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Labour on course to win more than 400 seats and majority of 154, suggests poll – UK politics live


Labour on course to win more than 400 seats, and majority of 154, YouGov MRP poll suggests

YouGov has released polling suggesting Labour is on course to win more than 400 seats at the general election, and a majority of 154.

Its survey, using a technique called multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP), also suggests the Conservatives are on course to win just 155 seats, which would be a worse result than the party suffered in 1997 under John Major.

This would be an even bigger win for Labour than projected by the last YouGov MRP poll, carried out in January. That had Labour set to win 385 seats, and the Conservatives 169.

The latest YouGov figures are not as bad for Rishi Sunak as the results of an MRP poll by Survation published in the Sunday Times at the weekend, which had Labour on course to win 468 seats and the Conservatives just 98. But this is unlikely to be much consolation to the PM.

Here are the full figures, which are based on a survey of 18,761 people carried out between 7 and 27 March.

MPR poll Photograph: YouGov

YouGov says its poll suggests Reform UK would come second in 36 constituencies, but would not come close to winning any of them.

And the Green party is on course to hold Brighton Pavilion, YouGov says. It also expects the Greens would lose narrowly to Labour in Bristol Central.

YouGov says, under this scenario, several prominent Tories would lose their seats. It says:

The data projects several big name Conservative figures will be defeated. The most prominent casualty could be chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who is currently fractionally behind the Lib Dems in his Godalming and Ash seat.

With recent weeks seeing rumours that Penny Mordaunt could issue a leadership challenge against Rishi Sunak, we find that the Commons leader is four points behind Labour in her Portsmouth North seat. Cabinet colleagues Michelle Donelan and David TC Davies are also trailing Labour in our latest model, as are former leader Iain Duncan Smith and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

MRP starts with conventional polling, asking a large sample of people how they intend to vote. But the results are then broken down in some detail demographically, and those results are used to assess what the election result might be constituency by constituency, using data about the demographic composition of the electorate in each seat. A YouGov MRP poll in 2017 suggested the election would result in a hung parliament, when almost all conventional polls pointed to the Tories winning another majority, and since then MRP has been viewed as a ‘gold standard’ polling method.

Key events

Government publishes details of post-Brexit food import charges

The government has announced details of how much companies will have to pay to import food into the UK, the BBC’s Faisal Islam reports. In posts on X, he says that these post-Brexit charges, which are only now coming into force as transition arrangements come to an end, will lead to food prices going up, according to industry bodies.

NEW

post Brexit “common user charge” for inspection of food/ plant imports from the EU from later this month… £10 or £29 for every different type, even for small consignments … charge capped at £145 for a mixed consignment with fish, salami, cheese, sausage and yoghurt” pic.twitter.com/I6LZ3Yn65Y

— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) April 3, 2024

post Brexit “common user charge” for inspection of food/ plant imports from the EU from later this month… £10 or £29 for every different type, even for small consignments … charge capped at £145 for a mixed consignment with fish, salami, cheese, sausage and yoghurt

This is what industry called the “Brexit Border food import tax” when they tried to delay it (successfully)… and multiple industry bodies not happy:

“Quite brutal” said one privately saying reality is lots of small importers now paying £145 for even a small mixed consignment

Cold Chain Federation:

“extremely disappointing… last minute, leaving affected businesses little time … reinforces the Government’s slapdash approach …

“Our main concern is that this is now certain to negatively affect food prices”.

Horticultural Trade Association : “policy that feels like it is constructed on back of envelope at best…come at worst time…undoubtedly increase costs. increase likelihood of empty shelves.”

“announcement at eleventh hour confirms our fears in just one month, UK horticulture’s competitiveness again hit for no material gain”

Government says that this is necessary for biosecurity, and farming groups and other have called for a level period as Uk exporters are charged the equivalent of these fees when exporting from GB to EU… applies to all medium-high risk imports even if not actually inspected…

The full details of the charges are here.

Green party says arms sales to Israel should have been ended long ago

The Green party has been opposed to arms sales to Israel for some time. In a statement, its global solidarity spokesperson, the former diplomat Carne Ross, says it should not have taken so long for others to join it in also calling for these arms sales to be halted. He said:

The death of compassionate humanitarian volunteers was an outrageous and avoidable tragedy. The cynical attempts by the Netanyahu government to portray the attack on World Central Kitchen (WCK) as an accident have been dismissed by those agencies trying to feed the starving in Gaza. Under international humanitarian law, this humanitarian aid is the responsibility of the Israeli government, yet they are keeping routes closed and not ensuring that those emergency routes operated by aid agencies are safe.

