Lib Dems overtake Labour in poll

Yes it is just one poll, but a good sign after people have seen our very clear intention to stop Brexit.


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62 Comments

  • It’s a good sign, but as Mike Smithson says you need to wait until mid October to see the underlying shifts as conference season tends to create froth.

    The interesting thing will be whether Labour get a conference boost, or the opposite.

  • But ComRes has us on 23% today as well, although Labour on 24%

  • Which is this poll was reflected in a General Election result would give us a Tory Majority of 60
    Liberal Democrats although getting more votes than Labour, ending up with 55 seats
    Labour on 179 seats.

    Still at least Boris would have a mandate for a No deal Brexit 🙂

  • @Rob think your referring to the IPSOS/ Mori poll rather than Comres?

    @Matt – Swings at the next GE are going to be high on impossible to read. Take London, not an area where the Lib Dem’s have lots of MPs but an area where the Lib Dem’s are polling very strongly. Should I focus on the swing at the last GE? Or on who voted remain and where in the referendum? I suspect the latter is Moore useful now.

    Given Lib Dem’s insiders seem to be predicting anything from 50 – 200 seats I’m in linden to believe that local polling is more useful as it would explain their optimism better.

  • Richard Underhill 19th Sep '19 - 2:46pm

    Another poll put Liberal Democrats on 23% with Labour on 24%, Labour on 24%, the 1% difference is with the margin of error. There is an obituary in the Times for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Northbourne, an hereditary peer who sat as a crossbencher, possibly causing a bye-election in their lordships house, a process which David Steel tried to abolish, in his private members bill which made retirement possible for peers, albeit without financial compensation.
    There is a photograph of seven Lords-a-Leaping.

  • Paul Barker 19th Sep '19 - 2:59pm

    We have 3 Polls today (so far), 2 giving us 23% & the last 20%. We are probably averaging 19/20%.
    Jo also gets a satisfaction rating of 35%, by far the highest (so far).
    Its worth remembering that Parties normally get a boost after each Conference so those 23%s may just be that.
    Or this could be the start of another upward step for us, we will have to wait & see.

  • As long as Boris retains around the 32% Mark and Brexit Party 14%
    and as long as the Labour Libdem Vote remains around 44% combined
    Boris is going to come out with a majority of at least 60

    In fact the more of the 44% share of the vote LD take from Labour, the larger the Tory Majority will become It will not be until around Liberal Democrats taking 29% of the 44% from Labour and leaving Labour on 15% (highly unlikely) that the Liberal Democrats become the 2nd largest party.
    Thats according to https://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/ anyway.

    But still like I said, I am sure everyone will agree that Boris will have a clear mandate and it will be entirely democrat for us to leave with no deal

  • Alex Macfie 19th Sep '19 - 3:50pm

    matt: Your entire analysis assumes Uniform Nation Swing, but this is unlikely to be very useful particularly for Lib Dem support.

  • We are going to gift Johnson a mandate for a no deal Brexit unless we work with ‘pro-remain’ MPs from other parties to lock the Tories out in seats the Lib Dems won’t win but can split the remain vote in. We could see Swinson lose her seat and the Lib Dems split the remain vote with Labour, to gift Johnson an undeserved seat majority with as little as 35% of the vote – a nightmare scenario. A cross-party ‘remain alliance is desperately needed to prevent that. It could even ensure Swinson holds her seat if it includes the SNP.

    The foolishness of either Labour or the Lib Dems taking votes from the other, where there is no chance of winning, is utterly self-defeating under FPTP.

    As for dislike of Corbyn; worth remembering he’s the only reason a ‘remain’ option still exists. had he capitulated to the pressure to support May’s WA, it wouldn’t.

  • Only 2 polls so far today. The ComRes poll was late last week. Average of today’s 2 polls is Con 32.5%, Lab 22.5%, LD 23%, Brexit 12%, so the Conservatives would get a majority if that was the result of an election but it is smaller than the majority polls were indicating when they were at 35% earlier this month. Knock on a few more doors this weekend!

  • Well with opinion polls all showing that attitudes have not really changed over the EU Referendum with results showing 2% either way.
    If this election is going to be primarily fought on Brexit, which we all know it it will be.

    If you want to take it by looking at the areas that voted Remain in the referendum
    With only 127 of the 399 Voting areas supporting remain (I removed Gibraltar)
    The LD will be competing with Labour and a Strong SNP in Scotland
    The fact remains that it takes a herculean landslide for the Liberal Democrats to win a majority.
    The stronger the showing for Liberal Democrats eating away into a labour vote, the larger Tory majority we get.

