proposed and which he wasn’t denying outright this time.
    I’m not able to see much British TV (only BBC 1 and BBC 2), but I hope more journalists do the same as Marr and remind people:
    #) If the Brexit Party doesn’t want to have an “old politics” Manifesto (he rejected the whole concept of a program)
    #) as long als the Brexit Party is, just like Geert Wilders’ PVV, a one man band
    #) then Farage’s extremist views will lead its behaviour if it ever storms into the Commons

  • nvelope2003 The Bret 12th May '19 - 4:07pm

    Nick Collins: The Brexit Party actually appears near the bottom of the ballot paper just above UKIP because its title begins with the definite article – oh dear !

    Many of the Brexiteers seem to enjoy winding up their opponents as it is just a game of teasing serious people to some of them so attacking them will do no good except to make them feel happy like the sadist with his victim but outright lies do need to be challenged.
    Labour have just announced that EU supporters must vote for them as voting “Liberal” or for the smaller parties is just a waste- this from a party which is negotiating with the Government about the terms for leaving. Ah well….

  • Paul Barker 12th May '19 - 4:10pm

    One of the things we are seeing is the break-up of the old Party Coalitions. Brexit (The Party) represent a part of the Tory coalition that was always there, they are becoming separate. There is no chance of them getting anywhere in Westminster Seats, they have no organisation or members. A big chunk of the Brexit vote are disillusioned Tories, electing people they have never heard of to a body that they dont want to exist, its the essence of a Protest Vote.
    The more the Old Parties break-up, the better we can compete.

  • OnceALibDem 12th May '19 - 4:34pm

    “And please do not waste time attacking Farage. It fuels his ego, will not persuade his supporters and will do nothing to motivate Remainers to vote LibDem: the last are the people you should be addressing.”

    In a lowish turnout election motivating people to vote is as important as changing the minds of likely voters. And is sometimes a lot easier. If an election has you behind 105-95 you can switch 5 voters. Or motivated 10 more people to turnout.

    Younger voters traditionally a low turnout and ‘stick it to Farage’ can be as effective a way of motivating turnout as other messages.

  • @Jayne Mansfield

    “My great concern is turnout.

    I spend quite a lot of time persuading those who would vote remain, but intend not to vote”

    That’s stunning – brilliant work!

    Turnout has been low in Euros and lower still among younger people who obv. tend to be more remain. Those local parties that aren’t should invest some time in telling younger people and EU nationals – where their polling station is, how to get there why voting Lib Dem is a good idea – why Labour, Green, CHUK etc is a waste. Remember that they may be following the football scores but probably not the opinion polls!!!

    “By the way, I think you have cherry picked the part of Tony Blair’s interview that suits your purpose”


    But it is particularly striking – indeed unprecedented – that a former Labour leader and PM should today be basically be saying don’t vote Labour.

    on “respecting the referendum result”

    I do very much appreciate the point and respect your viewpoint And it is one that I have thought very seriously about as a democrat which for me is the most important part of my political outlook.


    1.We do have a general election in the same timescale – every 4 years or so which can overturn all previous laws.

    2. MPs can take decisions against their manifesto position as for example the Tories did over the poll tax if they think that’s best. That’s in the knowledge that they can be thrown out at the next election. So Labour MPs are well within the democratic process to change. And to be fair Lib Dem MPs stood on a people’s vote manifesto.

    3. There are no rules on referendums – nothing says that one can’t been taken again – every few months if wanted. If they want such rules, MPs should enact them. I would prefer a written constitution. And the right for citizens to initiate referendums. They have become almost a third parliamentary chamber.

    4. Democracies work best when they reconsider things and if wanted change course. It’s a bit like a plane is always off-course but is always correcting itself and so gets to its destination. it’s why we have an opposition – specifically termed a loyal opposition.

    But I am sure we will have to agree to disagree!

    Keep up the good work!!! And thanks for that and your contributions to LDV!

  • chris moore 12th May '19 - 5:29pm

    David Becket 12th May ’19 – 10:38am
    “Stop crowing about 12-14% and get real. Farage is way ahead with his promise to leave the EU and hang what happens afterwards. It is a sad fact that some 40% of the population would leave the EU with no plan or concern for the future of this country.
    The remaining 60% are split from wanting to leave with a deal to wanting to stay in.”

