Vote UKIP, get…?

By Lord Ashcroft

In the wake of this week’s Clegg-Farage Euro debate – the Division Two play-offs of British politics – the Conservatives in particular will be honing their pitch to former supporters tempted by UKIP.

Mr Farage says most UKIP voters are not ex-Tories, and this is true. But it is also true that they are more likely to be ex-Tories than anything else. For these people, the Conservatives have settled on the message that however much they may like what Nigel has to say, the better UKIP do next May the more likely it is that Her Majesty will have to ask Ed Miliband to form a government. (more…)

Europe on Trial

By Lord Ashcroft

The European Parliament elections are just weeks away. Depending on the result of the next general election, we are perhaps three years from an in-out EU referendum.

Yet despite the furious debate the subject generates among politicians, huge numbers of people do not know what to think about our relationship with Europe. (more…)

Miliband’s referendum non-pledge will win votes for Labour – if the Tories let it

By Lord Ashcroft

On the face of it, Ed Miliband’s non-referendum pledge held a clear upside and a clear downside for Labour.

Matching David Cameron’s guarantee of an in-out referendum would mean that if he won, Miliband would have to spend a good deal of his premiership campaigning to keep Britain in the European Union – a battle he might lose. He would be the Prime Minister who took Britain out of the EU, and would probably have to resign. And all because of a promise he had never wanted to make in the first place. (more…)

The Conservatives don’t attract too few women. They attract too few of everyone.

By Lord Ashcroft

David Cameron tells Angela Eagle to “calm down, dear”. A number of female Conservative MPs decide they will not stand at the next election. Another is deselected. Ed Miliband derides the dearth of women on the government front bench. Several women are replaced in their jobs heading public bodies, prompting Harriet Harman to observe that it is “raining men in the Tory Party”.

To some, these stories and others like them constitute evidence that the Conservatives have a problem with women. (more…)