It is clear that the Israeli government is violating the terms of the licences under which arms are exported and is failing to abide by basic international humanitarian law. It is a national shame that we are arming the Israel defence forces who are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians.

It is hugely disappointing, but sadly predictable, to hear calls to end arms exports coming only after Western lives have been lost. It comes too late for the thousands of Palestinian children slaughtered by western supplied bombs and bullets.

Foreign Secretary Cameron can show global leadership during his talks with Nato leaders today by first ending UK arms sales and then persuading other Nato countries to follow suit. We cannot allow the humanitarian calamity in Gaza to continue a day longer.

Jack Straw, who was Tony Blair’s foreign secretary at the time of the Iraq war, has joined those saying the UK should suspend arms sales to Israel. In an interview with the i, Straw said:

It’s something of an irony that the world only wakes up to this when seven aid workers who are not Palestinian are killed, but you’re getting on for 200 aid workers, mainly Palestinian, who have already been killed, and there’s already over 30,000 mainly innocent people in Gaza who have been killed.

I share the view that Peter Ricketts shared this morning [see 9.50am] that the time has come to suspend all arms sales to Israel.

Labour on course to win more than 400 seats, and majority of 154, YouGov MRP poll suggests

YouGov has released polling suggesting Labour is on course to win more than 400 seats at the general election, and a majority of 154.

Its survey, using a technique called multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP), also suggests the Conservatives are on course to win just 155 seats, which would be a worse result than the party suffered in 1997 under John Major.

This would be an even bigger win for Labour than projected by the last YouGov MRP poll, carried out in January. That had Labour set to win 385 seats, and the Conservatives 169.

The latest YouGov figures are not as bad for Rishi Sunak as the results of an MRP poll by Survation published in the Sunday Times at the weekend, which had Labour on course to win 468 seats and the Conservatives just 98. But this is unlikely to be much consolation to the PM.

Here are the full figures, which are based on a survey of 18,761 people carried out between 7 and 27 March.

MPR poll Photograph: YouGov

YouGov says its poll suggests Reform UK would come second in 36 constituencies, but would not come close to winning any of them.

And the Green party is on course to hold Brighton Pavilion, YouGov says. It also expects the Greens would lose narrowly to Labour in Bristol Central.

YouGov says, under this scenario, several prominent Tories would lose their seats. It says:

The data projects several big name Conservative figures will be defeated. The most prominent casualty could be chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who is currently fractionally behind the Lib Dems in his Godalming and Ash seat.

With recent weeks seeing rumours that Penny Mordaunt could issue a leadership challenge against Rishi Sunak, we find that the Commons leader is four points behind Labour in her Portsmouth North seat. Cabinet colleagues Michelle Donelan and David TC Davies are also trailing Labour in our latest model, as are former leader Iain Duncan Smith and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

MRP starts with conventional polling, asking a large sample of people how they intend to vote. But the results are then broken down in some detail demographically, and those results are used to assess what the election result might be constituency by constituency, using data about the demographic composition of the electorate in each seat. A YouGov MRP poll in 2017 suggested the election would result in a hung parliament, when almost all conventional polls pointed to the Tories winning another majority, and since then MRP has been viewed as a ‘gold standard’ polling method.

The Conservative Post, an obscure Tory website linked to rightwingers and Boris Johnson loyalists in the party, has published an article urging its readers to seek the deselection of 10 Conservative MPs it says “aren’t actually being conservative”.

Two cabinet ministers are on the list: Victoria Atkins, the health secretary and Laura Trott, the chief secretary to the Treasury.

The other eight are: Bim Afolami, Alicia Kearns, Tobias Elwood, Alan Mak, Roger Gale, Simon Hoare, Caroline Nokes, and Alberto Costa.

Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, said this showed the Conservative party has become “ungovernable”. In a statement he went on:

To be in the traditions of one nation Conservatism is now to become a target for deselection.

Rishi Sunak had a choice when he became prime minister: to take on this factionalism and govern in the interests of the whole country or to pander to it. He chose the latter and now both his party and the governance of the country is being held hostage by ever more rightwing factions.

