News

See the January issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The January issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Staff Sergeant William Cosgrove, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross (VC) for quite outstanding gallantry – not to mention incredible strength – during the Gallipoli landings of the Great War. (more…)

Was it really ‘Brexit wot lost it’ for Labour?

By Lord Ashcroft

John McDonnell was first with the theory, as soon as the exit poll had stunned the nation. “Brexit dominated the election,” he said. “I think people are frustrated and want Brexit out of the way.” The theme was taken up over the hours and days that followed, culminating in the claim Labour “won the argument” and that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership had nothing to do with the party’s worst result since 1935. Brexit alone was to blame.

Well, if this is the result you get when you win the argument, we can only imagine what losing it would look like. But what about the idea that the result can be put entirely down to Brexit, rather than the broader questions of policy and leadership that usually go into people’s voting decisions?

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How Britain voted and why: My 2019 general election post-vote poll

By Lord Ashcroft

I surveyed over 13,000 people on election day who had already cast their vote, to help understand how this extraordinary result came about. The results show who voted for whom, and why.

The demographics

Labour won more than half the vote among those turning out aged 18-24 (57%) and 25-34 (55%), with the Conservatives second in both groups. The Conservatives were ahead among those aged 45-54 (with 43%), 55-64 (with 49%) and 65+ (with 62%).

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There’s only one way to get Brexit done and stop Jeremy Corbyn

By Lord Ashcroft

A funny thing about elections is that people’s expectations of what the result will be can affect what the result actually is. There have been hints of this in my polling over the course of the election campaign. The survey I published yesterday found more people expecting a Conservative victory than was the case last month. At the same time, enthusiasm for switching to the Tories among some critical voters – the thing that makes such a result possible – has diminished.

There could be several reasons for this. But one might be that with Boris Johnson apparently safely on course for a majority, some may feel they don’t need to sully themselves with a Conservative vote. In focus groups over the last few weeks we have witnessed how agonising many Labour voters find the choice this year: people who want to get Brexit done and feel Jeremy Corbyn’s version of the party has ceased to represent them, but struggle with an ancestral injunction never to vote Tory. The idea that they can have the outcome they want without having to vote for it must be a tempting one to embrace: the problem is that it is an illusion, and one that represents a serious threat to the Tories’ chance of getting the majority that would drag politics from its three-year quagmire.

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Labour support solidifies as expectations grow of a Tory win: my final General Election Dashboard

By Lord Ashcroft

The final round of my general election polling dashboard, based on 4,046 interviews between 5 and 9 December, shows clear Conservative leads on most measures – but with Labour support continuing to harden at the expense of the Liberal Democrats as polling day approaches.

When we ask how likely people are to vote for each party on a 100-point scale, the Conservatives receive an average score of 36 (down slightly from its peak of 37 last week), with Labour up a notch from 28 to 30, the Lib Dems down from 15 to 14 and the Brexit Party (in non-Conservative seats) down from 9 to 8. Remain voters who backed the Tories in 2017 put their chances of voting Conservative again at an average of 63/100, up from 61 last week, while Conservative leavers put their likelihood of staying with the party at 85, up from 84 last week and 82 the week before. Labour leavers, however, put their chances of switching to the Tories at 24/100, down from 28 last week.

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Would victories for Johnson and Trump mean the triumph of conservatism? My speech to the International Democrat Union

By Lord Ashcroft

This is a text of a talk I gave last week to the International Democrat Union, the global alliance of the centre right, looking at the challenges the conservative movement will face whatever the result of the current round of UK and US elections.

The title of this session is ‘Conservatives at a Crossroads – where do we go from here?’ This is always an excellent question, but when deciding where to go and how to get there you first need to know where you are.

At first glance, we seem to be in a good position. In the US, the Republicans control the White House, the Senate, and most state legislatures. In the UK, the Conservatives have been in government for nine and a half years and, according to the bookies and most pollsters, look set to get a new mandate with an overall majority.

But when we look in detail at the research – both on current elections and over the longer term – we can see hazards that the conservative movement is going to have to navigate on both sides of the Atlantic, and which will apply in different ways in all the countries represented in this room. Let’s start with the election in the UK.

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See the December issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

By Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The December issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Subadar (equivalent to captain) Khudadad Khan, who was both the first Muslim and the first Indian to receive the VC. (more…)

‘He’s just a craven opportunist’ ‘She’s a bit militant for me’ ‘I want it over and done with now’: My final election focus groups in Bishop Auckland, Warwick & Leamington and Wimbledon

By Lord Ashcroft

My final round of general election focus groups take us to three constituencies of the kind that will determine what happens next Thursday: Bishop Auckland, which the Conservatives are hoping to gain on the basis of a heavy leave vote although it has never had a Tory MP; Warwick & Leamington, a middle England seat (literally and geographically) which Labour managed to capture in the 2017 upset; and Wimbledon, where the fate of re-instated Tory rebel Stephen Hammond is in the hands of the huge local remain majority.

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Will the Tories really get Brexit done? Who proposed which policy? What if you had to choose a Johnson government or a Corbyn one? Week 4 of my General Election Dashboard

By Lord Ashcroft

My latest 4,000-sample poll, conducted between Friday and Monday, finds little change in the overall picture, with Labour continuing to do better among its former voters than was the case at the start of the campaign.

The most noticed specific election stores of the last few days were promises of extra nurses, the Channel 4 climate debate, the Labour antisemitism controversy, and the question of whether Boris Johnson will be interviewed by Andrew Neil.

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‘Does he want to be PM, really?’ ‘It was worse than Prince Andrew’ ‘She has bagpipes playing in her head all the time.’ My election focus groups in Scotland

By Lord Ashcroft

My general election focus groups this week take us to Scotland, and three seats the SNP are hoping to regain after losing them in 2017: Aberdeen South and East Renfrewshire, both won by the Conservatives two years ago, and Glasgow North East, now one of Labour’s seven constituencies north of the border.

Fairy godmother

Of the manifestos launched in the days before this week’s groups, it was Labour’s that had made the biggest impression on our undecided voters. Whether they had voted Conservative, Labour, SNP or Lib Dem in 2017, their general view was decidedly sceptical: “Corbyn’s £80 billion reminded me of the £350 million on the side of the bus. It worries me that a large proportion of the population will believe it;” “If you combed your way through all the manifestos you could drive a bus through all of them.

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