Cameron's speech, or the media coverage that lauded it, may have shifted the polls. Photo: Getty.
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Did Labour's poll lead just vanish in a week?

Four of the six most recent polls have handed the Tories a lead, and an average of all suggests we are tied.

This post was originally published on our new elections site

On Friday YouGov put the Tories ahead in their polls for the first time in two-and-a-half-years. The result seemed like it could be an aberration, as a temporary Tory lead in May earlier this year quickly proved to be.

But two other YouGov polls have now put the party in front, along with Lord Ashcroft’s weekly poll published yesterday. Are the Tories now ahead, after years of trailing Labour?

Populus, the only other pollster to poll as regularly, suggests not. Their two polls over the past week have handed Labour a 5 and 6 point lead – in line with the polls throughout September, which consistently gave Labour a lead of 3 to 4 points.

This chart shows all the polls published in the past fortnight by the UK’s major active polling companies. It shows how discordant the recent results are from the story we have become used to telling: Labour seem to be struggling but have consistently led.

That story may have finally changed. David Cameron does seem to have won a conference bounce. We will be tracking all the latest numbers to see if it lasts. 

May2015 is the New Statesman's new elections site. Explore it for data, interviews and ideas on the general election.

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The Brexit deal and all the other things Liam Fox finds “easiest in human history”

The international trade secretary is an experienced man. 

On the day of a report warning a no deal Brexit could result in prices rises, blocked ports and legal chaos, international trade secretary Liam Fox emerged to reassure the nation. 

He told BBC Radio 4: "If you think about it, the free trade agreement that we will have to come to with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history.” 

Since his colleague, Brexit secretary David Davis, described Brexit negotiations as more complicated than the moon landings, this suggests we are truly lucky in the calibre of our top negotiating team. 

Just for clarification, here is the full Davis-Fox definition of easy:

Super easy: Tudor divorce

All Henry VIII had to do was break away from the Catholic Church, kickstart the Reformation, fuel religious wars in Europe, and he was married to his second wife. And his third, fourth, fifth and sixth. Plus the Henry VIII clauses are really handy for bypassing parliament in 2017.

Easy: Tea Act 1773

American colonialists were buying smuggled tea, when they could have bought East India tea instead. Luckily, the British Prime Minister Lord North, found a way to deal with the problem in a single bill. Sorted.

Bit tricky: Appeasement

So what if Neville Chamberlain had never been on an airplane before? It's hardly a moon landing. And he got peace in our time. Although he was forced to resign in 1940. Not quite as easy as he thought. 

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

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