Politics

Why today is such an important milestone

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Daily Mail on Monday, 05 February 2018.

Today is a landmark occasion for the people of Scotland as their Government launches a national campaign against a “silent killer”: sepsis.

I applaud the Scottish Government’s decision to begin raising awareness of the dangers of sepsis because it will undoubtedly save hundreds of lives in the future.

Furthermore, I congratulate those, particularly the Scottish Daily Mail, who lobbied so passionately and effectively against people who claimed that a new campaign was unnecessary. (more…)

The Conservatives can’t rely on Brexit to win them the next election

By Lord Ashcroft

When the Conservatives won their unexpected majority at the 2015 general election many Tories felt it was a return to the natural order of things. Naturally, people had preferred sensible economic management to unaffordable spending plans. Of course they had chosen a Prime Ministerial Prime Minister over one whom they could barely imagine standing outside Number Ten. And if this was the world as it should be, 2017 must have been an aberration: a freak result that could be put down to the election’s unusual circumstances, a terrible Tory campaign, and Jeremy Corbyn’s sudden, bizarre and surely unsustainable status as a cult figure.

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Where the parties stand – and more on that second EU referendum…

By Lord Ashcroft

Earlier this week I published the findings of my latest focus groups to explore how voters around the country saw things seven eventful months on from the general election. My new poll underlines that despite what has felt like the frenetic pace of politics for those who follow its twists and turns, surprisingly little has changed. There is little in the numbers to comfort either party.

In my post-election research for The Lost Majority I found only 28 per cent saying they thought the country was on the right track. This week that number is unchanged, with nearly half – including seven in ten of those who voted to remain in the EU – saying things are heading in the wrong direction.

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“Our cup has overflowed with political stuff. There’s only so much we want to take in”: my latest focus groups

By Lord Ashcroft

Of the 31 weeks since the general election – an experience most Conservatives would rather forget – how many have been good ones for the government? Much has happened in politics since June, and little of it could be said to have lifted the spirits. Yet the opposition has failed to open up the clear lead they might have expected over what has often seemed a hapless governing party, and surveys show the Tory rating to be all but unchanged since polling day. To help shed light on this curious state of affairs I held focus groups last week in three constituencies as politics once again got underway: Battersea, which the Conservatives lost last year to Labour; Walsall North, which they gained; and Wakefield, which they hoped they would gain but didn’t, despite seeing their vote share in the seat rise by eleven points.

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Ashcroft In America podcast: my interview with Robby Mook

By Lord Ashcroft

Robby Mook was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager, securing more votes than for any other candidate in presidential election history other than Barack Obama. I caught up with him at his new perch at Harvard University to talk about Russian interference, fake news, what Hillary was like as a candidate, the prospects for a second Trump term and what Democrats need to do to prevent it.

Listen to PodCast …

“We have to acknowledge that Trump could be re-elected”: my interview with Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook

By Lord Ashcroft

As Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook has seen the forces at work in American politics more closely than most. I interviewed him last week (you can listen to our full conversation here) at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he is working on a project to protect democratic systems from cyber attacks and defend the integrity of elections, an issue that is close to his heart after the experience of 2016. Did he think the Russians had swung things for Donald Trump?

“I don’t think it matters whether it was a deciding factor in the election or not. The fact of the matter is, some people out there got information the Russians deliberately put into the bloodstream that was misleading, and it was done in an effort to help Donald Trump win.”

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The People and President Trump: One year on

By Lord Ashcroft

Last week I wrote about how American voters – particularly the ones who supported Donald Trump last November – thought he was doing a year after they elected him to the White House. (You can hear them in their own words in the latest Ashcroft In America podcast). My new polling on how Americans see their President and some of the controversies that surround him completes the picture.

Despite the perpetual furore that surrounds President Trump, the vast majority of those who voted for him remain happy with their decision. Those who chose him positively, rather than as the lesser of two evils, are especially sure they made the right choice. On the other side of the equation, so are those who voted for Hillary Clinton. Not surprisingly, then, the country remains sharply divided as to the merits of its leader – a division that could hardly be missed when we asked our 13,500 respondents what word or phrase first came to mind when they thought of him.

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Brexit poll: Voters think EU aims to punish Britain

By Lord Ashcroft

Voters are losing confidence that the government will be able to secure a good Brexit deal for Britain, according to my latest survey. The poll, conducted this week, also finds that most think the EU’s objective is to punish Britain and stop other countries leaving, and that Remain and Leave voters have different priorities for the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with EU countries.

With talks once again underway in Brussels, my research shows that both Remain and Leave voters are less sure about the prospect of a good outcome than they were before the general election. In March, before the election was called, I asked voters to say how confident they were that Theresa May and her team would be able to negotiate a good deal on a scale from zero (no confidence at all) to 100 (total confidence).

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A statement by Lord Ashcroft

By Lord Ashcroft

The so-called ‘Paradise Papers’

The BBC has suggested that I may have ignored rules in connection with the Punta Gorda Trust.  (Please note the deliberate inclusion by Panorama of the word ‘may’.)  In fact, I can state unequivocally that I have not ignored rules, and that I do not control the Punta Gorda Trust, and never have done.  Throughout the Trust’s existence, I have never known the identity of any of the Trustees, let alone had any dealings with them.  At no point has it been suggested directly to me, or through others, that I have taken any inappropriate action.  No professional Trustee has ever resigned because of anything I may have done. (more…)

Ashcroft In America podcast – election anniversary edition

By Lord Ashcroft

A year on from Donald Trump’s election, the Ashcroft In America team returned to find out how real voters think the President is doing so far.

Listen to PodCast …