    If we look to the latest EU election results, yes it was a better night for the Libdems compared to previous years, however, it was a stonking victory for the Brexit Party on 31.6% and with a combined Tory / ukip vote of 44%

    The only real hope for a Liberal Democrat overall victory, would have been for an electoral pack with Labour, however, that was never going to happen. Labour can not afford after nearly a decade in opposition to not make any headway in this election by making pacts and stepping aside in seats allowing Liberal Democrats to strengthen there strongholds and foot soldiers would put Labour in the wayside for another decade and Jo Swinsons attacks on Corbyn would certainly have been the nail in the coffin for any collaboration.

    Dont get me wrong, I like and support the Liberal Democrats policy on revoke, I was actually calling for it on this site before it was announced.
    I just hope in the same spirit of democracy. The party will accept that a Boris Majority will have a legitimate mandate for Leave with no deal also 🙂

  • Neither YouGov nor Ipsos MORI prompt for the Brexit Party, so unless Johnson does a pact with Farage’s party, actual support for Farage’s outfit may be much higher.

    And since the election will be after October 31 now, support for the Brexit Party may increase dramatically if there is that extension.

  • Paul Barker 19th Sep '19 - 4:58pm

    There are some odd ideas floating round –
    such as that The Tories need our approval if they get a majority, they don’t.
    Or that there is some prospect of Labour standing down in some Seats to give The Libdems a clear run, there is no such prospect. Those calling for a Pre-Election Lib/Lab pact should be honest with themselves, it means that Our Party dissolves itself.
    In fact the immediate effect of our Vote rising is that The Tories lose Seats, even if we take more votes from labour.

  • marcstevens 19th Sep '19 - 5:06pm

    No it won’t be democrat? I think you mean democratic. Forty seven million odd people will not have voted for no deal (less when you take out 16/17 year olds and EU nationals unfairly excluded from a non-inclusive referendum)and no everyone does not agree that gives Mr Johnson a mandate.

  • @marcstevens

    So presumably then you are against your own parties policy of revoke without a referendum should they win the General election?
    If it is democratic for Liberal Democrats to revoke without a referendum then it is equally democratic for the Tories to leave without a deal, should they win a General Election and form a majority government.
    You cannot have it both ways.

    Also, it was perfectly proper for EU citizens not to have a vote in a UK Referendum, just as it is proper not to have British Citizens who lived abroad for over 15 years not to have the vote and whilst our voting age is 18 it was perfectly proper not to give 16 and 17 year old’s the vote. The result was LEAVE for those that were legally entitled to vote and decided to do so, that is democracy

  • The question really is what happens by the end of next month. It is possible that there will be an arrangement with the DUP to accept some N.Ireland only arrangements, and some fudge about transition. If so what does Farage do? It is likely that he will pronounce it as treason, and fight on a wide front at the general election. Then the question will be whether he gets a majority. Nothing is certain, except that things will change.
    I hope that the resources are there for us to prepare for all the options, and that those involved focus on a single game plan.

  • Charles Pragnell 19th Sep '19 - 5:39pm

    The polls are all over place at the moment. Labour supporters hate Yourgov, because they say it is owned by Tories, they prefer Panel base and Comres. However Ipsos and Your gov were bang on the money in the European elections.
    I think individual seats are going to behave differently . I suspect that we will push hard in places like Cotswolds, North Devon, Chelmesford , Mole Valley, and the Vale of the White horse. All gains in the local elections, and in the case of Vale of White horse, has more than one parliamentary seats.
    I noted that some think Jo will loose East Dunbartonshire . Two factors to consider Lib Dems polling across Scotland at 14% double 2017, plus Jo was 10% ahead of the NATS.

    I do think we will form an alliance in Wales with the Welsh NATS, on voting in tension they are on 15% and we are on 16%, potentially a vote share of 31 % , Labour are bouncing along at 24 % in Wales and the Tories are at 28%. The unknown across the UK is how The Brexit party will eat into Tory and Labour votes.
    I suspect we could be the beneficiaries of split Tory/ Brexit votes in the South West.

    According to some polling evidence Seats such as Stocksbridge , Bolsover, Sedgefield, Barrow , Stoke Central and Stoke North are going to go Blue. Labour is going to be gubbed by the Tories in the North and in light of polling in London Lib Dems.

    The question is will the greens form and electoral pack. It would be useful in Bristol , Oxford East, Norwich ext. Also according to Northern Ireland polling, The Alliance Party is likely to pick up South Belfast and possibly one other. Traditionally the Alliance party is our sister party. We could win seats in the strangest of places.