    @David Becket.

    Hello, David, your figures are wrong. More than 50% of electors (accoding to opinion polls) now do not want Brexit. The Brexiteers are themselves split between No-Dealers and Dealers.

    You say Change and Lib Dems should co-operate for the European poll . Have you forgotten that the Lib Dems wanted this and Change and the Greens both rejected it?

    We should be campaigning to maximise our vote. That includes pointing out that the Lib Dems are the best placed Remain party and also – like Jo Swinson today – attacking Nigel Farage’s many unpopular and ill-thought out positions. These two approachees are not incompatible.

    BTW I haven’t noticed anybody “crowing” about the Lib Dems polling 12-14% for the Euros. These figures are an advance over recent times, that is all. Frankly, refereshing to get away from the doom and gloom of some previously (before the locals) defeatist posters, who were themselves out of touch with electoral reality.

  • Chris Egerton 12th May '19 - 5:54pm

    @expats @JayneMansfield

    Make these next ten days about us and Farage then. Ignore Labour and it’s internal warfare.

    Call out Farage’s record, his xenophobia, his inconsistency and all the while, you give yourself the chance of an even higher vote.

  • @NickCollins The Brexit Party are 7th on my ballot paper (it’s in front of me now).

    Not sure it matters much – UKIP are usually at the bottom, hasn’t harmed them much.

  • David Evershed 12th May '19 - 7:04pm

    Change Uk see the Lib Dems as their main competitors and main source of potential supporters. Change UK are the Lib Dem party’s prime enemy.

    The European election is the chance for the Lib Dems to consign the CUK party to oblivion.

    We need to do everything to minimise the CUK vote.

  • David Becket 12th May '19 - 7:54pm

    Farage claimed today that May should have gone for a trade deal from the start.
    If I remember correctly the initial negotiations were conducted by that trio of Brexit incompetents. Davis, Johnson and Fox with Grayling in a supporting role.
    It is not Mays fault this collapsed, it is Farage’s Brexit friends.

  • John Chandler 12th May '19 - 9:00pm

    Exactly. May put the Brexiters in charge of the situation right from the beginning: the same Brexiters who were practically tripping up over each other to get away from the result as quickly as possible. The Brexiters are fully responsible for the mess they have created, but it’s always someone else’s fault.

  • Andrew McCaig 12th May '19 - 11:55pm

    Re. EU national voters:

    In Kirklees less than 500 have registered to vote in the EU eldction compared with 5500 in the locals. Some may be voting in their country of origin, but i am sure most have been defeated by a last minute system requiring opt in rather than opt out (i do not blame Kirklees electoral services btw. They gave me as DNO this information by working on Saturday).

    Yet another disenfranchisement

  • Jayne Mansfield 13th May '19 - 9:15am

    @ David Becket,
    I agree with you, all attention should be on the Brexit Party and a light should be be shone on Farage and the former UKIP and Conservative Party members values, attitudes, beliefs and past political pronouncements. In particular their claim that the current UKIP is too extreme and this is the reason why there has been a split amongst the political Right and extreme Right.

    @ Martin,
    Yes it is depressing, but not all of those 34% will be racists, some are so despairing about politics, they want to give politicians of all our mainstream parties a kick up the backside. It is important to point out what that kick will lead to , reminding them of the dog whistles that are the modus operandi of the people they might be intending to give their support to.

    @ Michael1,

    Tony Blair, quite correctly in my view, was arguing that if Labour remain supporters could not vote for Labour in its current form then they should still get out and vote for a party that supported remain. He himself would still vote Labour.

    In my opinion, whether we remain or leave the EU is more important an issue to me than party political issues. However, healing the divisions in our society is also important and one can’t wish away the 2016 vote.

    I sometimes get the feeling that for the Liberal Democrat party’s call for a ‘People’s Vote’ from immediately after a ‘Peoples Vote’, as with the blithe disregard for the deep divisions that we must try to heal, puts party considerations before deep consideration of these issues and any ongoing consequences.

  • In You Gov polls published today, but carried out on the 8th/9th May, Lib Dems are 16% in the UK general election poll and 15% in the European election poll, in 3rd place, just behind Labour.

