Executive versus legislature and emotion versus policy

Even though Mondays aren't what the used to be, it's nice to start the week with a poll. And yesterday we got one, the fortnightly ICM/Guardian survey.

The topline numbers were little changed, with the Conservative lead nudging up to 16 points from 14, but that small move has an interesting consequence – in this poll, Labour is closer to third place than the lead, the 11th poll in this parliament that's shown that. I posted some analysis of the toplines yesterday.

The poll also had some questions on Brexit. The headline number was that 26 per cent thought there should be a second referendum once details of the deal are known, which isn't out of line with previous polling. Most of the other questions were hypotheticals, with a couple to gauge attitudes to the government's stance (on the face of it, the numbers are positive from their point of view).

The Huffington Post quoted Conservative sources suggesting that the Tories might not contest Stoke and concentrate instead on Copeland. You can see the logic (Copeland is a bit of an ask for them, Stoke is on another scale altogether). Glen O'Hara is relatively confident in Labour's chances of holding both seats. Certainly history looks to be in their favour…

But what about Labour's connection with voters more generally (and that of parties on the left everywhere)? Ian Warren has written an excellent and thought-provoking piece on emotion versus policy.

And Sinn Fein has a new leader in Northern Ireland. Michelle O'Neill brings to six the number of parties holding Westminster seats with a female leader (two have been lead by a woman in the past, while three never have, excluding acting leaders).

Today is likely to be dominated by the Supreme Court's judgement on Article 50, the details of which will be made public at 9:30 this morning.

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