    Remember 1997 , we started the campaign on 10% and in the end had 17% and 46 MPs.
    Starting an election in the low twenties could lead to a surge during the campaign . If we did get beyond 29.5 % of the vote, our gains are in the hundreds. The target to beat is 158 in 1922.

    The other question

  • nigel hunter 19th Sep '19 - 5:45pm

    I do know the party has to beavor away to get ABOVE 30%. As a result we have to KNOCK ON DOORS DELIVER LEAFLETS WITH OUR POLICIES explained (also on the net). We will get little help from the media. \it is all down to us.WE SHOULD BE CONCENTRATING ON KNOCKING THE TORY VOTE.

  • Some interesting analysis of today’s polls from the ever-green Mike Smithson on twitter. Two particularly notable points:
    “Worrying data for LAB. In net terms LD leader Jo Swinson is looked on more favourably by GE2017 LAB voters than Corbyn is. He is on net minus 6 from those who voted LAB last time while Swinson is on a net plus 10% from the same group.
    and
    “Today’s poll with the LDs ahead of LAB in second place is fuelled by support among Remainers, with 41% of those who voted against Brexit in 2016 backing the party. This up eight points in a week.”
    The YouGov poll of course is now mirrored by a remarkably similar Comres poll, both taken after our conference.

  • These results may well be a conference bounce, but as we had far greater, if not always accurate, coverage than normal, we are entitled to be pleased.

    I agree we should factor in pacts and tactical voting and surprised some posters here are unaware that this is something the party has already been doing. Unfortunately Labour have been resisting for some time and we’re kidding ourselves if we think they’ll change tack any time soon at the leadership level. We saw local voters doing it off their own backs in Brecon, and we must hope for similar at a general election. However, that’s always an easier sell at a by-election and there was no doubt over who was in the best position to beat the Tories.

    We must also take the opportunity to use the vote share to seat share analysis to point out the anti democratic nature of FPTP and benefits of STV in not splitting the vote

  • Ross McLean 19th Sep '19 - 5:56pm

    Charles Pragnall – In the 1987 election I recall our then leaders (the 2 Davids) actually went to Northern Ireland to campaign with the Alliance party. They didn’t win a seat – and didn’t really expect to – but it was a gesture to show that we recognised our links with them.
    I’m not sure if subsequent LibDem leaders did the same (Paddy maybe?) but I think it would be great if Jo went to campaign for a day with Naomi Long and other Alliance candidates in the coming GE. It would probably help them a wee bit, showing the Alliance is part of a wider Liberal family, and would probably help Jo as well – showing that we care about the impact of Brexit there.

  • Nonconformistradical 19th Sep '19 - 6:00pm

    @Ross McLean
    Jo was making the point in her conference speech that she had actually – unlike bojo – actually visited the border area and talked to people living there.

  • Laurence Cox 19th Sep '19 - 6:23pm

    @Charles Pragnell

    That 46 MPs on 17% of the vote is misleading because it was largely a result of an unofficial arrangement between the Lib Dems under Paddy and Labour under Tony Blair. Blair was afraid that he would not get an overall majority so encouraged Labour not to work hard in seats where we were second to the Tories. The 1992 election where we had 22 MPs on 22.6% is a more realistic base.

  • Locals today might be 4 gains!

  • Paul Barker 19th Sep '19 - 6:55pm

    If we want to form or at least dominate the next Government then we need to get over 30% & be a least 3% ahead of The Tories. Those extra Votes will have to come from Labour & The Tories, its going to be a nasty fight.

  • @Ross and Nonconformistradical, I recall when Jo did visit the Irish border that she was there with a representative of the Alliance Party. I forget who, I think someone who would otherwise have been at Stormont. I know that in this part of the world it was covered as Jo actually visiting the border and listening to the concerns of locals, along with a local politician from our sister party, but I’d be interested to hear how (if) it was covered in Northern Ireland.

    I’m aware of mutterings that Sinn Fein will stand down in some seats in the event of a snap pre-Brexit general election if it means the DUP are less likely to win. I’m not sure how that will go down with their supporters, or those who support the Alliance because of their apparent neutrality from the bickering between the DUP and Sinn Fein, but I suppose anti-Brexit moderates will be happy enough.

    I did read some polling recently that suggested that the Alliance Party were on course to pick up one Westminster seat from the DUP without any deals, and I think this is an area of Westminster arithmetic that is usually overlooked.