    Change are on 2% and 5% respectively.

  • @Jayne Mansfield

    Thanks for your further comments on an interesting debate.

    On Tony Blair’s interview

    I think we are in 90% agreement on it! I think the overall tenor of his comments are a tad stronger than you’re putting it, may be a tad weaker than my initial comment but people can judge for themselves.

    For example:

    Sophie Ridge: “This is as almost as close as you get as a former Labour Prime Minister to telling people to vote for other parties other than Labour.”
    Tony Blair: “Well look this is a one issue politics at the moment – effectively.”

    Earlier he had said that Labour did get on the other side of the ledger [to the Brexit Party etc] but only “just”.

  • Nick Collins: My ballot paper shows The Brexit Party near the bottom of the parties just above UKIP. There were several independents which is surprising as there is a £5,000 deposit. Another ballot paper I saw also showed The Brexit Party just above UKIP and there were 11 independents. Is there some advantage in standing despite the deposit or are they after the generous salary and expenses ?
    The latest poll shows a further improvement in Liberal Democrat support now just one point behind Labour on 15%

  • The detail of these polls is very interesting all be it they come with a massive “health” warning that subsamples have a big margin of error.

    But they are showing us at or near first place in London
    (equal with Labour in one, 2% behind Labour in another, further behind in the third).

    Doing well in the South.
    We should get 1 in SW and Eastern regions, and (most likely) two in the South East

    Dramatic improvement in Scotland.
    On 15% with two which would all but guarantee an MEP.

    The Northern and Midlands regions might be dependent on persuading and then dragging out every last Lib Dem voter to get an MEP in those regions – probably one extra vote per ward.

    I know these are tougher areas for us and have higher number of Leave voters but I really would urge our colleagues in the North and Midlands to go at it “hammer and tongs” among Remainers and especially younger voters (not just 18-24 but under say 45).


    It seems that in London 7 “climate emergency independents” are standing. Given it is against each other effectively possibly not having understood the system and certainly not having organised themselves into a grouping.

    AFAIK the only benefit to standing is that you get delivery (for clarity not the printing or production) by the Royal Mail of the “Freepost” “election address” leaflet free and of course you may get some publicity and possibly elected to a well paid job!

  • Paul Barker 13th May '19 - 4:50pm

    Theres a new Poll for London only which gives us 21% for a Westminster/General Election, nearly double what we were on 6 Months ago. Only one Poll of course but it fits with the subsamples suggesting we are doing much better in London & Scotland, the 2 most Remain areas.

  • Matthew Huntbach 13th May '19 - 6:01pm

    Nick Collins (and everyone else who has written something similar)

    Liberal Democrats need to concentrate on maximising the turn-out among those who wish to stop Brexit

    No, NO, NO!!!!!!!

    We need to be actively working to gain the votes not just of those who voted for Remain in the first place, but also those who voted Leave.

    We should so this by showing sympathy for the reasons why many voted Leave -unhappiness with the way our economy has gone, particularly growing inequality in wealth and income – but explaining why this is nothing to do with being in the EU.

    Rather Leave is being led by those who are responsible for our economy getting like this, who are trying to hid it by blaming the EU, while wanting to leave the EU to be able to push it even further that way.

    We need to explain this, and the way Leave has not happened because of the contradiction between the various versions proposed. The extremists want hard Brexit so they can make an extreme right-economy without the protection of international co-operation that the EU gives. I.e. they want our country to be run by and for shady billionaires. We need to come out and say this loud and clear and that voting for Leave means that.

    More moderate forms of Leave haven’t happened because the Hard Brexiteers have opposed it, not just Soft Brexit, but Theresa May’s attempt to form a compromise, which was really the only practical form that could be achieved given that it was done through plenty of interaction with the other nations that we need to work with whether or not we are in the EU.

    We need to explain properly what the EU actually does, how it is organised, how it makes sense for neighbouring countries to co-operate in this way. The MADNESS of this whole situation is that despite now three years of Brexit dominating politics, there has been almost nothing coming out to explain to ordinary people the real underlying facts behind it. Rather, just constant claims from the extremists that we who oppose Brexit are bad people because we won’t agree to what the people of the country voted for, and us in practice giving them support by just going on that we are the ones who support Remain and giving the impression that means the only people we care for are those who voted Remain, without us coming out and actively explaining why Leave won’t do what most who voted for it wanted in terms of changes to the way our country works.

