Labour Party

Labour are in poll position but here’s why the Tories could still win the next election

By Lord Ashcroft

This article first appeared in the Mirror.

From the moment the Lib Dems joined the Conservatives in coalition, the next election was Labour’s to lose. Half the people who had voted for Nick Clegg’s party – many of them wanting to keep the Tories out – went straight to Labour, giving their new leader Ed Miliband a big head start. Worse, from the David Cameron’s point of view, Labour could still win outright with a lower share of the vote than the Tories could – and the Lib Dems locked in Labour’s advantage by blocking a plan to make constituency boundaries fairer.

The trickle of Tory voters towards UKIP has made life even more difficult for Cameron. And as I found in my recent poll of marginal seats, things look even tougher for the Conservatives on the key battlegrounds than they do nationally. Not surprisingly, the bookies have Labour as firm favourites to return to government.

So why, as a Tory, do I think we are in for the closest election for forty years – and that we could see another term of Prime Minister Cameron? (more…)

Len is right – Unite members are not queuing up to join Labour

By Lord Ashcroft

Len McCluskey, leader of the Unite union, told the Guardian last week that his members were “not queuing up to join the Labour Party”. This is quite a mild remark for a man not usually given to understatement. He added that he could not justify signing up a million of his members to Labour when a large chunk of them do not support the party.

A poll of Unite members I conducted last week shows his crisis of conscience (if that is what it is) to be well founded. (more…)

If things are so bad, why aren’t more people saying it’s time for change?

By Lord Ashcroft

As campaigning for the local elections reaches its climax, one particular poll finding has caught my eye. A ComRes poll for the Independent conducted last weekend found 58 per cent of voters saying the government’s economic plan has failed, and so it will be time for a change of government in 2015. The Independent described this as a boost for Labour, but my reaction was different. “58 per cent”, I thought. “Is that all?”


A memo to Ed Miliband

By Lord Ashcroft

Dear Ed

It is evidently the season for offering you well-intentioned advice. Since I spend rather a lot of time finding out how the voters see things, I thought you might appreciate a view from the other side of the fence. (more…)

The odds are (literally) against us – but is it over yet?

By Lord Ashcroft

Every pundit has a theory about the next election, and the New Year has brought a flurry of them. Some believe a Conservative victory is impossible; others think it is the most likely outcome. Unlike the commentators, the bookies have to back their theories with cash. Their expectations are clear. For them, an overall majority for Labour is the most likely result in May 2015 – Ladbrokes will give you only 11/8, and Paddy Power 5/4 on this outcome. A hung parliament looks to them less probable than a Labour victory, with the two firms offering 13/8 and 7/4 respectively on no party winning outright.


Project Red Alert

By Lord Ashcroft

Like David Cameron, Ed Miliband has an election-winning coalition to build. And like the Prime Minister, he has a dilemma to go with it. Labour’s lead in the polls looks consistent, but is it firm? My latest research report, Project Red Alert, seeks to answer this question.


What does and doesn’t matter most to voters about the Libor scandal

By Lord Ashcroft

The following genuine conversation was overheard yesterday on the tube. A man in his twenties was flicking through the Metro. His friend, also in his twenties, glanced over at the front page and said,

“That’s Bob Diamond!”

“Who?” asked Man A.

“The Barclays chief executive. You know.”

Man A frowned at the paper.

“I don’t know the origin of this scandal”.

“He says the Bank of England told them to fix the Libor.”

“What’s the Libor?”

“It’s, like, the interest rate that  banks use to lend to each other. They made it artificially low”.

“So that must have been great for the borrowers, right?”

“No, it was just to make their profits look bigger.”

Man A considered this.

“Apparently it’s going to be sunny at the weekend”.

That may not be everything you need to know about the political implications of the Libor scandal, but it is a good place to start. (more…)

Why a Tory onslaught on Ed Miliband could backfire

By Lord Ashcroft

David Cameron is falling in voters’ estimation. Last weekend YouGov found his net satisfaction rating – the number thinking he is doing well, minus the (rather greater) number who think he is doing badly – is the same as Ed Miliband’s. No survey has put Miliband ahead on the question of who would make the best prime minister. Nevertheless, the latest figures are causing angst in Tory circles.


How damaging has the latest party funding story really been?

By Lord Ashcroft

After a week like last week, it is all too easy to panic. This rarely helps. I decided to conduct a poll over the weekend to put things into perspective, and in particular to shed light on one of the issues – party funding – that has added to the Tories’ woes. We asked voters how much they had heard about three stories: “people who have donated large sums of money to the Conservative Party having dinner with the Prime Minister at Number 10”, “changes in the Budget that will mean some pensioners paying more in income tax – which some have called the ‘granny tax’”, and “putting new taxes on hot food bought in shops, including pies and pasties”. Three quarters said they had heard a great deal or quite a lot about the “granny tax”, two thirds said the same about the pasty tax, and just over half said the same about “cash for Cameron”.


Feltham & Heston: should Labour be doing better?

By Lord Ashcroft

Labour are 22 points ahead in the Feltham & Heston by-election, according to my latest poll. With a 52% vote share in the week before polling day, Seema Malhotra seems to be on course for what looks like a convincing victory.