  • “Locals today might be 4 gains!”
    Theakes, I assume you are jesting, but let’s not get peoples hopes up! I would expect decent increases in our vote shares in all tonight’s contests, but we are unlikely to make that many gains. The Somerset ward should be OK, but we’d need swings of 22% in Wiltshire, 18% in Canterbury, 24% in Fulham (from 3rd place), 33% in Liverpool (from 4th place) and 26% in North Lanarkshire from a standing start.
    To gain any one of these would be brilliant, two would be amazing, three absolutely stunning, and I don’t think there are words for four! Let’s enjoy whatever increased vote shares we get and not raise expectations because all that does is make great vote increases look disappointing, and unbelievable victories look predictable.

  • Richard Underhill 19th Sep '19 - 8:47pm

    The DUP are not representative of Northern when elected under First Past The Post. Democratic in Name Only. The very least that should happen is that the devolved Assembly should meet and continue with the process of trying to form a devolved government.
    Farage has said that he intends to stand 650 candidates, several of which are currently held by Sinn Fein. Gerry Adams was elected to the Dail and will presumably not stand for Westminster.

  • Paul Holmes 19th Sep '19 - 9:32pm

    @Laurence Cox. Why is 1992 (22 MP’s on 22.6% of the vote) a more realistic base than say 2005 when we elected 62 MP’s on 22% (our best result since 1992) or indeed the less good 2010 when we elected 57 MP’s on 23% of the vote?

  • Bill le Breton 19th Sep '19 - 10:00pm

    It is the Brexit Party that will eat away at both the Tory and Labour votes.

    The ambivilance of the Labour position will ensure that they won’t be the remain champions in the so called ‘northern’ heartlands … We shall be. And we shall be the obvious remain champions elsewhere south of the boarder.

    It is Labour who need to make way for us.

    Anyone still going on about us letting the Tories in and needing to give way to Labour is a fxxl or a [email protected]

    A vote for Labour is a vote for Brexit, either by letting in the Brexit Party or the Tories or giving Corbyn a Parliamentary group facilitating a Labour splitting leave vote in a future referendum.

    Have a look at the demise of the Liberal Party in the 1920s to see what will happen to Labour over the next 10 years. They have their Lloyd Georges and their Asquiths.

  • Bill le Breton 19th Sep '19 - 10:08pm

    This is why it is a non starter to give any candidate fighting under the Corbyn whip/leadership any support.

    Leave Labour now and join us if you are a remainer today.

    I wd give them 10 days from now to make that decision. Or 10 days and one conference to make their Party Corbyn free and unconditionally pro remain.

    Simple. The clock is ticking.

  • Spencer Hagard 19th Sep '19 - 10:09pm

    Labour polling consistently in 2nd place since Johnson became PM has suited the Tories well.
    ‘Marxist, Hamas-loving, bogeyman Corbyn’ is a gift that appears never to stop giving. But it could rapidly lose value for the Tories if the Lib Dems were to become established in second place, consistently ahead of Labour by, say, 5%+.
    That would surely open up to Lib Dem persuasion the substantial ‘moderate’ flank of Tory voters, and offer huge potential for Lib Dem success to build on itself, as Tory campaigning against Corbyn became ever more irrelevant.

  • Looking at Andrew Teales previews on Britain Elects I can only see one likely “Gain” & that should really be a Hold, The Tory Candidate only got in last time because we only stood one Candidate in a Two-Member Ward.
    The Vote shares will be interesting in themselves but I will probably not stay up to catch them. Tomorrow is another Day.

  • Bill le Breton 19th Sep '19 - 10:36pm

    3rd and final piece of the jigsaw. Jo should demand Labour join the Revoke pledge when it decides it’s policy at Conference.

  • Marxist, Hamas-loving, bogeyman Corbyn’ is a gift that appears never to stop giving. But it could rapidly lose value for the Tories if the Lib Dems were to become established in second place, consistently ahead of Labour by, say, 5%+.”
    … err
    “If a Brexit deal is passed in the Commons, Jeremy Corbyn’s team believe they can kill Tinkerbell: Swinson would lose her only political weapon and Labour could focus better on years of Tory cuts.”

    Wake up, the smell the coffee.

  • Basically, last time the EU expected parliament to vote for the deal on offer. The EU were caught by surprise when parliament didn’t accept the deal and the EU had to agree an extension. This time they are prepared and they want to get rid of the UK. They now understand how unacceptable no-deal is to the majority in parliament, so this time the offer is ‘no extension, accept the deal or you will get no-deal’.

