Political

Labour voters keener than Conservatives on a coalition featuring Lib Dems

Houses of Parliament featuring Big Ben
Image by Andy Reed from Pixabay.

Polling this month by Opinium shows Labour supporters think it would be much more acceptable for a future hung Parliament to result in a coalition featuring Liberal Democrats than do Conservatives.

Please imagine the outcome of the next election is a hung parliament where no party can form a majority on their own. Do you think it would be acceptable or unacceptable for one of the main parties to form a coalition with the Lib Dems?

Acceptable/unacceptable: net +13% overall / +30% for 2019 Labour voters / -5% for 2019 Conservative voters

No surprise that 2019 Lib Dem voters are even keener – at +72% – but it’s the difference between Labour and Conservatives that is the most striking. I’m not aware of a directly comparable polling question from the previous Parliament, but with other evidence this does point to an important shift in British politics in the last few years.

Labour and Lib Dem supporters are much more amenable to each other than used to be the case. Among Lib Dem members, for example, in the run up to 2019 their answer to ‘do you want Johnson or Corbyn as Prime Minister?’ was often a form of ‘can I please avoid having to make a pick because I really don’t want either?’. Now, however, when it is a case of Johnson or Starmer, overwhelmingly members are willing to pick Starmer, even with varying degrees of enthusiasm.


5 responses to “Labour voters keener than Conservatives on a coalition featuring Lib Dems”

  1. Good up to a point but you can also NOT go into a (will not call it a coalition) sharing agreement. You can support the policy of one or the other that we agree with.

  2. But… it is predictable that the Tory press will major on how awful a coalition government would be, ignoring the recent evidence to the contrary.. It will be ‘and look at the mess Italy is in (?)’.. then they will remind everybody that we broke our promise about tuition fees, and again demonise Clegg even though he has left the political stage. The answer is to ensure that Labour move to supporting PR.. true, the Tory Press will line up against that(even the New European had a swipe at it last week).. It is not going to be easy getting shot of the Bullingdon club and their corrupt vested interests. But it hinges on the opposition parties forming a collective opposition, not a divided one.

  3. The ideal solution to the problem of whether or not to enter into a coalition is tactical voting. Also, as theThe Times reports a dinner party of Brexit Hardliners held at the Carlton Club – the so-called ‘Spartan Group’ of MPs, we now have a ready-made first list of Tory MPs to attack via tactical voting.

    Tactical voting can still result in a hung Parliament, of course, but we can then be happy to give support on a confidence and supply basis, simply cherry-picking the policy matters that we favour.

  4. There are I believe 3 problems we face, the first past the post voting system, tribalism in all parties and clear “action” policies that will make voters put their cross against the Lib Dem candidate in the privacy of the ballot box. The first past the post system we cannot do anything about in time for the next election but we do have some control over the other two. Tribalism is a very powerful force in politics and we are all guilty of shouting “ya boo sucks” at our political rivals. If we are going to to get anywhere in forming alliances/coalitions then we must start treating other parties as potential partners and not rivals. This is going to take a major change in the mindset of many in all the potential partner parties and a lot of behind the scenes diplomacy. Given the present state of the Conservative party is is unlikely that any partnership with them is feasible given our philosophy as liberals. That then leaves the Labour party and the Green’s as potential partners. The Labour party is currently going through its own internal battle for the direction it wants to go in and has a problem in that it was pretty evenly split over Brexit whereas the Conservatives and Lib Dems were both clear as to their views on Brexit. The outcome of Labour’s internal battle will probably be the deciding factor as to whether or not it is feasible for us to to form any sort of partnership with them. My last point on the perceived lack of any clear action policies that voters can identify with is an important one. The “What – Liberal – Democrats – Believe” paper is excellent and the best I have ever read. Sadly the majority of voters that we need to win over do not read political philosophy and are mainly concerned with more mundane things such as, is my job secure, can I feed the kids and heat the house, can I get a decent home with security of tenure, am I getting a decent reward for the work I am doing, is the NHS going to be there when I need it and will my mum and dad be looked after in their old age. Before a voter puts his/her cross against a candidate they will want to be sure that the candidate they are voting for will provide the things that they need.

  5. I suggest an electoral agreement with Labour and Greens based on the following –

    1) A referendum on STV

    2) Overhaul of Parliamentary procedures (not for me to specify but I would like to see the result of all votes in the House made mandatory)

    3) An immediate general election to follow items 1 and 2 above

    Not wishing to pre-judge but this could ensure that we never have a shambles like this again.

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