Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


The lead of “Brexit Wrong” in the YouGov tracker drops to its lowest level since last December

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

The good news Johnson continues with a 42% CON share from Kantar

But voters want the final deal to be put to a public vote

Mike Smithson


The first YouGov for a fortnight sees CON/LAB/LD holding pretty firm

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019


By a small margin punters think the next general election will happen before Brexit

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Chart of Betfair Exchange from

We’ve discussed the timing of the next general election a fair bit on PB and my guess is that we’ll return to it quite often in the next few weeks.

It might not be as easy for a general election to be called as many seem to think. For a general election to take place the Fixed Term Parliaments Act makes it a requirement that two thirds of the entire House of Commons, 433 mps, vote for it.

The problem here is that there are quite a number of MPs in the main two parties who are very much split on Brexit and it might be that you won’t see the same level of unity in either party backing a proposal to go early as happened with Mrs. May in April 2017.

Given current Scottish polling has the Tory position north of the border looking dire maybe not many Scottish Tories would support a BJohnson general election motion. The same could apply to those seats where the LDs, who’ve tripled their GE2017 vote according to several polls, are in contention.

We have a reports of rebels in both the Tories and LAB who are not prepared to follow the leadership line on Brexit related matters. Quite how we quantify this is hard the say but given that some MPs, by voting for an early election, could be voting to deprive themselves of their income and their standing as members of parliament than it could be harder than it appears.

The LAB threats to deselect certain MPs by imposing mandatory re-selection is hardly going to help things.

The other way an election can be called is by the Tories losing a confidence vote which is not rescinded within two weeks. Given the current numbers it is hard to see enough backing the move.

Mike Smithson



By signing the Good Friday Agreement 21 years ago the UK made any subsequent EU exit harder and more dangerous

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Johnson’s challenge: not triggering off a new round of troubles

In a post here last year I highlighted an article by John McTernan, Tony Blair’s former director of political operations, which sought to set out clearly why the Northern Ireland border has been such an issue in the Brexit negotiations. He wrote:

“.. there is no concession that can be given on the backstop or, as it should properly be considered, Northern Ireland. The fundamental problem here is not the intransigence of the Irish government not the trickery of the European Union. It is, put bluntly, because the UK is bound by a peace treaty – the Good Friday Agreement – which ended the 30 years warfare of the Troubles.

The agreement saved lives, and is still saving them, and it dealt with the border – the source of the conflict – in an extraordinary act of imagination. It dissolved it. Not merely within the operation of the EU Single Market but by the UK government repealing the act that partitioned the island of Ireland and by agreeing that the people of Northern Ireland could choose either a British or an Irish passport..”

For many this was all a long time ago but was and remains hugely significant. The agreement was signed in 1998 and most people under 40 have little awareness of the troubles and how they dominated British politics from the late 1960s onwards. It is hard to see how this agreement could have been reached if it had not been for both the UK and Ireland being members of he EU.

I still remember very clearly one of my first jobs as a journalist in Newcastle upon Tyne in the late 1960s being asked to contact the parents, who lived locally, of Gunner Curtis the first British soldier to be killed in the province. This was a hard task for a 22 year old. Many more deaths and atrocities were to follow and the “troubles” were the most dominant domestic story for three decades.

The Good Friday Agreement was a massive development for which both John Major and Tony Blair are rightly given a lot of the credit. It was approved in referendums on both sides of the border.

It is very hard to see how the United Kingdom can remain intact if the UK leaves the EU and who can predict what that will lead to? Remember that during the troubles there were ruthless loyalist community paramilitaries as well nationalist ones.

Mike Smithson


Corbyn’s big speech – David Herdson’s take

Monday, August 19th, 2019


On the betting markets punters are becoming LESS convinced that there’ll be a 2019 General Election

Saturday, August 17th, 2019

From – the last month on Betfair GE year market

But 2019 still a strong odds-on favourite

As can be seen from the chart there has been a huge amount of volatility on the year of the next general election with punters starting to move back from 2019 which got to a 73% chance earlier in the week.

As we know under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act there are two ways an election can be triggered ahead of 2022 when the next one is officially due – the government loses a vote of no confidence or if two thirds of the entire House of Commons (433 MPs) vote for one.

The former has become less likely following the growing realisation that Corbyn does not have the numbers to bring Johnson down. The law states that a general election should be triggered if a no confidence motion is carried by MPs and not rescinded within 14 days. What happens in that fortnight is less clear.

The current MP totals point to several Tory MPs having to back the no confidence moe for it to succeed and it is hard to see sufficient coming forward.

The other way of an election being triggered is, like happened in April 2017, two thirds of MPs vote for one. If BJohnson sought to call a general election when parliament returns next month he cannot assume that he’d get the numbers. This could be portrayed as a means of avoiding parliamentary scrutiny during the critical build up to the October 31st Brexit date. My guess is that even if Corbyn backed that he would struggle to get the support of his full party.

One element that could cause LAB MPs to be less keen is the pressure from the hard left in the party to be subject to compulsory re-selection. How many would fail to back the move for fear of losing their jobs.

A contrived Johnson/Cummings measure to avoid the Commons on Brexit would be seen for what it is and provide the perfect cover for those LAB MPs worried about being de-selected.

A total of 433 MPs have to actually vote for the move and many could conveniently find reasons not to be in the Commons on that day.

Just because TMay found it easy getting MPs to the vote for GE2017 doesn’t mean that it will be the same for Johnson.

Mike Smithson


The first Tory to be selected in a full all-postal primary, Sarah Wollaston MP, joins the LDs

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Wollaston, a local GP, first came to prominence when she won a full postal open primary ahead of GE2010 to be the CON candidate for Totnes. Partly of who she is and the manner of her selection she was never afraid to take positions that did no follow the party line.

When she was part of the first Tory group to switch to TIG it wasn’t a surprise. That was in February and there’s been speculation since that the LDs might become her home.

This is clearly a big boost to Jo Swinson who has only been party leader for a few weeks.

What is clear is Wollaston won’t be the last.

Mike Smithson


Punters give the Tories a 67% chance of winning most seats but just a 32% one of securing a majority

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Six months chart of Betfair movements  from

We could be within 2 months of seeing a general election being declared and so far at least we haven’t looked at how punters are seeing the outcome. The chances in the betting on the Betfair change, where punters not bookies fix the odds, shows the movement on the Betfair Exchange over the past 6 months

As can be seen there was a stage not so long ago when LAB was the favourite to win most seats but that has moved sharply against them with the arrival of the new Tory leader and Prime Minister and to an extent a new LD leader. Also LAB has failed to have a clear position on the main issue of the day , Brexit, and this ambivalence could impact.

Also edging up a bit have been the Lib Dems following their successes at EU2019 and the  local elections and in the recent Brecon by-election. The new leader is also giving a very different image to the party and perhaps appealing to a younger generation. There is also the possibility of a deal with Plaid and the Greens on the Brecon model to allow a single “Unite to Remain” candidate in key seats.

Labour will always be hoping that the miracle that they saw  at GE2017 might happen again. It’s perhaps worth reminding ourselves given some of the rhetoric, did lose that election although Theresa May failed to retain the CON majority.

Even so there are big challenges for the Tories. One of those is Scotland where they now have 13 MPs but have been polling very poorly. Also the parties linked to “Unite to Remain” if that gets off the ground could hurt the Tories.

Mike Smithson