  • Teejay,
    If Brexit happens then starts the hard negotiations and Labour will flip flop about over that too. O how they want Nelly the Brexit elephant to stop dancing, ironically only revoke gives them that. But you cry “the Brexiteers will be unhappy” and yes they will be but they are in a small minority, most people will go back to caring not much at all about the EU. So if I was Labour revoke, offer some platitudes to the “Mad, Sad and Bad” obsessed with Brexit and major on austerity. Unfortunately for them they lack the wit or guts to do that.

  • Tony Greaves 19th Sep '19 - 11:18pm

    Ignore assertive trolling by opponents on polls. A key issue is whether the Tories can sustain over 30% in the face of a strong Brexit challenge. And uniform swings go out of the window in a four party situation (in England anyway).

  • Roland Postle 19th Sep '19 - 11:45pm

    @TeeJay
    I can’t see how that strategy (playing chicken with no deal and actually following through on it) is going to go down any better in Ireland than it has gone in the UK over the last couple of years. So, as frustrated as the EU may be, it’s a hollow threat. (In fact it’s a whisper of a rumour of a threat which could have been planted in the media by anyone).

    Still, Labour have other reasons for wanting a deal as you noted. I don’t want to begin to guess how the electorate would react to Corbyn enabling an open-ended and potentially very hard Brexit. Maybe he’s desperate enough to roll the dice at this point.

    The supposed loophole in the Benn act may weigh heavily on MPs minds if a deal is being considered. The loophole could be closed by legislation. That would require either the government to support fixing the Benn act, thus harming it’s own ability to take us out without a deal. Or it would require the ‘rebel alliance’ to fix the Benn act, thus enabling a blind brexit without a referendum, which many don’t want. Potentially another inexplicably confusing stand-off in Parliament. Or maybe Johnson can roll together the required legislation so that a deal is approved and ratified in one go?

  • @Tony Greaves
    There is unlikely to be a Lab LibDem deal. One with the Greens is possible but not game changing.
    However, Johnson and Farage could (perhaps already) be cooking something up so with the Remain / Left split things might not turn out so well.

  • Bill le Breton 20th Sep '19 - 7:14am

    Tony is right. “Ignore assertive trolling by opponents on polls. A key issue is whether the Tories can sustain over 30% in the face of a strong Brexit challenge. And uniform swings go out of the window in a four party situation (in England anyway).”

    The crucial question is whether when/if an election takes place are we still in or out of the EU.

    It is safer for us to continue campaigning as if we are still in and therefore as if The Brexit Party is active and acting independently in the field.

    In which case it will be taking votes from both Tories and Labour, and our best guide to where our own political frontier is will be the Euro elections.

    Every Labour vote is tilting the balance towards exiting the EU. Thus the remain vote is not divided. It has only one champion, the Liberal Democrats.

    This is the once in a century shift in politics. If things do not change radically from how things stand, we must end the next election ahead of Labour in numbers of seats.

    Ignore the trolls. Ignore the siren voices. Labour is fighting for its very existence. And trying to use us in that fight. They are a drowning man hanging on to us.

  • Have you ever heard about the right-wing propagandist Youtube media Prager “University”? Their method involves using short, simple but hard-hitting videos to spread their propagandas, with a special focus on children and those who don’t know (thus very dangerous), and they are reaping huge success (2 billion views worldwide). If you take a look at the Brexit Referendum, you will realize that the Leave Campaign used this playbook (“Take back control” for example).

    The Liberal Democrats and the Remain Camp must adopt similar strategies. Using sophisticated facts and evidence is great, but in a populistic battle, we will lose against demagogues. We must simplify our messages. And there was precedence for us. In the 1906 election, our “Small Loaf, Big Loaf” slogan was simple but very effective and very appealing to the working class.

  • Indeed Thomas, we can see the debilitating effect populalism has, you only have to look at our resident Brexi’s ( and especially the Lexi’s) who can utter simplistic slogans and wants, but when faced with facts or simple questions run away. Now how do you tackle them, be “nice” say some, but I fear it is to late for “nice”, it just emboldenes them and gives them a degree of credablity, they so desperately crave ( quite a few are also desperate to be liked, “Please like me, tis good old [insert name]”, they cry). So how do we tackle the outriders of populism, keep our arguments simple and when they try to guilt trip us by saying “That isn’t nice, you’ve called me stupid and that isn’t nice” reply “No it is not nice but it is accurate and true, you are a shining example of stupid”. Fail to call out the populalists and fail will be your epitaph.