Labour says government must halt arms sales to Israel if legal advice says Israel in breach of international law

Labour has firmed up its position on arms sales to Israel a bit. Until now it has been resisting calls for a ban (on his media round this morning Darren Jones suggested suspending arms sales would not make much difference – see 10.13am), but now it is saying they should be halted if government lawyers have said there is a risk of Israel using them in breach of international law.

Given that there are good grounds for thinking that government laywers are telling ministers Israel is in breach of international law, it is clear what Labour is implying.

In a statement David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, said:

Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of the three heroic Brits who put their lives on the line to get Palestinian civilians the aid they desperately need. But Israel must face serious consequences, not just tough rhetoric, for their appalling deaths.

It’s totally wrong that the foreign secretary has gone silent on the question of whether or not Israel is complying with international humanitarian law, after saying he’d get new advice nearly a month ago. There are very serious accusations that Israel has breached international law, which must be taken into account.

The law is clear. British arms licences cannot be granted if there is a clear risk that the items might be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

Labour’s message to the government is equally clear. Publish the legal advice now. If it says there is a clear risk that UK arms might be used in a serious breach of international humanitarian law, it’s time to suspend the sale of those arms. If David Cameron has received this advice, he must act on it.

On 8 March Cameron, the foreign secretary, told the BBC that a judgment would be made on whether Israel was compliant with international law “in the coming days”. But, if there has been a new assessment, it has not been published or announced.

However, ministers have not denied a report saying government lawyers have concluded Israel is in breach of international law.

David Lammy Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

SNP calls for parliament to be recalled so MPs can debate ending arms sales to Israel

At Westminster the Liberal Democrats are notorious for demanding the recalling of parliament in almost any crisis situation. Unusually, today they seem to have missed a trick because today the SNP has got their first. It says that the killing of aid workers in Gaza, including three Britons, by an Israeli airstrike means parliament should debate a response.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP leader at Westminster, has written an open letter to Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer and Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons speaker, saying:

As you know, the SNP has been calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel since October last year. We have repeatedly urged the UK government to do more to secure an immediate ceasefire, including by ending arms sales to Israel …

With three UK citizens among those killed in the Israeli strike on World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers, it is essential that the UK parliament is recalled immediately. This situation demands that the prime minister comes to parliament without further delay to outline the UK government’s response to the killing of UK citizens by Israel, to enable MPs to scrutinise the UK government’s response, and so that parliament can finally debate and vote on ending arms sales to Israel.

While parliament could debate and vote on ending arms sales to Israel, this does not need to happen for arms sales to end. Ministers could prevent them by refusing to issue further licences.

Stephen Flynn speaking in PMQs last month. Photograph: UK Parliament/Maria Unger/Reuters

Labour says today’s NHS waiting time figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there are around 10 million people in England waiting for a hospital operation or treatment. Andrew Gwynne, a shadow health minister, said:

Pull back the cover and the crisis in the NHS is even worse than it appeared. One in every five people in England are stuck on waiting lists, and they are waiting longer than ever before.

Here is a chart with more details from one of the three ONS datasets published today. These are the results of a survey carried out in late January. (LCL stands for lower confidence level, and UCL upper confidence level – survey results are never statistically precise, and these figures are the boundaries within which the actual result is most likely to be.)

NHS waiting times data Photograph: ONS
Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves during a visit to the Francis Crick Institute in London today. Photograph: Jordan Pettitt/PA

Around one in seven adults (14.7%) in England who are waiting for a hospital appointment or treatment say they have been waiting at least 12 months, PA Media reports. PA says:

The figure is highest among 16 to 24-year-olds (21.3%) and lowest among those aged 70 and over (8.5%).

Among those people who are disabled and whose day-to-day activities are limited a lot by their health condition, nearly one in four (23.6%) say they have been waiting at least 12 months, compared with nearly one in eight (11.8%) who are non-disabled and have no health conditions.

There is also a sharp contrast between people living in the most deprived areas, where the figure is 21.3%, and those in the least deprived areas (12.4%).

The survey was carried out between January 16 and February 15 2024 by NHS England and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and is based on a sample of adults aged 16 and over in England who said they had been waiting for a hospital appointment, test or to start receiving medical treatment through the NHS.

The figures are age-standardised rates, which means they take into account population size and age structure, and are therefore a better comparison between different groups.





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