Publications

What Future For The Liberal Democrats?

By Lord Ashcroft

The Liberal Democrats have suffered a slump in the polls since their decision to enter a coalition government with the Conservatives. Some have argued that the Lib Dems are finished as an independent party capable of winning significant support at elections, but I suspected things might not be as straightforward as that. I have conducted research among those who voted Lib Dem in 2010, and those who thought about doing so but decided not to, to find some clues about the party’s future.

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Swing from Lib Dems threatens Clegg and Huhne

By Lord Ashcroft

Though the Liberal Democrats achieved 24% of the vote in Great Britain at the general election, no poll since late June has put Nick Clegg’s party above 18%. Some have put them at less than half of their 6 May vote share. In July I published research conducted in marginal constituencies showing that 30 of the Lib Dems’ 57 seats were vulnerable to the Conservatives. More recently I have looked into whether the apparent meltdown would have the same effect on senior Liberal Democrats in the coalition. The answer is that their prominence has not made them immune from the decline in support for their party.

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What Future For Labour?

By Lord Ashcroft

For many years after its 1997 defeat the Conservative Party failed to understand what had happened to it. Too many Conservatives believed not only that the voters had made a terrible mistake, but that the voters themselves would come to realise this and flood back in remorse. Meanwhile, the Tories just needed to stick to their guns. History records the success of this theory in the results of the 2001 and 2005 general elections.

I thought it would be interesting to find out whether the Labour Party is about to make the same mistake. Why does the Labour movement think it lost, and what does it think it needs to do to win again? And how does its view compare with that of swing voters, who supported Labour in previous elections but did not vote for Gordon Brown?

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Minority Verdict

By Lord Ashcroft

The result of the 2010 general election was closer than many people expected. Certainly it was closer than Conservatives hoped it would be. With 306 seats in the House of Commons, the Conservative Party was 20 seats short of the overall majority that looked all but assured only weeks before polling day. Minority Verdict: The Conservative Party, The Voters And The 2010 General Election attempts to explain why the Tories did as well as they did in May, and why they did no better. The book also gives an account of my involvement in the party’s target seats campaign, and my view of David Cameron’s decision to form a coalition government.

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Could the Lib Dem marginal meltdown mean the Tories gain from A.V.?

By Lord Ashcroft

A referendum on the Alternative Vote is currently planned for 5 May 2011. The pollsters have turned their attention to the likely ramifications should the public decide to adopt such a system for general elections. There has been a widespread assumption that the Conservatives have nothing to gain from electoral reform, and the work that has been done so far – such as the YouGov poll for the Spectator earlier this month – has indeed suggested that the Tories would be the biggest net losers when comparing A.V. with First Past The Post (FPTP). As ever, though, national polls can only tell us so much – it would be in the marginal seats that A.V. would make a decisive difference.  Would voters in these seats behave differently under the two systems? And would the effect be different depending which parties were in contention?

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Dirty Politics Dirty Times

By Lord Ashcroft

A newly revised and updated edition of Dirty politics Dirty times, Michael Ashcroft’s personal account of his battle against an alliance of executives from The Times newspaper and leading New Labour ministers is now available to download (publication date 08 July 2009).
The book reveals the dirty tricks that were used to destabilise the Conservative Party, including the newspaper’s bribery of US government officials, the abuse of parliamentary privileges by New Labour MPs and financial intimidation by former Government minister, Clare Short.
It charts Lord Ashcroft’s successful fight back against this campaign culminating in official Government apologies and The Times unconditionally withdrawing its invented allegations.
The book also sheds new light on Michael Ashcroft’s private life; his childhood and love of Belize, his business career and his many and varied interests.

Reviews
“Enthralling… a cracking good read”
Harry Phibbs, The Social Affairs Unit

“A rattling good yarn… (exposing) a saga of coke-snorting journalists (and) malicious leaks from the Foreign Office… a box-office thriller”
Paul Routledge, Daily Mirror columnist writing in The New Statesman 19/12/05

Smell The Coffee

By Lord Ashcroft

In the run-up to the 2005 general election I supported a number of Conservative candidates in target seats. A year before polling day, it was clear that despite energetic and positive campaigns, many of them were not making the progress that their talent and effort warranted. My puzzlement increased when the party said that, according to its private research, it was heading for victory in 103 of the 130 most marginal seats. This was at odds with published polls. The belief that the party was on the verge of winning an election seemed implausible.

I decided to commission my own research to establish the real state of public opinion: the true level of support for the parties, the underlying attributes associated with each, whether the picture in marginal seats really was different to that in Britain as a whole, whether the Conservatives’ 164-seat battleground made sense, and why the candidates I was helping to fund were finding it so hard to build support. Smell The Coffee: A Wake-Up Call For The Conservative Party sets out the results of this work, together with my conclusions on how the party needed to change if it was to win another election.

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