  • Richard Underhill, Having looked at the Wikilink you posted yesterday to the entry about the late Lord Northbourne it appears that we are not going to have the excitement of a byelection because he had retired as a cross-bench Lord in 2018 and been suceeded by Rupert the current Lord Carrington.

  • @frankie
    But they will reply “It’s not me, it’s you. You are the mother lode of stupid, with bells on.”
    It’s your turn now.
    But I don’t see where your approach gets us.

  • Where does pointing out they are stupid get you. Well firstly they know where they stand as far as you are concerned “they are stupid”. But what good does this do, well as most of them are incredibly thin skinned, it rocks them back on their feet, but more importantly it gives people looking on pause for thought, they may well think “Well he has called them stupid and actually he has a point they are stupid”. Failing to point out their stupidity because well it isn’t “nice” to point that out ,unfortunately what is obvious to us may not be obvious to others, so it needs to be hammered home. Keep the message simple, keep it clear and don’t be afraid to offend. But, but that is the right wings playbook and so it is and they win, so stop taking a quiche to a knife fight and invest in a gun a very large one at that.

    Final though
    No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.

    Aneurin Bevan

    Not nice, but O so accurate and O so remembered.

  • There aren’t any people “looking on” anymore. Only the relentlessly escalating “them and us” which you loudly, and angrily, proclaim is our nation’s best path.

  • marcstevens 20th Sep '19 - 7:46pm

    My memory must be failing me then as I can’t remember Mr Johnson’s Party campaigning to leave without a deal in the last election and he wasn’t elected as PM in this one. In fact his party does not have a majority so taking the UK out of the EU without a deal is also undemocratic as he has no mandate for this in parliament and UKIP as was then did not get a majority of seats in the last GE. No it isn’t democratic not to give EU citizens the vote in the EU referendum when many of them pay taxes and contribute to the economy in the same way that Commonwealth citizens do who were allowed to vote. Your version of democracy seems to exclude people and is against inclusion. By the way 16/17 year old were allowed to vote in the Scottish Referendum so it would’ve been perfectly possible for them to have been given the vote in the EU one but then Leavers like Farage were very much against this. It seems that Scotland is more inclusive when it comes to who can vote in a referendum. And there’s no need to shout your view on the referendum when replying to me as I wouldn’t do to you, many thanks.

  • @marcstevens
    Marc it is usually helpful to say at the beginning of the post who you are talking to or replying to, it makes following the thread a lot easier.

    You did not answer my question though, presumably you also believe it would be undemocratic of the Liberal Democrats to revoke article 50 without holding a referendum should they win a general election?

    And no I absolutely do not believe in EU citizens having a right to vote in EU elections in the UK unless they have applied for settled status in the UK, why should a citizen of another country be able to shape the future of the country that they are not a permanent resident of? How on earth is that democratic.

    I do believe that anyone not just common wealth citizens who has obtained settled status or permanent leave to remain should be able to vote in all elections, but I do not see the reason for any special treatment for EU citizens.

    And I do not have a problem with lowering the voting age to 16, however, it is not the law as it stands today or at the time of the referendum, and hence, that does not in anyway invalidate the referendum.
    If Votes for 16 year olds was so important to the Liberal Democrats then it could have been part of their manifesto in 2010 and as a redline in the coalition agreement and as part of the reforms that the party wanted to make.
    I do not recall this ever being mentioned back then.
    It seems to only become an issue after a referendum was lost and is being used as a false argument to delegitimize the result

  • It is the difference between the Conservative vote and the Liberal Democrat vote that has normally determined the number of seats gained/lost. Between 1983 and 1992 the Conservatives were polling about 42% and the Liberals between 25% and 17% but in 1997 the Conservatives dropped to 30.7% and the Liberal Democrats got 16.8%. Hence the increase in the number of seats from 20 to 46.
    The Conservatives are at about 33% now and the LDs are at 23% so there should be a substantial increase for the latter if this support is maintained. We live in hope !

  • Paul Holmes 21st Sep '19 - 1:19pm

    @Dennis Wake. Not that simple though.

    You also have to take into account the serious Target Seat strategy that brought us our 3 successive ‘best ever since 1922’ results in terms of number of MP’s elected, first in 1997, then 2001 and then culminating in 62 MP’s in 2005. 1997 was against a collapsing Cons Government -but those votes could just as easily have collapsed to Labour but for strong ground campaigns in Target Seats. In 2001 and 2005 the successive best ever increases were against a Labour Government whereas received wisdom had always been that we only normally do well against declining Conservative Governments.

