Chart of the day: a divided Union

EU members feel increasingly unrepresented by their club.

In whose interests is the EU run? "Not ours" is the answer from most member states. The EU commission's new Eurobarometer survey (helpfully summarised by Absolute Strategy Research in its latest briefing) shows that almost every country feels increasingly underrepresented.

Just 38 per cent of EU citizens believe that their interests are taken into account by the EU, compared with 51 per cent who believe they are not. Of the EU's 27 members, only Germany, France, Denmark and Finland feel more represented than a year ago. While 53 per cent of Germans believe their interests are taken into account, just 20 per cent of Greeks do (78 per cent do not).

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UK citizens are only marginally less negative than their Greek counterparts. Just 26 per cent believe the UK's interests are taken into account, compared with 64 per cent who believe they are not.

Of note is the dramatic shift of opinion in Ireland, a country which, like Greece, has ceded its economic sovereignty to Brussels.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Who will win the Copeland by-election?

Labour face a tricky task in holding onto the seat. 

What’s the Copeland by-election about? That’s the question that will decide who wins it.

The Conservatives want it to be about the nuclear industry, which is the seat’s biggest employer, and Jeremy Corbyn’s long history of opposition to nuclear power.

Labour want it to be about the difficulties of the NHS in Cumbria in general and the future of West Cumberland Hospital in particular.

Who’s winning? Neither party is confident of victory but both sides think it will be close. That Theresa May has visited is a sign of the confidence in Conservative headquarters that, win or lose, Labour will not increase its majority from the six-point lead it held over the Conservatives in May 2015. (It’s always more instructive to talk about vote share rather than raw numbers, in by-elections in particular.)

But her visit may have been counterproductive. Yes, she is the most popular politician in Britain according to all the polls, but in visiting she has added fuel to the fire of Labour’s message that the Conservatives are keeping an anxious eye on the outcome.

Labour strategists feared that “the oxygen” would come out of the campaign if May used her visit to offer a guarantee about West Cumberland Hospital. Instead, she refused to answer, merely hyping up the issue further.

The party is nervous that opposition to Corbyn is going to supress turnout among their voters, but on the Conservative side, there is considerable irritation that May’s visit has made their task harder, too.

Voters know the difference between a by-election and a general election and my hunch is that people will get they can have a free hit on the health question without risking the future of the nuclear factory. That Corbyn has U-Turned on nuclear power only helps.

I said last week that if I knew what the local paper would look like between now and then I would be able to call the outcome. Today the West Cumbria News & Star leads with Downing Street’s refusal to answer questions about West Cumberland Hospital. All the signs favour Labour. 

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