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British Politics

Coverage of recent polls has suggested that women are becoming more supportive of Labour and that this is driving the recent tightening of the election race. The figure below shows the average vote intention separately for men and women on average using data from a range of different pollsters (see methodological note below). At the beginning of May there was very little gender gap. The Conservative lead was much the same for men as for women. For polls conducted in the past week, on average the Conservatives still had a large, 14-point lead amongst men, but only a small, 4-point lead amongst women. Compared with the start of May, women are now 7 points more likely to vote Labour than …

  Since the general election was called Labour have gone up in the GB vote intention polls while the Liberal Democrats and especially UKIP have dropped. The Conservatives have fluctuated but on average remained steady. The following graph shows the overall trends. Looking at those pollsters that have published at least two polls since 18th April, the picture is pretty consistent for Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP. As following three graphs of GB polls by fieldwork end date show, the trends are pretty much the same for nearly all pollsters. The more complicated picture is for the Conservatives. They went up on average at the beginning of the campaign, but, as the graph below shows, this was true for some …

On April 19, 2017, parliament voted to endorse the government’s motion to hold a UK general election on 8 June 2017. This was the first time that the provisions of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (FTPA) were invoked. When the Act was introduced in 2011, the coalition government justified it by arguing that “fixed-term parliaments will have a positive impact on our country’s political system; providing stability, discouraging short-termism, and preventing the manipulation of election dates for political advantage.” Yet, the ease with which Prime Minister Theresa May was able to trigger the early election in light of her 21 point opinion poll lead over Labour over the Easter weekend appeared to cast doubt on its ability to deliver these aims. …

The polls in Scotland just before the last election showed a 21-point lead for SNP over Labour. The SNP went on to take all but one of Labour’s 41 Scottish seats. This week Theresa May called a general election in the wake of polls showing her Conservative party 21 points ahead of Labour. Could Labour now be headed for a Britain wide meltdown of the kind that they suffered in Scotland two years ago? Intriguingly, the distribution of the 2015 Labour share of the vote across the seats they are defending now is very similar to the distribution of their 2010 share of the vote in the Scottish seats that they were defending in 2015. In both sets the vast …

When Prime Minister Theresa May announced her intention to call a snap election on June 8, she took a political gamble. Two polls over the Easter weekend put the Conservatives 21 points ahead of Labour. Mrs May will be hoping to translate this polling lead into a crushing electoral victory and a personal mandate that will free her from the constraints of working with her current slim majority of just 17. If she succeeds, she would be empowered politically to deal with factions within her own Conservative Party and the opposition. But how are voters likely to respond to this surprise move by the government? Party leaders are currently trying to frame the electorate’s views of it. Mrs May is …

With the Chancellor’s 2016 Autumn Statement formally burying the previous “austerity” target of achieving a budget surplus by 2020 and instead adopting a new, more expansionary fiscal rule, how does the recent era of fiscal austerity compare with major fiscal squeezes of the past? Christopher Hood and Rozana Himaz put the data into historical perspective and consider the implications for the future. The Recent Fiscal Squeeze and the Longer Term Pattern Since 2010, the UK has been subjected to one of the longest periods of public spending restraint over the last century. But according to our research that episode also seems to fit a long-term pattern of changes in the depth and composition of fiscal squeezes. When we look back at the historical data …

The United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community (as it then was) on 1 January 1973 after negotiations by the Conservative government led by Edward Heath. In the run up to the subsequent 1974 General Election the Labour Party pledged, in its manifesto, the United Kingdom’s first nationwide referendum on whether to stay part of the Economic Community on renegotiated terms or to completely part company. With a Labour victory, the new Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, followed through on his promise and a referendum was held on 5 Jun 1975. The outcome was an overwhelming victory (67%) for the ‘In’ campaign. The 1975 vote in favour of Europe did not, however, end the debate on the United Kingdom’s membership of what …

In earlier generations voters were spoiled for choice. Between 1832 and 1885 many had more than one vote in general elections. The British parliament contained county and borough constituencies and these, depending on size, would return two to four MPs with voters able to vote for as many candidates as there were seats to be filled. A recipe for chaos, perhaps, but there were advantages to these multi-member constituencies. For instance, the Liberals could put up a left-wing radical as well as a traditional Whig, thus broadening their appeal to the electorate. [One wonders whether such an approach could appeal to the modern Labour party]. The upshot was that electors had a choice of which MP to turn to for …