    National Opinion Poll ratings/ General Election vote shares simply do not automatically translate into seats for smaller Parties in a traditional Two Party/FPTP system. Remember the record 25.5% in 1983 that gave us only 23 seats or UKIP’s 12% in 2017 that gave them zero seats. Or indeed our 1% increase in our vote in 2010 that nonetheless saw us suffer our biggest net loss of seats since 1970 (until 2015!) due to temporary Cleggmania resulting in massively over optimistic ‘Targeting’.

    Targeting seats does not mean applying the word to somewhere chosen on a hunch. It means serious input of scarce resources such as money, activists and professional support into seats where the Local Party is already campaigning at a high level.

  • Dennis Wake 21st Sep '19 - 9:27pm

    Targeting may help but most Liberal Democrat gains were from the Conservatives until 2005 and coincided with a higher increase in the LD percentage vote than that for the Conservatives – about 1.5% and 3.7% compared to 1% and 0.7 % for the Conservatives. In 2010 the opposite occurred – the Conservative percentage increased by 3.7 %, the LD vote by 1% and the number of LD seats fell by 5 – 13 to the Conservatives compensated by a gain of 8 from Labour. In 2015 and 2017 the LD vote fell to about 7.9% / 7.4 % and the Conservatives rose to 36.9 in 2015 then 42% in 2017. The LDs lost 5 seats but gained 3 seats in Scotland from the SNP and 5 seats in the strongly remain parts of the South East plus Bath – probably due to targeting which needs a huge amount of resources and can only have a limited effect when there is no overwhelming change in public mood. Of course this could change in our favour if present trends continue. A collapse in the Labour vote would enable the Conservatives to gain a majority in the House of Commons even if they lost seats to the Liberal Democrats but not if they lost hundreds as in 1906 !

  • David Evans 22nd Sep '19 - 8:00am

    Dennis, I think you are missing Paul’s point, which is the whole point about targeting. Yes there was an increase in our vote and a fall in the Tory vote 2005, but it is nothing like enough to explain the massive increase in our seats over the period. In most seats up to 2001 we were miles behind the Conservatives – much more than could be overcome by the swing in the national share of the vote.

    Those we had won from the Conservatives up to 2001 had been won by a small scale targeting strategy – by-election seats, the South West, and rural clusters in Scotland and Wales. 2005 was a breakthrough because of rigorous targeting of key seats and 2005 likewise.

    In 2010 we lost seats because despite Cleggmania, the party structures set up by Nick in 2008 could not cope with the surge in enthusiasm and enough people left target seats which they thought were safe and went to support nearby seats they believed we could also win. As a result, we lost previous holds and didn’t win the new unofficial targets.

  • I have played with the percentages in a tool for predicting the result of the next general election and with us on 37% and the Conservatives on 20.5% and Labour on 18% we end up with 317 MPs this is based on uniform swing. If I reduce us to 33% and increase the Tories and Labour to 22% we only end up with 148 MPs. It is these 148 or so seats which we could target. I wish all these seats would be our target ones.

    In 2015 we had difficulty in targeting whatever number was decided upon (I suppose about 70). In 2017 we did better but the number of target seats was much reduced. We should be able to target more seats than in 2010 and 2015 as we have more than double the number of members we had in 2015 and getting close to double the number we had in 2010.

  • Bill le Breton 22nd Sep '19 - 5:34pm

    We shall not know the bedrock political frontier of the next election until quite late – it’s major forces forming it are the likely strength of the Brexit Party which is to be determined by whether UK is still in the EU and how Brexiteers react to Johnson failing to honour his leadership campaign pledge.

    A full on Brexit Party campaign will take votes from both the Tories and probably from Labour. This loss of Labour votes to TBP depends on Labour’s policy and Leadership, which again may be determined later than we think.

    That position also strongly influences our vote given that poor Labour policy positioning and Leadership will see other former Labour voters coming to us.

    What’s to do? For me the model should be Kingston on Thames 1997 which was not a target constituency in one of the best run targeted campaign. For their to many many Kingston’s this time ‘self-starting’ campaigns must be encouraged to ‘have a go’.

    They may not receive much funding from ‘outside’ but they shouldbe allowed to use whatever local funding they can raise because many local funders like and prefer to have their funds used locally. This does not take from the national pot. Lots of people, relatively well off and new to political donating stipulkate that their funds are used locally and would not otherwise give.