  • @Jayne Mansfield

    On divisions in our society

    I take the point. But the media exaggerates the divisions – if they’re not saying that we’re too divided then they say that we are too apathetic – so the poor British people can’t win with the media!

    Personally I prefer some passion & argument to my politics. Politics – whether you going to send young men & now women to war to die or condemn people to poverty are arguments worth of passion.

    And Brexit will cost the economy £80 billion a year & public services £13 billion. 9 in 10 doctor says it will harm the NHS. So this is an issue of if you or I or one of our loved ones get cancer – may be whether we will live or die.

    On the Lib Dems might have a blithe disregard for the divisions we must heal & we are putting party politics above that.

    See above.

    Brexit will increase divisions & Remain reduce them because Brexit IMHO will harm those “left behind” communities the most. We have in our manifesto a call for a £7.5 billion fund for those disadvantaged areas affected by Brexit uncertainity.

    But beyond that since the 1660s we have settled our differences at the ballot box.

    We have refined that so elections have become less corrupt, suffrage more widespread & the role of Monarch reduced. Since 1975 that has been augmented by referendums. As I say if MPs want a time limit on how often an issue is revisited they should put that in the Referendums Act. As of today they haven’t.

    I’ve no problem having referendums every 4 years or so – having elections that frequently is not seen as divisive – indeed the opposite. We get to argue & resolve things. As it is another Brexit vote will resolve things for Brexit – at least for 10 years! Remain & we’ll probably have another referendum. Not best of three – but the policy remains the policy until it is changed.

    In general I hope that we move towards having more referendums on more issues. As Churchill said democracy is the worst form of Government until you consider all the others. The closer you get to the Athenian model of democracy where everyone could vote on every issue the better Government becomes. The further away from division we move as we can resolve our differences. In 1660, most were scrapping a living with no spare time to debate, many illiterate, & news moved slowly. We have resolved all these barriers to greater direct democracy.

  • Mike Falchikov 13th May '19 - 7:11pm

    On referendums, Most countries who use referenda regularly insist on a threshold e.g. 10% majority before the
    proposition can be enacted. Surely for a constitutional change, such as Brexit, it should be at least that. Anyway Cameron’s essentially frivolous referendum was meant to be advisory and with any sensibly organised vote of such crucial importance 4% was certainly insufficient to make the result binding. Whatever the outcome in the situation we’re now in I would want a”People’s Vote” to decide the issue but as a 100% Remainer I would be willing to risk a threshold of 10% for a decisive result (strictly speaking for a constitutional change of this magnitude it ought to be 60-40 but after the cockup of the 2016 vote that might be a bit too generous towards the Brexiteers!)

  • @Matthew Huntbach

    I have a great deal of sympathy with your view and much of it is an important medium term aim and of course some of it should be done during this election.

    but and it is a big but

    the number of people we are going to get change their mind on Brexit in the next ten days is tiny

    The youngest age groups 18-44 – the most remain – are 20% less likely to say they will be voting than the older age groups according to Opinium.

    45% of “Labour Remainers” are still voting Labour. But we know that if we can reach them with leaflets, knocking on doors – explaining Labour’s real policy we can switch them to us.

    We should be making the positive case as well for Europe.
    A better economy – some £80 billion bigger.
    £13 billion more for public services such as the NHS.
    9 in 10 doctors saying our NHS will be better.
    Collaboration on tackling climate change and pollution
    And European scientific research tackling the terrible diseases that still kill too many of us.

    Our well produced manifesto pages on our website does this. Our great political broadcasts since the beginning of the year have been saying that we are better, united in diversity when we are an outward looking nation as with the London Olympics. I think it was Jo Swinson who said that the British public have come to realise that immigrants are not NHS queue jumpers but often there at our bedside treating us.

    Let’s say all of this and we are – not least in this excellent video from North East Liberal Democrats

    But the next ten days are about turnout and getting Remain switchers from other parties. For the future of this great party of ours. For the future of this great country of ours.

