“We won the campaign,” says Gove. “Er, no,” says everybody else

Shadow schools minister struggles with his sums.

An odd claim from Michael Gove, the Tory shadow schools minister, on the Today programme this morning. In an interview with Evan Davis (starts around 00:45:00) he declares:

We won the campaign. We ended up with a higher share of the vote at the end of the campaign than we did at the beginning of it.

Er, no actually, Michael. Here are the polls that came out either on the day Gordon Brown went to the Queen or, more generously perhaps, the day before:

 

Harris/Metro (6 April)

  • Con 37
  • Lab 28
  • Lib Dem 20
  • Others 9

YouGov/Sun (6 April)

  • Con 40
  • Lab 32
  • Lib Dem 17
  • Others 8

YouGov/Sun (5 April)

  • Con 41
  • Lab 31
  • Lib Dem 18
  • Others 10

Opinium/Express (5 April)

  • Con 39
  • Lab 29
  • Lib Dem 17
  • Others 10

Now let's compare those results, which give an average Tory share of the vote of 39.3 per cent, with the actual share with 23 seats still to come:

  • Con 36.1
  • Lab 29.2
  • Lib Dems 22.9

Somewhere along the way, the Tories lost just over 3 per cent of the vote share, this when the party was supposed to be "sealing the deal".

The reality is that neither the Tories nor Labour won the campaign. And, although it won't feel like it right now to Nick Clegg and co, if anyone made progress in the past four weeks it was the Liberal Democrats.

The Lib Dems were averaging 18 per cent a month ago and, when all the votes are counted, they are likely to get around 23 per cent of the vote share. Never has such progress felt so disappointing.

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Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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I believe only Yvette Cooper has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy Corbyn

All the recent polling suggests Andy Burnham is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy Corbyn, says Diana Johnson MP.

Tom Blenkinsop MP on the New Statesman website today says he is giving his second preference to Andy Burnham as he thinks that Andy has the best chance of beating Jeremy.

This is on the basis that if Yvette goes out first all her second preferences will swing behind Andy, whereas if Andy goes out first then his second preferences, due to the broad alliance he has created behind his campaign, will all or largely switch to the other male candidate, Jeremy.

Let's take a deep breath and try and think through what will be the effect of preferential voting in the Labour leadership.

First of all, it is very difficult to know how second preferences will switch. From my telephone canvassing there is some rather interesting voting going on, but I don't accept that Tom’s analysis is correct. I have certainly picked up growing support for Yvette in recent weeks.

In fact you can argue the reverse of Tom’s analysis is true – Andy has moved further away from the centre and, as a result, his pitch to those like Tom who are supporting Liz first is now narrower. As a result, Yvette is more likely to pick up those second preferences.

Stats from the Yvette For Labour team show Yvette picking up the majority of second preferences from all candidates – from the Progress wing supporting Liz to the softer left fans of Jeremy – and Andy's supporters too. Their figures show many undecideds opting for Yvette as their first preference, as well as others choosing to switch their first preference to Yvette from one of the other candidates. It's for this reason I still believe only Yvette has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy and then to go on to win in 2020.

It's interesting that Andy has not been willing to make it clear that second preferences should go to Yvette or Liz. Yvette has been very clear that she would encourage second preferences to be for Andy or Liz.

Having watched Andy on Sky's Murnaghan show this morning, he categorically states that Labour will not get beyond first base with the electorate at a general election if we are not economically credible and that fundamentally Jeremy's economic plans do not add up. So, I am unsure why Andy is so unwilling to be clear on second preferences.

All the recent polling suggests Andy is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy. He trails fourth in London – where a huge proportion of our electorate is based.

So I would urge Tom to reflect more widely on who is best placed to provide the strongest opposition to the Tories, appeal to the widest group of voters and reach out to the communities we need to win back. I believe that this has to be Yvette.

The Newsnight focus group a few days ago showed that Yvette is best placed to win back those former Labour voters we will need in 2020.

Labour will pay a massive price if we ignore this.

Diana Johnson is the Labour MP for Hull North.