  • Bill le Breton 22nd Sep '19 - 5:48pm

    In 1983 and 87 ALC, as then was, did not think much of national campaigns and so produced a general election mailing that went out twice a week to all constituencies. Something like this needs to be done this time so that every seat can have access to a sophisticated electronic campaign and the skills to ‘localise’ them.

    In this way, the ‘have a goes’ can campaign in a smart way and in a way that chimes locally and with the central campaign. It will be possible (one hopes) for the central campaign to pick up those campaigns that are gaining traction and to begin to direct campaigning ‘opportunities’ to these seats.

    A good campaign along these lines will see the frontier moving wider during the campaign . With seats moving from frontier status to ‘inner territory’ seats and new ‘frontier seats’ coming into being.

    This type of campaign would not have been possible even ten years ago, but it can be made to work now . NOT using such a approach will be wanton waste of our potential. The horror show is winning 80 seats under the old system with 20 unsupported ‘Kingstons’ coming in of their own accord, but a further 50+ totally unidentified opportunities coming in 1 – 500 votes short.

  • Paul Barker 22nd Sep '19 - 6:11pm

    Its worth noting that 3 out of the last 4 Polls have Us broadly level with Labour. If we are going to break through, the first stage is pushing Labour into a clear third place. If we can get most Voters asking “Tory or LibDems” then their answer may come as a shock. For most Voters it will be a New Question, one they haven’t given any real thought to before.
    On the necessary Voting levels, I think we could get majority with 33% or less, as long as we are 3% in front of The Tories. We also have to be along way ahead of Labour but that looks easier to achieve once we have clearly pushed ahead of them in The Polls.

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Sep '19 - 7:44pm

    John Payne 20th Sep ’19 – 12:13pm
    Thank you.
    The late Lord Carrington was elected as a county councillor. When he came to the NLC to look for support for their Lordships House I challenged him on it, quoting his memoirs.
    He also had things to say about Margaret Thatcher, having also served under her Tory predecessor Edward Heath.
    He served in the army in tanks.

  • Bill le Breton,

    Kingston was a second tier target seat in 1997. So they received some outside support but members were not encouraged to go there to help. It was not a “self-starting” seat. It had recognition from both the Federal Party and the Regional Party.

    If we assume a membership of 250 how many houses can such a local party canvass on their own as well as delivering 40,000 plus leaflets a week? I think it would take them all their effort to deliver the leaflets and so we would have no idea if we are getting close to winning the seat.

    If 250 local parties did this, then I expect the number of people helping out in the target seats would be greatly reduced as these seats might provide a majority of our mobile resources.. This reduction could turn some seats from victories into loses. Neither 1983 nor 1987 were great results for us because we didn’t do targeting as well then as we did in 1997 and after.

  • Dennis Wake 23rd Sep '19 - 9:17am

    I thought the person responsible for the effectiveness of targeting had left their post for personal reasons. Have they been replaced by someone equally effective ?

  • Labour’s worst result (seats and votes) of modern times (post WW2) was in 1983 when they took around 28% of the vote and elected just under 200 MP’s. Our best result (in terms of votes) in nearly a century was 1983 when we took 23 seats on 25.5% of the vote. In terms of seats it was 2005 when we took 62 with 22% of the vote.

    We are currently averaging around 18/19% in the Opinion Polls yet people are talking of Parliamentary majorities or at worst winning seats in the hundreds!

    Also worth noting that pinning the label ‘Target’ on a seat does not mean a thing unless scarce resources of money, activists time and professional support go into backing up an already strong and high profile local campaign. Between 1997-2017 not a single seat has been won by us that was not a Target except for Kingston in 1997 where Ed and his team fought it as if it was a Target – they certainly didn’t ‘come out of nowhere in the last 4 weeks of the campaign.

  • The whole problem is that we are so hidebound by the Renard strategy that worked well in its time that we cannot see that the next election is a quantum change from any we have fought before. Due to the vagaries of FPTP we just don’t know what seats will be winnable since with up to 4 or 5 serious contenders mean that seats can be won with as little as 21%.
    If we play safe we could win between 50 and 100 seats and some would see that as a great advance, but it probably won’t stop Brexit.
    We must be bold and go out to recruit volunteers and money on a huge scale. I believe there are thousands of people waiting to be asked to volunteer for us and the party has finally acknowledged this and appointed someone to lead that drive. I also believe that there are many many big donors out there if we but only ask them. I have heard that we are trying to raise £6-7 million. That is chicken feed if we are to run a truly national campaign. We must raise our sights and aim for £50 million if we are to have any chance of stopping Brexit and remaining in the EU.

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