Labour gaining votes from disillusioned Lib Dems

Poll shows Labour closing the gap on the Tories, while the public is lukewarm about the coalition so

Labour is benefiting from voters deserting the Liberal Democrats, according to a new poll which also shows that economic uncertainty is cutting into support for the coalition.

The Guardian/ICM poll, published today, puts the Conservatives at 38 per cent, down 1 point on last month's Guardian poll, and 8 points lower than last week's YouGov survey.

This latest puts Labour just 4 points behind the Tories, with 34 per cent of the vote. The Liberal Democrats are on 19 per cent.

While this is an improvement on the dire 13 per cent support for the Lib Dems in the YouGov poll, there is still evidence of disillusionment among Lib Dem voters, many of whom are to the left of the leadership. Although the two other parties retained the votes of nine out of ten of those who supported them in the election, the Lib Dems retained just seven out of ten, and another two said they had switched to Labour.


The poll shows a near-equal split of opinion on economic issues. Although a narrow majority of 51 per cent think that Britain is likely to fall back into recession, 43 per cent disagree. If nothing else, this shows that the initial boost in poll ratings after the Budget has not been sustained. Such uncertainty at this stage -- before the painful effects of deep public-sector cuts begins to be felt -- does not bode well for future support for the government. Ninety-one per cent said that the cuts and tax rises would hurt.

About the government's performance so far, the public is lukewarm. Asked to award it marks out of ten, the total score is just 5.1. Support for the coalition is considerably weaker in Scotland and the north of England, and -- perhaps unsurprising, but certainly telling -- the coalition has far greater support among rich voters than among poorer people.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

Show Hide image

En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.