–Updates with latest weekend polls
LONDON (MNI) – Latest polling data
Con Lab LD UKIP Green SNP
YouGov/Sun Times 5/21/2017 44% 35% 9% 3% 2% ORB 5/20/2017 46% 34% 7% 7% 3% Opinium 5/20/2017 46% 33% 8% 5% 2% YouGov/Times Scotland 5/20/2017 29% 19% 6% 1% 2% 42% Ipsos/Mori 5/18/2017 49% 34% 7% 2% 3% YouGov/Times 5/18/2017 45% 32% 8% 6% 2% Kantar 5/16/2017 47% 29% 8% 6% 3% Panelbase 5/16/2017 47% 33% 7% 5% 3% ICM/Guardian 5/15/2017 48% 28% 10% 6% 2% Survation 5/15/2017 48% 30% 8% 4% 2% YouGov/Sun Times 14/5/2017 49% 31% 9% 3% 2% ComRes 13/5/2017 48% 30% 10% 5% ORB 13/5/2017 46% 32% 8% 7% 2% Opinium 13/5/2017 47% 32% 8% 5% 2% Survation 5/9/2017 47% 30% 7% 4% 3% Kantar 5/9/2017 44% 28% 11% 8% 5% 4% ICM 5/7/2017 49% 27% 9% 6% 3% YouGov 5/7/2017 47% 28% 11% 6% 2% ICM 5/7/2017 46% 28% 10% 8% 3% ORB/ Sun Tel 5/7/2017 46% 31% 9% 8% 2%
The UK Parliament was dissolved on Tuesday May 3, triggering a near 6-week campaign ahead of the June 8 election.
To win an outright majority in the UK, the winning party must pick up 326 of the 650 constituency seats fought, although 323 will normally be enough for a working majority, as the likely 4 or 5 Sinn Fein MPs will not take their seats at Westminster.
The latest polls show the governing Conservative Party will easily reach this target, surpassing the majority 330 seats they won at the 2015 election.
Historically, the two main parties are the centre-left Labour Party and the centre-right Conservative Party. As last time, the economy will be a major battle ground, but analysts expect Brexit to be the overriding feature of the election.
The Conservatives are led by current Prime Minister Theresa May, who assumed the role last July in the wake of the EU referendum defeat for David Cameron. Jeremy Corbyn has led the Labour Party since the summer of 2015.
The Scottish Nationalist Party are to surrender some of the spectacular gains made in 2015, perhaps to a resurgent Scottish Conservative Party, but look to remain by far the largest party north of the border..
With Brexit all but secured, the UK Independence Party, UKIP, will likely see a fall in their overall vote share and it seems unlikely they will return any MPs. Douglas Carswell, the only UKIP MP in the last Parliament, resigned from the party earlier this year and said he would not seek re-election in 2017.
The Liberal Democrats will hope pick up some seats, particularly in areas that voted heavily ‘Remain’ in 2016, but they enter the election at a very low base. They won just 8 seats, down sharply from the 56 held at the 2015 dissolution.
Weekend opinion polls continue to show the Conservative Party enjoying a healthy lead, although there certainly appears to be some pick-up by the Labour Party. Most polls still show a healthy double digit lead, although a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times showed the Conservatives leading Labour by 9 points, down from 18 points a week ago and 21 on May 7.
The first Leaders’ Debate of the election was held Thursday, although Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, the leaders of the two largest parties, declined to take place. The debate saw the leaders of UKIP, the SNP, the LibDems, Plaid Cywmru and the Greens discuss issues.
The Conservatives will publish their election manifesto Thursday, with pre-briefings to the press suggesting there will be a revised timetable for eliminating the deficit, seeing the date pushed back to the mid 2020s. There is also expected to be confirmation that the tax lock committment from 2015 will also be dropped.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond spoke to the press Weds, largely with the intent of critiquing the spending plans in the Labour manifesto. However, the take out from the press conference turned to the PMs failure to convincingly back Chancellor Philip Hammond’s return to head the Treasury following the election.
