Lib Dems plunge to new poll low of 11 per cent

How low will Nick Clegg’s party go?

Away from the excitement, despair and outrage over Tony Blair's memoir, politics continues as usual -- the Lib Dems have hit a new poll low.

The latest daily YouGov poll puts Nick Clegg's party on just 11 per cent -- a level of support not seen since the dark days of Ming Campbell's resignation in October 2007. The Tories are on a healthy 43 per cent, with Labour 5 points behind on 38 per cent. If repeated at the election on a uniform swing, the latest figures would see Clegg's party reduced to a rump of just 11 seats.

New Statesman Poll of Polls

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Hung parliament: Conservatives 14 seats short.

Lib Dem ministers will shrug and declare, "There's only one poll that counts, and that's on election day," but the party's terrible ratings are beginning to sap morale among activists and we can expect tensions to grow in the run-up to conference season.

For the Conservatives, the long-term fear is that the fall in Lib Dem popularity may eventually make the coalition unworkable, and that Lib Dem MPs, fearful of losing their seats, will begin to rebel to maintain their distinctiveness.

Ether way, both parties should prepare for much worse once those 25 per cent cuts kick in.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Italian PM Matteo Renzi resigns after referendum No vote

Europe's right-wing populists cheered the result. 

Italy's centrist Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was forced to resign late on Sunday after he lost a referendum on constitutional change.

With most ballots counted, 60 per cent of Italians voted No to change, according to the BBC. The turn out was nearly 70 per cent. 

Voters were asked whether they backed a reform to Italy's complex political system, but right-wing populists have interpreted the referendum as a wider poll on the direction of the country.

Before the result, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage tweeted: "Hope the exit polls in Italy are right. This vote looks to me to be more about the Euro than constitutional change."

The leader of France's far-right Front National, Marine Le Pen, tweeted "bravo" to her Eurosceptic "friend" Matteo Salvini, a politician who campaigned for the No vote. She described the referendum result as a "thirst for liberty". 

In his resignation speech, Renzi told reporters he took responsibility for the outcome and added "good luck to us all". 

Since gaining office in 2014, Renzi has been a reformist politician. He introduced same-sex civil unions, made employment laws more flexible and abolished small taxes, and was known by some as "Europe's last Blairite".

However, his proposed constitutional reforms divided opinion even among liberals, because of the way they removed certain checks and balances and handed increased power to the government.

 

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.