Lib Dems overtake Labour in new poll

Support for Lib Dems surges eight points to 30 per cent, just three points behind the Tories.

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Latest poll (YouGov/Sun) Labour 51 seats short of a majority.

The latest YouGov daily tracker poll has just been released and it shows a dramatic surge in support for the Lib Dems following last night's debate.

The poll puts the Lib Dems up eight points to 30 per cent, with Labour in third place on 28 per cent and the Tories on 33 per cent, their lowest level of support since Brown's honeymoon in September 2007.

Yesterday's YouGov poll put the Tories on 37 per cent and Labour on 31 per cent, so the increase in Lib Dem support has come at the expense of both parties.

The results should be treated with caution but this is clearly a sensational poll for the Lib Dems and a new layer of unpredictability has been added to the election. If the Lib Dems start to be seen as a potential party of government they could make a real electoral breakthrough.

New Statesman Poll of Polls

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Hung parliament, Conservatives 38 seats short.

But if repeated on a uniform swing, these figures would actually leave Labour as the largest single party in a hung parliament. The vagaries of the first-past-the-post system, mean that Gordon Brown would be 51 seats short of an overall majority.

According to UK Polling Report's swing calculator, Labour would win 275 seats, the Tories 245 and the Lib Dems just 99.

 

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Our new relationship with the EU may be a lot like the old one

For all the tough mood music, Theresa May has left room for concessions.

I'm sad and dismayed, but that's democracy for you.

The Mail is in a cheerier mood. "Freedom!" is their splash. "Dear EU, We're Leaving You" cheers the Express' while "Dear EU, it's time to go" is the Mirror's splash. "Dover & Out!" roars the Sun, who have projected those same words on the white cliffs of, you guessed it, Dover. "May Signs Us Out!" is the Metro's take.

"Brexit begins" is the i's more equivocal splash, "The eyes of history are watching" is the Times' take, while the Guardian opts for "Today Britain steps into the unknown".

The bigger story isn't the letter but its content, which leads the FT: "May signs historic Brexit letter and opens way for compromise". The government is finessing its red line on the competence of the European Court of Justice. (The word in Whitehall is that Theresa May hadn't grasped the importance of the ECJ as an arbitration mechanism after Brexit and for cross-border matters such as flights when she made her conference speech.)  And the PM has done a good job of not ruling out continuing payments to the European Union, her best path to the deal Britain needs.

A lot depends on what happens to the British economy between now and March 2019. The pound is down still further today but whether that's a minor eruption or the start of sustained losses will have significant consequences on how painful Britain's best path to the access we need to the single market - paying over the odds for the parts of membership that the British government wants to keep and swallowing that £50bn divorce bill - is doable or not.

For all the mood music emanating from May, she's quietly done a good job of clearing the obstacles to a deal where Britain controls its own immigration policy, continues to staff Europol and to participate in European-wide research, the bulk of our regulation is set by Brussels de facto if not de jure and we pay, say £250m a week into Brussels.

Our new relationship with the EU may be rather closer to our old one than we currently expect.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.