The Labour Party officially launched their manifesto Tuesday, with a promise to govern ‘for the many, not the few’. The party offered up a massive platform of spending, financed through an additional tax take of stg48.6 billion, in large part from an increase in corporation tax.
The Liberal Democrats also launch their manifesto on Tuesday, with leader Tim Farron promising a second public vote on Brexit.
Tuesday sees the formal launch of the Labour manifesto, although much of the detail was reportedly leaked last week. There has been a flow of spending pledges from Labour in recent weeks, but they have said it will all be fully costed in the manifesto.
UK Brexit Minister David Davis said Sunday sequencing of exit negotiations with the EU would be the ‘row of the summer’, saying it was illogical to discuss the status of the Northern Ireland Border with the Republic of Ireland before terms of a trade deal were known.
The Crown Prosecution Service said Wednesday that no charges would be brought against Conservative politicians and officials over the infringement of campaign expense rules in the run-up to the 2015 General Election. However, the CPS said one file would remain open – the investigation into irregularities in the South Thanet constituency.
Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday the Conservatives will include a plan to ‘cap’ certain energy prices, ending the “injustice” of rising costs. In an interview with the Sun, published overnight, May said “Like millions of working families, I am fed up with rip-off energy prices. Gas and electricity bills only ever seem to go in one direction, eating up more and more of your monthly pay packet.”
The week ahead is likely to see the publication of the main party manifestoes, outlining their campaign platforms for the forthcoming election.
Final results from the UK local elections confirmed a very good night for the Conservatives, as they picked up more than 500 new councilors and 4 of the 6 new metro mayors. For Labour, the night was seen as a ‘disaster’ by some party officials, as they lost more than 300 elected representatives, although looking at a less worse than feared showing in Wales for some solace.
Early reports from local and mayoral elections in the UK has seen Conservatives fare well, concurring with recent polling data. A BBC report says “on early declarations in England, there had been a substantial swing from Labour to the Conservatives while the UKIP vote appeared to be collapsing heavily and the Lib Dem performance was “very patchy”, Professor John Curtis told the BBC.
Although the election campaigns officially get underway this week, Brexit remains on the front pages of Tuesday’s papers, as Prime Minister Theresa May dismisses Brussels leaks of a recent Downing Street dinner as ‘Brussels gossip’. Whatever the truth of the leaks, the weekend revelations certainly underline that any Brexit phoney war is now over and full on negotiating is beginning.
In a weekend interview, Prime Minister Theresa May said there would be no increases in VAT rates through the next Parliament. However, she was not forthcoming with promises over income tax or national insurance. In an interview with BBC’s Andrew Marr, May said the Conservative’s would make no pledges on tax unless she was “absolutely sure they could be delivered”.
Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday she needed to be given the ‘strongest possible hand” ahead of Brexit negotiations, as all 27 remaining members of the European Union were queueing up to oppose the UK. The leaders of the remaining 27 EU nations meet in Brussels on Saturday to formally adopt their Brexit negotiating document.
Thursday is the last day Parliament will sit before Dissolution on May 3 and a General Election on May 3. The official Prorogation ceremony, when all Acts passed in the previous parliamentary session are read into law, is expected around 1400GMT.
MPs return to Westminster from the hustings Wednesday, as Prime Minister Theresa May is set for a grilling at the last PMQs of the current Parliament.
Following PMQs, PM May will meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the lead EC Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Downing Street. With the leaders of the European Union rump countries meeting in Brussels Saturday to finalise the EU negotiating document, Wednesday’s meeting is seen as a clarification opportunity between the two parties.
There will be a different background to the quizzing of Bank of England and Treasury officials when they attend Parliament following the General Election, as Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, chair of the Treasury Select Committee is standing down as an MP after 20 years of service.
MONDAY, MAY 22, 2017 – 01:01
–MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: email@example.com