  • @ Michael 1 “And Brexit will cost the economy £80 billion a year & public services £13 billion”..

    Correct, Michael, and as someone who had been a very active Liberal since 1961 I agree with you. The trouble is a lot of people can’t or won’t listen whenever Lib Dems say this – because in the first Coalition budget (supported by the Lib Dems including the Brexiteer MP for Eastbourne who now wants to commit a double whammy – Osborne announced £ 83 billion in cuts.

    There’s still a Lib Dem credibility gap and many people are not listening. Coalition austerity was just as devastating in the run down of public services and the poverty it created as Brexit will be in the future. It fed the anger of the 2016 referendum but
    many Lib Dems don’t seem to get this.

    The public might eventually develop political amnesia (or die) – but ask yourself the question – why do they feel like that.

    Incidentally, I hope the BBC knockers like Mr Cherin were watching the 7.00 pm Channel 4 news tonight. Krishnan Guru-Murthy gave Vincent Cable a disgracefulyl
    interrupting interview tonight – despite which, Sir V. Cable dealt with it politely and reasonably well.

  • Paul Barker 13th May '19 - 8:18pm

    Whether we agree with the Party strategy, its hard not to conclude that its working. On a British scale we are doing better than we have for 6 or 7 Years. In the case of London & Scotland, we haven’t seen Polling figures this good since the days of The SDP/Liberal Alliance.
    We need to keep pushing the message that we are THE Remain Party & keep reminding Labour Voters of their Party’s real position. Lets keep it up, its working.

  • I am curious as to why it’s not being mentioned
    Jimi Kent, chairman of Sir Ed Davey MP Kingston constituency party, has defected to the Brexit Party?

    This is a pretty big deal and shows that the 1/3 of Libdems who voted leave, could still well be alive and kicking

  • Michael 1 13th May ’19 – 7:58pm……………..45% of “Labour Remainers” are still voting Labour. But we know that if we can reach them with leaflets, knocking on doors – explaining Labour’s real policy we can switch them to us………….

    So you know Labour’s real policy; well done!

    Labour are, as near as damn it, in favour of a confirmatory referendum on any negotiated Brexit deal. Keir Starmer says that as many as 150 Labour MPs will never vote for any deal without a public vote, with most Labour MPs on the remain side and Corbyn has said that a confirmatory referendum would be ‘healing’.

    If this party put half the effort into tackling the ‘Brexit’ monster, that two ill advised ‘debates’ fuelled, instead of the comparatively minor differences with Labour there might be hope. Instead we have a party that often seems to want ‘Leave’ to be solely a LibDem achievement.

    The reality is that voters in general do not see Labour as a ‘Leave’ party. A 2017 survey of voters asked what they thought the LibDem/Labour party leaders’ positions on Brexit was (pro-single market or pro-hard Brexit), only Liberal Democrat voters could tell the difference between the two.

  • @expats

    “So you know Labour’s real policy; well done!”

    Well it is a little difficult I concede!

    But as I understand it Labour’s official policy is to support and implement Brexit and have a referendum only if it is a leap year that isn’t divisible by 4 and porcine aviation is achieved and other such conditions and options! (Roughly speaking!)

    And to achieve a referendum we need to frighten more Labour MPs to vote for one.

    On the full yougov poll for London – on those figures the allocation of the 8th and final seat either comes down to either a 2nd one for us or a 3rd one for Labour by 10 votes per ward and it could of course be far fewer on the day!

    And our support is dependent on younger voters who don’t necessarily turnout as much (we are leading in London – just – on 25% among 18-24s). So, drag them out, folks and make sure that they get our leaflets etc. and they are not picked up other household members (i.e. addressed in an envelope to them)

    And other regions could be just as tight – only as to whether we get a seat or not!

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th May '19 - 10:41am

    As it says in the Guardian today, Britain is now the most unequal country in Europe.

    So why does anyone suppose leaving the EU will turn things round and make Britain a more equal country? Yet many people stated they voted Leave because they were unhappy about how our country has become so unequal. So why can’t we actively work to get their votes by pointing the above out? Why instead does it seem we are happy to dismiss them and only go for the votes of those who never voted Leave as a protest vote?

    The growth in the inequality of Britain, as shown by a graph in the Guardian article, started very sharply in 1979. So I think it is very clear that the economic policy pushed by the government elected then and every government elected since has been the cause of that growth of inequality. So why does anyone suppose that Brexit, whose leading supporters are those who want it so that policy can be pushed even further, will help turn the clock back and make Britain a more equal country again?

    Why can’t we come out loud and clear and say this – that leaving the EU will just push us further towards being an extreme unequal country, so if you voted Leave thinking the opposite, please re-think and support us?

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th May '19 - 10:49am


    With little over a week to go, a clear direct message has to be that Brexiters have failed to produce Brexit, they cannot agree amongst themselves and now advocate irresponsible damage.

    Yes, push this loud and clear. The Brexiteers want to blame us, saying we have blocked what the people voted for. No – the real reason is that there are contradictory forms of Brexit, and those MPs who support one of them have voted against the others. So, if we are to Leave the EU, a second referendum is needed to get the people to choose if there is a form that the majority agree to. Or will they, like the MPs, say they rather stay in the EU than have a form of Brexit they disagree with? Let’s also explain clearly how an AV vote would work to allow that – three different forms of Brexit (Hard, Soft and May’s compromise) plus Remain, but the movement of your vote to second choice means that if there really is a majority for some form of Brexit, we won’t have the electoral system denying it due to a split vote.

  • Matthew
    Brexiteers have not failed to produce Brexit. A Parliament with mixed political aims has blocked most of the avenues out of the EU. It’s very typical of Remainers to claim political divisions in the Leave camp whilst squabbling amongst themselves over the contradictory aims of green environmentalism, socialism, economic liberalism, Scottish/Welsh Nationalism. centrism. reformers who want less of the political union and those who want more of it. I actually think Remainers are far more divided than Leavers have ever been.

  • Michael 1 14th May ’19 – 8:56am
    @expats………….But as I understand it Labour’s official policy is to support and implement Brexit and have a referendum only if it is a leap year that isn’t divisible by 4 and porcine aviation is achieved and other such conditions and options! (Roughly speaking!)……..
    And to achieve a referendum we need to frighten more Labour MPs to vote for one…………..

    First para…Plain silly talk.
    Second para…Shout, “Boo”,?

  • Peter Martin 14th May '19 - 11:57am

    It has to be remembered that Mrs May is a Remainer as are most of her Cabinet. The Tory promise in 2017 was that there would be parallel discussions on both a Trade agreement and a Withdrawal agreement. However Mr Donald Tusk disagreed, the Tories were spineless and rolled over. They should have stood their ground.

    I knew than just what a mess we’d end up with.

    If I were being ultra-cynical, I’d say that it was all deliberately engineered to present us all with a “leaving deal” no-one could possibly accept and keep us in the EU as a consequence.

  • Alex Macfie 14th May '19 - 3:13pm

    apropos Jimi Kent: not such a big deal. I’m in the Kingston local party. He was a recent member, and is young, good-looking and charismatic. He narrowly failed to get elected last year to Kingston Council, unlike the other two Lib Dem candidates in the same Ward. Given what has happened since, this is now cause for relief. He was heavily encouraged by the party to play a prominent role; however, I remember him as rather narcissistic. So I think his defection is motivated by ego, not any great principle, and perhaps we are best off without him. We have been unlucky in having two egotistical individuals flouncing off because they didn’t get their way (the other was elected, but went over to the Greens). This is only a reflection in them, not on the local party, and certainly not on Ed!

  • OMG!

    BMG puts us on 19% for the euros – 7% ahead of Tories, 3% behind Labour!

    It does have to be said that BMG is normally the best pollster for us.

  • Richard Underhill 18th May '19 - 9:38am

    There is a general election in Australia. The Australian Labour party is slightly ahead. The outgoing coalition is led by the Australian Liberal Party, but they are not Liberals like us, more like Conservatives. Australia uses the Alternative Vote, preferential, but not the full English STV.
    Japan is not voting today, but has multi-member seats with non-transferable voting. One simple change could improve democratic practice. The Japanese Liberal Democratic Party is the result of a merger decades ago but is more like the Conservative Party. Power corrupts, there have been corruption scandals.

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